Miss Marple: The Murder at the Vicarage (1986) Script

REVEREND CLEMENT: Is this an accusation, Mrs. Price-Ridley?

MRS. PRICE-RIDLEY: Of course it's an accusation, Vicar.

Against whom? How on Earth am I to know that?

I'm simply pointing to the facts, you may interpret them as you please, but facts are facts.

And you, Colonel?

I asked Colonel Protheroe, and he very kindly came.

I wanted there to be no misunderstandings.

I remember it quite clearly.

Yesterday was the anniversary of my poor dear Harvey's death, and I always put a pound in the collection on Harvey's day.

Yes, but, Mrs. Price-Ridley... No but about it, Vicar, it was there.

A pound note.

Where it was not, however, was on the collection list.

The highest denomination there was a ten shilling note.

Oh, well, none of us as young as we were, we must pay the penalty of advancing years, wouldn't you say, Colonel?

Must I say it again? It was there.

You may be suffering from senile dementia, Vicar, despite the extreme youth of your wife, but I am in full possession of my senses, thank you.

I'll look into it, Vicar. I'll have the answer for you.

It's quite clear something's amiss.

I suggest I go through the church accounts for you.

Do you? No need to burst a vessel, Vicar.

If there are defalcations, it's best that they're torn out root and branch, you know.

Root and branch.

Anyway, I am the treasurer.

I'll pop round and get the books from your curate tomorrow evening.

If he isn't too busy with his Hail Mary's and burning incense, that is.

The books are at the Vicarage.

Any case, I hardly see that this warrants a full scale...

So be it. Till tomorrow evening, then. At the Vicarage.

I should watch that curate of yours, Vicar.

It isn't healthy, all that Jesuitical claptrap.

I should send him to Dublin, or Rome if I were you.

He can only do damage in a place like this.

All right, darling?

The blighters need a rocket up the backside.

Thank you.

What time does the vicar want lunch?

Oh! Yes, well remembered.

He'll be a bit late today.

Uh, yes, that's right. He said he'd be a bit late.

So, um... We'd better have it... Have it... A bit late.

Bloody Protheroe. I mean really. Bloody man...

Oh, dear.

Now, don't you go starting something with Colonel bloody Protheroe.

He'll do you again.

And Constable Palk will have you up before that bench soon as open his eyes.

He's no friend of yours.

So don't you start messing with Protheroe, do you hear?

I don't want you locked up again. So don't you start.

Hadn't you better take that through?

It's a pity I'm such a shocking housekeeper.

Mary's clearly ignoring me, and we are to have no greens.


Oh, Fortinbras, look at these.

Oh, I think things get worse when I try.

It's really much better to leave Mary alone, and...

Make up my mind to be uncomfortable and have revolting things to eat.

Oh, poor Len. I know I'm everything you most disapprove of.

You are.

I am more and more convinced that celibacy is desirable for the clergy.

And yet you adore me madly, passionately.

Beyond all reason, utterly and extravagantly, don't you, darling?

Of course.

I am very fond of you, my dear.

I see that little rat of a poacher has been let out of clink.

Bill Archer, back in circulation.

Expect trouble.

ANN: I thought I might go back into the village this afternoon.

If that's all right, darling.


Lawrence Redding's been pestering me for more time on the portrait.

I've been putting him off.

But I really ought to give him a couple of sessions this week.

As long as the young sewer doesn't come up here, do what you like.

What's happened?

Ask her.


Oh, Lord.

You realize that's going to cost me hours of morale building, don't you?

What's been going on, Lucius? Behaving like a tart.

Can you be a little more specific?

That young sewer, Redding, has been painting her with practically nothing on, that's all.

Oh, really. I'm not surprised. She's very beautiful.

Why on Earth not?

For a man who's supposed to have seen the world, you really are extraordinarily childish sometimes.

At least I'll nail that bloody little papist curate.

See you later, Griselda dear.

Oh, yes, yes... Yes. Thanks.

Darling. This afternoon. Are you coming?

I'm sorry, my dear? It's Tuesday.

Had you forgotten too? Tea and scandal.

The Reverend Leonard Clement and his wife Griselda, at home.

Four o'clock. Oh.

Rock cakes and back stabbing at the Vicarage.

I'll do my best. Oh, good boy.

If she's got the gall, the dreaded Price-Ridley will be there.

You can both be frightfully forgiving to each other.

Good afternoon, Mrs. Lestrange. Good afternoon, Doctor.

Enjoyment is the key to it all.

I know. I know.

Doctor, I wonder if I might impose upon you?

Of course.

I'm busy you know, Lettice.

It's absurd. Crazy.

I was wearing a swimsuit, for heaven's sake.

I mean, too Victorian, forbidding a man the house.

It's a shriek.

Lawrence was practically ill laughing about it.

Ann was quite decent actually.

I've usually found that a mother is more broad minded...

Stepmother, matter of fact. Ah, yes, of course.

You don't happen to know, do you, who it was my mother ran off with?

Nobody's ever told me.

I'm afraid I don't. It was before you came here.

Oh, yes. I suppose it was.

I don't blame her, you know.

I just wish she'd taken me too, that's all.

Father can be such a total pig.

The world would be much better off without him.

You'd be much nicer, I think.

So, Lawrence Redding agreed to paint the wretched girl.

But he painted her in her bathing costume.

Which, as we all know, is simply nudity by another name.

GRISELDA: I should give up on that rock cake, Miss Wetherby.

