An archetypal country house murder

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A Murder ia Announced

The Club Players, Broughton

Unlike The Mousetrap (dated and farcical) and The Hollow (overlong and tedious), this is one of Agatha Christie’s better and most often performed plays and The Club Players tackled this adaptation with enthusiasm.

Ann Dennis was convincing as Lilian Blacklock, who was shocked to read in the Chipping Cleghorn Gazette that a murder is to take place in her home at 6.30pm that evening.

Present as the hour approaches are an assortment of friends, relatives and passing neighbours, some or all of whom may benefit from her death.

As the clock strikes the appointed hour, a man breaks in brandishing a gun and shots ring out but... it is