Mary is a little literal in her cooking.

I think you know, perhaps I will, Mrs. Clement.

Cod in white sauce is so filling.

What's the name of that rather smart looking woman who's taken Little Gates?

Mrs. Lestrange. Oh, of course.


I just wondered whether she were unwell at all.

She looks perfectly all right to me.

Only I've seen Dr. Haydock coming out of Little Gates, oh, quite often.

I just wondered.

Well, he is a neighborly man, of course, and he is a neighbor.

Was he carrying a medical bag?

I... Oh, dear.

I thought perhaps, you see, they might be old acquaintances.

Well, he's keeping very quiet about it, if it is so.

As a matter of fact, I happen to know.

It's a terrible story.

Her husband was a missionary.

He was eaten.

Actually eaten.

And she was forced to become the chief's 15th wife.

Dr. Haydock was with the expedition which rescued her.

Really, my dear, really.

Good afternoon, ladies.

MISS MARPLE: Oh, how nice. Do forgive my not joining you.

I seemed to have been behind with everything this week.

Darling, don't forget the studio again.

Ah, of course.

Since I let Mr. Redding have the old summer house as a studio, on Tuesdays I've become a diocesan rent collector as well.

Excuse me. Goodbye, Vicar.

I wonder, by the way, if there really is anything between Lawrence Redding and Lettice Protheroe?

What do you think, Miss Marple? I shouldn't have thought so myself.

Not Lettice.


Quite another person, I should have thought.

But the Colonel was very cross about Lawrence Redding painting Lettice.


Colonel Protheroe has always struck me as being rather a stupid man.


You saw us, didn't you?

We love each other.

I suppose, to you, that seems very wrong.

Do you expect me to say anything else, Mrs. Protheroe?

I... No. No, I don't.

I haven't...

I mean...

Things aren't what you might think they are.

I'm glad of that.

I often wonder why not. I don't see how any woman could be anything but miserable with Lucius.

I wish he'd drink himself to death.

Oh, I know. I know.

I thought I heard...

Lawrence might have...

No. No one.

My dear Mrs. Protheroe... Oh, no, Mr. Clement.

You're very kind, and I know the sort of thing you feel you ought to say, the sort of thing you might like to say, but it's no good.

I'm beyond all that. I really am.

Thank you.

I'm sorry.

The fact remains that the principle is exactly the same.


Good night, Vicar. Night, Major.

Good night. Thank you.

Mrs. Canning. Harvey. Good night.

Oh, Mrs. Lestrange, isn't it?

Welcome to our little congregation. Thank you, Vicar.

Are you here for a season, or the summer, or...

To everything, there is a season, Vicar.

Quite, and a time. Quite. Proverbs. Yes.

It's a pretty church.

So lucky to have escaped Victorianization.

The frescos must be very old, are they?

Oh, yes, 12th century. A fortunate survival.

I congratulate you. Good night, Vicar.

Good night, Mrs. Lestrange.

Mr. Redding.

I'd, uh... I'd like your advice.

Bill! Bill!

Some silly devil's buried some sort of cord beneath the leaves up there.

Where've you been? Near broke my neck.

Where've you been? The Bull's been closed an hour or more.

You're soaked through. Oh, that bloody swine, Protheroe.

I'll have to disappear for a few days.

You've not been up to Protheroe's woods, have you?

What's happened?

Christopher, there you are.

We heard from your landlady that you weren't well.

Yes, I wasn't. Sorry.

Should you be here? Of course.

Chatter, chatter, all night long. Voices, all night.


The Salisburys, my landlady, in the next room.

I don't know what they find to talk about.

I see. Bad luck.

Now, you sure you're all right to take Communion?

Of course.

Of course I am.


Would you tell Mrs. Clement that if she misses this train, the next one doesn't get to Paddington till 12:00, and if anybody wants me, I shall be taking a class.

I shall be back... Sometime.

What a day!


I'll see you at quarter past six.

Suit you? Yes. Very well. See you then.


Found that little rat Archer trespassing on my land again, last night.

But he's only just come out of prison. Are you sure?

Well, of course I'm sure. I got the sewer once, now it seems I'll get him again.

You know, he does give his widowed sister a lot of support.

Oh, do turn off the taps, Vicar.

She should get him to behave himself, if that's the case.

Two things I don't like messed up, Vicar, church ritual, and my pheasants.

Quarter past six, then!

Hello. Hello.

I've decided to take your advice. Really?

It's the only damn thing to do.

As you say, it's bound to get...

I mean, there's bound to be talk sooner or later, and if it gets back to Protheroe, Ann's position'd be...


So, I'm going to cut and run.

My dear boy, I know what a difficult decision this must have been for you.

Come in, and tell me what you intend to do.

Hello. Vicarage.

Very well then, I'll be on my way now.

Oh, Mary, I've got to go out to Abbot's Farm.

Old Mr. Abbot's in a bad way apparently.

Not expected to last. Oh, really? I'm sorry to hear that.

So, would you see to Colonel Protheroe when he arrives?

He'll be here at about quarter past six.

Show him into the study, he can wait there.

I'll telephone if I'm going to be very late.

Don't you worry, Vicar, I'll see to him.

I'm afraid the Lord'll have to wait a mite longer for the old demon, Vicar. Someone's been having you on.

Father! Vicar says you be on your deathbed!

Says what?

Says you be on your deathbed!

I'm not. I'm on the asparagus bed!

You've been a bit previous, Vicar!

Come back next week, eh, Vicar. I might've throttled the old nuisance by then! Ah! He might a'done!

Did you want to see me?

Colonel Protheroe wants to see me about some accounts, but I shouldn't be long. Protheroe?

Oh, you'll see Protheroe, all right. Oh, my God, you will.

You all right? I must think. I've got to think.

MARY: So you're back at last. Was it you who rang?

Is Colonel Protheroe here? In the study.

Been here since quarter past six.

And Mr. Redding's been too? Came a few minutes ago.

Said he wanted to see you.

I said Colonel was waiting to see you.

"Where?" he said. "Study", I said. So that's where he went to too.

Thank you.


- Dr. Haydock. This is the Vicarage, Doctor.

There's been a terrible accident and Vicar says to come straight over.


Oh, Miss Marple.

There's been the most hideous accident in here, you see.

I'm afraid I can't...

My dear Vicar, you look quite frightened.

Vicar. Oh, Miss Marple. Dr. Haydock.

Excuse me. Of course, Doctor.

The reason I came, Vicar, was to give you a message from Griselda but I realized that you knew all about it, because I heard you trying to start the thing, and, uh...

Oh, you look very shocked, Vicar. Come and sit down.

I'm afraid you'll think me hopelessly vague.

But I thought I'd better come, even though she may be back herself almost, by now.

Yes, well, I'm so sorry.


This is a vile business.

I didn't realize that things had gone so far.


What message, Miss Marple?

Oh, about your car.

I heard you trying to start it, yes. Oh.

Wretched thing. Just back from Inch's Garage too.


Oh, how odd.

I have always found Inch most reliable.

Give me the police.

Nice these new Wolseleys, aren't they?

Well, he's been dead nearly an hour.

Not later than 6:30?

I'd place it at 6:25.

Allowing 10 minutes either way.

Oh, yes, well.

Detective Inspector Slack. Where is it then?



Clement, Leonard Clement.

Dr. Haydock. Good evening, Inspector.

Room been messed around much, do you reckon, Doctor?

Nothing's been touched.


Good. Stopped.

At least that gives us some sort of timing.

Excuse me, Inspector.

Lake, would you mind clearing the room of extraneous personnel?

But, Inspector. Now, Lake.

Very well.

Good evening, Inspector.

St. Mary Mead.

Of course.

Miss Marple.

I just happened to be... Of course you did.

I'm sure it will be a great relief to the dear Vicar to know that someone so professional, and so energetic is in charge of the case, Inspector, as indeed it is to me.

Thank you.

SLACK: Fletcher, Pringle, see what the boys from forensic are up to.

Get those reports down to the lab. Come on, look lively!

Thank you!

I first came across Inspector Slack, of course, over that dreadful business at Gossington Hall when Arthur and Dolly Bantry lived there.

It's rather like one of these diesel engines that are now appearing all over our railways, most unappealing, but I'm told efficient.

Well, I suppose we shall have to learn to live with such things and such people.

I think there was something you were trying to tell him, wasn't there, Vicar?

Oh. Yes.

Well, I tried to.

Oh, quite.

It was about the clock on my desk.

It's just that we keep it about 10 minutes fast, that's all.

It's meant to get me to my appointments on time.

Then it was actually 12 minutes past.

In other words, before Colonel Protheroe even arrived at the house.

So it was tampered with.

And another thing. I'm sure you noticed it, Miss Marple.

That note by the body, the handwriting, it didn't look consistent to me.

Ah, you noticed it. Yes, it was a forgery.

Rather a clumsy one I fear.

There's still a lot of people out there.

More than there will be to mourn him, I daresay.

Let's go upstairs. It's been such a horrible day.

You're very quiet. What are you thinking about?

I was considering the sin of anger and how this cruel event will change things.

We'll never be free of it, you know.

How do you mean?

I shall never forget what I saw this evening.

There's that side of it.


It's how we shall always be thought of.

"Oh, yes, the Clements, they had a murder

"at their Vicarage, didn't they?"

My dearest old thing, what's really wrong?

You knew that sort of thing doesn't matter. What is it?


No, it's something...


Between me and my maker.

I'll go and lock up.

Oh, Len, I've told you before.

If we managed to find a girl who was good, she would leave us as soon as she could find somewhere better.

Mary knows nobody else will touch her.

I hardly see the point of having anyone at all.

The stupid girl, look at that.

I've just been talking to the baker's boy.

They arrested Mr. Redding.

What? Arrested Lawrence? There must be some stupid mistake.

No mistake about it. He went there himself and gave himself up.

Last night, last thing. Went right in, threw down the pistol on the table.

"I did it," he says. Just like that.

Pistol? What pistol? His pistol. He's always had one.

Leaves it lying around that studio place.

I don't like dusting the thing, I can tell you. German it is.

It's true. He is always leaving it lying around.

His brother brought it back from Normandy. I still don't believe it.


It's quite mad. What possible motive could Lawrence have for killing Colonel Protheroe?


They'd quarreled. Oh, come on. So had you. Len?

Len, what do you know?

DR. HAYDOCK: All right then.

What time did Redding claim to get to the Vicarage?

6:45, 6:50, about then?

Won't do. What won't?

He's lying. Protheroe would have been dead nearly half an hour by the time he got to him. I've confirmed it now.

Are you sure? Yes.

I mean, there's no leeway? Not enough.

You know ballistics say it was Redding's gun?

Doesn't make any difference.



I thought it was looking too good to be true.

I should have known better.

Soon as I saw that nice, little gray-haired cobra sliding about I should've known better.

Hmm? The Marple woman.

Sticks to this sort of business like chewing gum to the cat.

Where have you been? Cancel the scale down.

The artistic gentleman in cell five is lying through his eyeballs.

Get everybody back on the job!

Who are you protecting?

This isn't going to help you, Mr. Redding.

The charge list is already as long as your arm.

Obstructing the police, false information, failure to report an offense, unlicensed firearm...


Oh, it's very tedious stuff.

So tedious I believe I've forgotten it already.

I could, however, call the duty Sergeant and ask him to start writing it all down, couldn't I?

...Who is it?


Got you.

Quite the local sport this confession lark, isn't it?

In the habit of visiting the deceased's wife from time to time, were we, sir?

Calm down, sir.

I only wanted to know who it was you were protecting.

If he's still on the premises ask Haydock to meet us there, would you?

Both the WPC's are out...

Thank you so much, seƱora, for your very kind contribution.

Very ecumenical of you.

Oh, thank you.

Mmm. Delicious.

They'll be here in a minute. I'll explain everything then.

Thank you for coming.

I'll come straight to the point.

I killed my husband.

Yes, madam.

I suppose I've put it a bit bluntly, but I could never go into hysterics over anything.

I've hated him for a long time and yesterday I shot him.

Ann, you know Lawrence has already confessed to it.

Of course I know. He loves me. It was impossibly good of him.

How did he know you'd done it, madam?

I told him of course.

What did you shoot your husband with?

With his own gun. He used to keep it in the dressing room wardrobe.

What type was it? I don't know.

It was some kind of war souvenir.

Italian I suppose. You push the bullets in from the bottom of the handle.

If I was to tell you, madam, that we have already proved to our satisfaction that Mr. Redding could not possibly have committed this crime, would you still persist in this rather dubious account of your activities?

Oh, while I remember it, Lake...

Oh. Oh, Sergeant, Inspector. What a nice surprise.


I wonder... I wonder if I might impose upon you for a small contribution to our Church Restoration Fund?

A ha'penny or two would do.

Such a vigorous appeal in the early days.

But to tell you the truth, I don't think Mr. Hawes, the new curate, has helped.

A little too spiritual, if you know what I mean, for a curate.

Yes... Oh, thank you.

...Yes. Thank you. Very generous.

Now then, have you persuaded Mrs. Protheroe and Mr. Redding that they couldn't possibly have murdered the colonel?

I think it's about time they started to tell everyone the truth, don't you?

Well, I presume that's why you're here.

Miss Marple... Did you know that Mrs. Lestrange visited the Colonel on the afternoon before the murder?

Dr. Haydock drove her up. Now I find that very interesting, don't you?

I think it would be a good idea, Miss Marple, if I dropped round later and heard the whole story from you.

Oh, I'm sure you're far too busy to listen to my little ideas, Inspector.

No one can accuse me of not being thorough.


I suppose it's having an ear for gossip and a talent for a bit of blind guesswork really.

What is, Inspector?

Stops your little ideas being a waste of time.

Well, I don't think I've ever been complimented quite like that in my life before, Inspector.

Don't mention it.

Now would you like a flag?

Thank you, madam.

The elderberry is a little more, shall we say, forthright, Inspector.

But I'm sure that will suit your character.

Oh, now let me see, where was I?

In the garden, madam, attending to your, Betonica grandiflora.

Oh, yes, yes.

You understand that I can see the comings and goings at the Vicarage front door from my little vantage point.

But I only see as it were, the official visits.

Understood, Miss Marple.

Come on.

We'll see it through.

I'll help you.

I will.

Oh... We're leaving.

Mrs. Protheroe was first to arrive at 6:15 but that is approximate you understand.

She was coming down back lane from the Square.

Good evening, Miss Marple.

Oh, good evening, Mrs. Protheroe.

On her way to meet the Colonel at the Vicarage I understand.

Well... Perhaps it was that. Anyway...

You know what dresses are these days.

Nothing could have been hidden under it, you know.

Certainly not a gun.

She went round the side of the Vicarage towards the study, presumably to see if the Colonel was there yet and I suppose he wasn't, because she came back almost immediately and went into the old summer house Mr. Redding uses as a studio.

Excuse me, madam, we've been taking some statements and...

Yes, Sergeant.

Thank you, madam.

You didn't hear a shot, did you, by any chance?

No. Not then. But about 10 minutes later.

It seemed to come from the woods.

But it didn't sound like the shooting one hears in the woods.

But of course it might not if it was echoing back from the woods and wasn't a shotgun in the first place.

But it sounded odd.

Yes, Sergeant?

Well, that ties in with our other statement.

Definite shot, sounded odd, about 6:30.

The next person to turn up before the shot, you realize, was Mr. Redding. I nearly missed him as a matter of fact as I was dealing just then with a very nasty brute of a dandelion.

He came along from the village just about five minutes after Mrs. Protheroe, and... Yes, that's right. From the pub, yeah.

I'm so sorry, madam. That's quite all right, Sergeant.

Mr. Redding went straight to the studio and then I heard the shot about 10 minutes later, as I said, and then, shortly after that, he and Mrs. Protheroe left the studio together going towards the Square.

Later Mr. Redding returned and went round to the front of the Vicarage at about 6:50.

So you see whoever it was, didn't enter the Vicarage by any sides visible to me.

Thank you, Miss Marple.

You make a decent witness, I'll give you that.

Problem is, if Redding and Mrs. Protheroe are in the clear, there's no one else with a real motive.

Oh. Oh, well, I was... What?

Well, I was just thinking of how many other people might want the Colonel out of the way.

Oh, I don't say they'd murder him to get him out of the way, but I...

Oh, dear me, yes. I'd forgotten him.

I make it five... Possibly six.

What happened at the inquest? Murder by person or persons unknown.

Well, we all knew that, didn't we?

Get out!

I should have given evidence. Well, I should have been asked.

I have pertinent facts to offer.


DR. HAYDOCK: Ladies...

He's going to see the Lestrange woman. Perhaps she's unwell again.

I didn't mean you to get up.

Today I felt frightened for the first time.

I wish now I'd...

I suppose if one's father's been murdered, one might not want to...

What? Lettice, that dreadful child, she wasn't at the inquest, that's all.

Hardly a child, she's old enough to be a little T-A-R-T.

Like daughter, like mother. Well, stepmother...

Tea, Vicar. Thank you.

Yes... Now...

Oh, are you sure you won't stay for tea, Mr. Hawes?

What? No, thank you. No, thank you.

Yes... Oh, dear.


Are all inquests like that?

I was expecting the whole thing to be much more detailed.

The police played their cards very close to their chests, don't you think, Miss Marple?

Well, such cards as they possess.

Inspector Slack isn't very good at listening.

No doubt he'll learn.

In a village one can learn a great deal by listening.

Thank you very much, madam, thank you.

Just a minute. Wait for it.


5:30, Colonel and Mrs. Protheroe leave Old Hall by car.

Now at approximately the same time, the vicar receives a hoax phone call to go to Abbott's Farm.

And his car had been tampered with.

Right so, he's out the Vicarage by, uh... 5:40, say.


And between 6:10 and 6:15, Colonel Protheroe arrives at the Vicarage.

He's shown through to the study and about five minutes later his wife turns up, comes via the garden going towards the study.

On Miss Marple's authority, without a gun.


But almost immediately comes back and goes across to the studio and a couple of minutes later, her lover Redding turns up and they both remain in the studio.

And the shot comes 10 minutes later.


And Miss Marple saw all this in her garden the whole time.

The police didn't even mention the clock.

Well, it would only have confused things.

It had obviously been tampered with, so as evidence it was quite useless.

No, it was their treatment of the note by the body that surprised me.

The handwriting expert seemed to know his onions.

Oh, yes, it was obviously a forgery but we didn't need an expert to tell us that.

No, the thing was all wrong anyhow. How do you mean?

Well, do you remember what it said?

"Dear Clement, I'm afraid I can't wait any longer..."

Well, that's nonsense. He'd only been there a few minutes.

No, it was a forgery but rather a clumsy one.

I'm afraid we're not dealing with anyone with any degree of subtlety.


If we prove that the Protheroe widow and her fancy boy Redding couldn't have done it, who does that leave?

Protheroe's daughter, Lettice, out playing tennis, claims she can't remember when she left.

Other witnesses prove that she had time to get there and do it.

Loathed his guts, stands to inherit.

Then that woman Lestrange visited Protheroe the day before.

Servants overheard some kind of shouting match.

Obviously there's a connection, and she had opportunity.


He had opportunity of course.

But I can't see the motive.


If we are assuming that the Colonel was shot while I was in my garden, well, then the murderer must have come through the kitchen door, or, well...

What, Miss Marple?

Have already been in the house.

LAKE: Excuse me, sir. SLACK: What?

The gun, sir. What about it?

Well, it was nicked from Redding's studio, wasn't it?

Well, the vicar's maid cleans the place and the Colonel threatened to chuck that Archer bloke back into chokey for poaching.

He was only out on parole and he had a bad time inside they say.

Well, according to village gossip, Archer's having a bit of a thing with the maid at the Vicarage. Is he, by God?


Now, the vicar left at when, 5:35?


About then. What do you mean about?

It's very important to be precise.

Well, I didn't know anyone was coming to shoot the old swine, did I?

Didn't you?

And what does that mean? We'll come to that in a minute.

No, we won't, we'll come to it now. What do you mean?

Yes, Inspector, do you have any specific charge?

I'll manage, thank you, Vicar. And what do you mean?

You know what I mean. There is a certain man with whom you are conducting a certain relationship.

If you're talking about Bill Archer you say so.

Yes, I know him and better than most.

Better than most.

Have you got a note of that, Lake?

You realize that Mrs. Price-Ridley saw Archer arrive at the Vicarage the night before the murder at past midnight.

The old crow. Saw him led into the kitchen.

Didn't see him leave.

Um... He hurt himself, didn't he.

He needed help.


He had a bad fall. Tripped over some sort of cord in the woods there.

Buried it was in the leaves. What woods?

By the Vicarage here. So he saw a light, so...

What was he doing in the woods? Rabbiting. What do you think?

He wasn't shooting Magistrates anyway.

I gave him a cup of tea, Vicar.

We'd better check it I suppose. Detail it to Pringle.

Inspector, I believe I have information quite up to your investigation.

Lake, Fletcher, Pringle...

Now then, madam, what can we do for you?

There was a man in my shrubbery. I distinctly heard him sneeze.

Yes, madam...

I've considerably revised my opinion of Mary.


The way she stood up to Inspector Slack was magnificent.

No wonder we're a free country.

This was sent down by Ann Protheroe.

"Dear Vicar, I wonder if you and Griselda

"would come up and see me as soon as possible.

"I should be very grateful.

"Something very strange has occurred and I should like some advice.

"Yours etc."

Well, it's a nice evening.

Let's cycle up.

Good evening, Vicar.

Oh. There she goes. Tail up. Nose down.

Oh, good afternoon, Lettice. Oh...

Going out, Mr. Hawes? I won't be long, Mrs. Salisbury.

So you'll want your tea then? Oh, yes, please.

I'm just popping round to Dr. Haydock's.

Oh, sorry... Hello.

How are you?

Oh, well, you know.


Well, there's nothing wrong there.

Yes, but, Doctor...

There's nothing to worry about, Mr. Hawes.

Now tell me how exactly does your difficulty in sleeping manifest itself.

Well, it's not really me, Doctor.

It's my landlady and her friend. They... They talk.

I can hear them through the wall. I hear snatches of what they're actually saying but whenever I hear my name and try to listen, they whisper, and I can't hear a thing.

And this goes on at night?

Yes. Only at night.

It usually starts as soon as I try to go to sleep.


I'm going to prescribe you some powders, which are a bit of a relaxant. Right.

They'll help you to feel drowsy.

And I want you to come back at the end of next week whether they work or not. Right.

There we are.

So something was nailed up between those trees, a rope let's say.

But why?

Suppose these poachers are like natives in the jungle, they always follow the same trails through the woods.

But why should anyone...

No, it's just another ruddy mystery to chalk up.

What did that Price-Ridley woman have to say for herself?

Well, she says the Colonel has as good as accused Hawes of petty theft.

She reckons something like it herself. Money's missing from the church fund.

Oh, yes, and she thinks she heard the murderer in the shrubbery.

Reckons she heard him sneeze.

So all we've got to do is find someone with a snotty handkerchief.

I was out in the garden replenishing my bird tray when I heard him.

Well, I thought, "That's someone who has no business being where they are."

So I crept indoors and I went upstairs into my bedroom...

You see... I can see into the shrubbery from there but when I got there he had disappeared.

Well, I think it was Archer.

What do you think, Jane?

Miss Marple.

ANN: I brought it down here because...

Well, I don't know why. I wonder if you'd mind taking it away for me.

Of course not. It's horrible.

I suppose it shouldn't be destroyed.

You see, in case it's connected in some way.

GRISELDA: I'll come up and fetch it tomorrow.

I don't even know who it's of.

It's such an unpleasant incident.

I'm sure it isn't a portrait of anyone I know.

Why should it affect me?

On top of everything else.

I know. I know.

It's like an attack on someone.

A desecration of...

Makes the place even more difficult to...

Oh, Wame and his wife are very sweet but...

Why don't you come and stay with us?

May I?

Perhaps after Lawrence has gone.

I've sent him away, you know.

He'll be gone as soon as he's sorted out the studio.

It would have been impossible here if he'd stayed.

The talk is positively blasphemous.

That all seems to be part of it somehow, but I don't know how.

There's poison in the very atmosphere of this place.

It seems to work its way in everywhere.


I've got to go. It wouldn't be fair to Ann.

She's going to hang on.

Just a sign of the times in this wretched place.

To show she's not ashamed.

Then we'll get married.

I wish to God it hadn't had to be like this.

But Ann's independent now and she can spit on this village and all its works.

You and I can sympathize with that attitude.

I sometimes feel very drawn to a jealous God.

Who the hell could have done it, Vicar?

I don't know.

Sometimes I feel it was someone who...

No, never mind.

I'll tell you what I think.

I think it was someone who was crazy.

Protheroe had enemies, sure, but to kill him...

No, I think someone just tipped over the edge.

Is there anyone in this place who could have hated him enough otherwise?

Good night, Lawrence.

DR. HAYDOCK: Vicar...

Could I have a word?

It's about Hawes.

Hearing voices?


Come to think of it, yes.

I thought you'd be able to tell me.

I call it psychotic but you may say it's the voice of God.

Anything is possible.

Depends what the voices said.

He hasn't told me.

I must say he strikes me as a fish out of water.

Over sensitive.

Yes, he's probably reacting more strongly to this horrible business than most of us.

Goodness knows it's affected the whole place.

I'll get Griselda to have a word with him tomorrow.

I intimidate him, according to her.


The day before the murder, you got Dr. Haydock to drive you to the Old Hall.

Yes, I did, to speak to Colonel Protheroe.

Can you indicate to me the nature of that interview?


I'm afraid I must insist, Mrs. Lestrange.

No, Inspector.

I will assure you that nothing which was said at the interview could possibly have any bearing...

We have statements to the effect that this interview got very acrimonious.

Colonel Protheroe lost his temper certainly.

But then he was prone to that.

I am not, and I didn't.

And you won't tell me what was discussed.


Mrs. Le-bloody-strange...

I know her game, blackmail.

She was blackmailing Protheroe.

He refused to pay, threatened to expose her.


Have you been questioning Mrs. Lestrange?

Trying to.

Could I have a word in confidence?

I had hoped to catch you before you went in to see her.

This is in the strictest confidence, you understand...

We have to ask ourselves the question, did Eugene and Morris work and die in vain?

Are we to banish beauty like the common class of the commonwealth?

Among the most evil men who ever lived, I may add.

The enemies of beauty are the enemies of God, you know.

I agree.


You want to go. I'm sorry.

Thank you for popping round.

No, no. It... It was a pleasure.

Look, are you sure you're all right?

Yes, of course.

Then I'll see you at Matins tomorrow.

I think, I believe that you are a sophisticated woman and by that, of course, I don't mean merely in terms of appearance.

So that I'm sure you'll understand when I say that my advice would be that there is no point in misleading people any longer.

I understand, of course, it was necessary, when you first came, for everyone's sake, most especially the child's but now everything's changed, hasn't it?

Especially as you seem to have told her anyway.

So I think you should let it out in the open now before it causes some dreadful problems.

What are you saying, Miss Marple?

Lettice is your daughter, isn't she?

Ann. What?

Do you love Lawrence?


I'm sorry. It's all right.

I just do.

I don't mind.

You're much older than he is, aren't you?


Would you be desperate if Lawrence chucked you over?

You did it, didn't you, Ann?

You killed Daddy.

You killed him so that you...

So that you and Lawrence...

I'm not coming in.

I've just come to tell you to keep your bloody daughter out of my life and tell her to keep her bloody stupid ideas to herself.

There's a law called criminal libel in this country, you know, and I'm damned if I'm going to have my name smeared by a half-witted little tart like her.

Oh, you poor thing.

Don't worry. Lettice is coming to stay with me.

Oh, come in!

We've both suffered too much at the hands of that man not to be friends.

Do sit down.

He's out of the way now.

I can see my daughter and you can recover yourself.

Why are you...

Why are you being...

I don't understand.

...Because I'm dying.

This will be my last summer.

Here's my doctor, you can ask him.

It's true.

I'd give anything for it not to be.

The portrait...

It was of you, wasn't it?

Yes. Oh, you must forgive Lettice for that.

I don't think she meant you to find it.

She was frightened that a connection might be made between me and Lucius and that the police might become bothersome.

Maybe she thought I actually killed him.

Wouldn't it be simple if I had?

Well, it's a good house for a Matins.

My text today is taken from Psalm 15.

"Lord, who shall rest on thy holy hill, "even he that hath used no deceit in his time

"and hath not slandered his neighbor."

My friends, we are all, in the meaning of that text, neighbors.

Amongst us are some who are pure in heart, who'll hear with sorrow what I have to say, urging themselves in imitation of God's great son to forgiveness of those whom I address, amongst whom I include myself.

An act of horrible violence and cruelty has taken place amongst us, my neighbors, and whatever we shall discover the reason finally to be, I believe that this was no mere accidental occurrence.

The ground was prepared, the time was ripe for such a deed.

We are almost all of us involved and those who are involved are guilty.

And I beg you do not look at it with mundane eyes, with the eyes of pity, justification, everyday excuses.

Look at it with the eyes of eternity.

For one day we shall all be judged and we shall not be treated like re-counseled children.

We shall be viewed with the eyes of that eternal judge who weighs our actions absolutely.

A fog of anger, and I need remind no one here that anger is one of the deadly sins.

A fog of anger surrounded the murdered man.

A fog which the bright light of forgiveness may have dispersed.

How many of us can say that we found in our hearts even a penny candle of forgiveness to light our way through that gloom.

Few, I suspect, and I know I did not.

There is one among us who has a dark journey to make,

one who has broken the mightiest of all commandments.

Let us all pray that this person has already started on his seemingly impossible journey towards the light of our maker's presence, which alone can forgive the unforgiveable.

What of the rest of us?

From the depths of my contrition, I beg you, join me, journey with me, offer your supplication with mine.

Call upon our maker to intercede for our souls that our sins may not have stained them forever and in the light of that hoped for forgiveness let us forgive as he shall forgive us and renounce that which shall surely damn us if we continue.

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Hello. Vicarage.



Is Mr. Clement...

No, he hasn't come back from Evensong yet.

- He had to go on to... I...

I want to confess.


They're doing Tchaikovsky's 1812 on the wireless tonight, and for the salutive cannon at the end they are having some real guns going off in the park across the road from the Albert Hall.

Wish I had one of those recording machines like young Redding has.

Miss Marple?

Oh. Cannon you say?

Most interesting, yes.

Vicar, you've... You've rearranged your room.


I thought the memory of that awful evening might perhaps be dissipated if I...

And your fine Aspidistra, was that always in this room?

No, that was out there in the lobby.

Oh, yes.

Yes, much better where it is.

Hello. Vicarage. Clement here. Hello, my dear.

Yes, of course. Right away.

Hawes has attempted to take his own life.

Oh, thank you, Mrs. Salisbury.

The doctor is on his way.

He's very weak.

I'm most surprised.

Mr. Hawes?

Look at this.

It's what Colonel Protheroe was writing before he was killed.

It accuses Christopher Hawes of stealing from the church fund.

Oh, dear, dear, dear. That must be it, mustn't it?

That must be the real note, the other was a forgery.

Oh, yes. This is the last mortal thing he did.

Hawes was trying to telephone to confess.

Christopher Hawes a murderer, it's frightening.

Well, it depends, doesn't it, on what he wanted to confess to and if he really did want to confess, why did he try to kill himself before doing so?

If he did. Did?

Try to kill himself.

Oh, I'm sorry, my dear, I'm just trying to get used to how stupid I've been.

MRS. SALISBURY: They're upstairs.


It looks, Doctor, as if he'd taken an overdose of those powders which I see you've given him, but I beg you to keep an open mind on that.

I believe, you see, that it was meant to look like that.

What do you reckon? God knows.

It's possible.

Anything's possible in this damn business.

The curate could have done it.

The doctor could have done it.

The church cat could have done it as far as I'm concerned.

There's only one thing about this business that's certain,

wherever you turn there's one person who'll always be there.

Good evening, Inspector.

He took poison. Whether he meant to or not.

The tranquillizers I prescribed couldn't have this effect.

They were muscle relaxants, basically, and their color looked slightly wrong.

I'll get them analyzed.

Anyways, it's touch and go. Excuse me.

Tsk, tsk...

Miss Marple... He didn't intend to, Inspector.

Someone intended him to.


Well, Mrs. Salisbury had a glimpse of the person who visited Mr. Hawes after dark this evening, rather surreptitiously she thought.

She is, thank heaven, an inquisitive body.

Who was it, Miss Marple?

The murderer, of course.

Now may I propose a little stratagem?

Oh. Oh, that's right.

That's who I wanted to speak to.

There's been a most awful accident, you know.

Poor Mr. Hawes took his life, they say.

Yes, he's dead. Or good as.

Won't ever come out of it.

They reckon he'll be dead before the night's out.

Oh, they've all gone now, thank goodness.

Police were here, everything.


I didn't tell them that I saw you come around earlier.

I thought you wouldn't want to be mixed up in it, but as you were a friend of poor Mr. Hawes, I thought you'd like to know...

Well, well...

Mr. Redding...

There's a note.

May I see it?

Oh! Oh, thank you, Inspector. Yes. Oh, dear...


But why did poor Ann Protheroe take her own life?

Do you think she suspected that Redding had shot Protheroe and couldn't live with it?

Oh, no.

Oh, no. No. No.

What she couldn't live with was the fact that she was the murderer.

She killed her husband, you know.

Ann? Oh, yes.

Just as she told us she did.

When of course we weren't meant to believe it.

Oh, dear me, is that the time?

I think I really... Miss Marple, you mustn't go.

You must tell us what happened.

Where is that wretched girl with the tea?

Hello. Vicarage.

You'd better get on with their tea, girl.

No hurry.

You'll be glad to hear that Christopher Hawes has regained consciousness and is out of danger.


Oh, thank goodness for that. Oh, yes, indeed. Yes.

Now do sit down, then.

We're not going to let Miss Marple go to bed until she's explained everything.

Oh. Oh...

Well, you see, I made the most dreadful mistake of underestimating young Mr. Redding.

I thought we were dealing with someone whose crudity would eventually expose them.

What I hadn't bargained for was being made to think it was someone not very bright when, in fact, he was extremely subtle.

The double confession...

Pointing the finger too crudely at the real murderer.

Planting the Colonel's letter on eccentric Mr. Hawes and staging his suicide, most clever.

I think we've been extremely lucky, Inspector.

You see, what I still don't... Oh, you want to know how they did it.

Well, we have to go back to the morning of the murder.

Mr. Redding waited until you'd gone out, Vicar.

Griselda was in London.

It wasn't until you rearranged your room, Vicar, that I realized where Mr. Redding must have put his gun.

He'd already immobilized your car, so the scene was now set.

That evening Mr. Redding telephoned you pretending to be Mr. Abbot's neighbor and you were out of the way.

They counted on my being in my garden.

Good evening, Miss Marple.

Oh! Oh, good evening, Mrs. Protheroe.

The dress was selected with great care.

She knew I was a noticing sort of person but I could tell she hadn't so much as a handkerchief in the top of her stockings.

Never mind a gun.

The gun was silenced.

But when it went off Mrs. Price-Ridley heard it.

She believed she'd heard someone in her shrubbery, sneezing, she thought.

So she went upstairs to get a better view.

Now this was very unfortunate as she was not there to connect the sound of the sneeze with Mrs. Protheroe leaving the study and crossing to the studio to await Mr. Redding.

It was a few minutes before he turned up.

I nearly missed him, as a matter of fact, as I was at that moment occupied in another part of my garden.

I didn't notice that he was not quite his usual self but I should have been alerted by the fact that he waved to me.

He'd never done that before.

He wanted to be noticed, you see.

Mr. Redding had set up one of the nesting boxes at the edge of the woods with a loud speaker inside it, the wire running back to his tape recorder inside the studio.

This was the wire that Bill Archer tripped over the night before the murder.

At precisely 6:30, Mr. Redding switched on the tape recorder and the final touch to this masterpiece of confusion was applied.

The shot sounded odd so it took my attention.

Mr. Redding was relying on the fact that a gun shot inside a room which then echoed outside would sound odd.

I don't think Ann Protheroe ever recovered from what she'd done.

In Mr. Redding's company she might have forgotten occasionally but I think she realized she'd destroyed her life.

Oh, she had wealth and freedom, of course.

She'd tried to save Lawrence Redding till the last.

Well, I must say, I'm glad she didn't succeed.

That would never do.


Oh, and, uh...

Some of your rock cakes. How thoughtful of you.

Oh, my dear, do you think you should, in your condition?

I've always suspected you of keeping a broomstick under the stairs, Miss Marple, and now I know.

Griselda... Yes, Len darling?

What... I mean...


A little Clement is forecast...

Oh, I say! Yes, but what I still don't see it...

I say!

What? Oh, I say...

What was that?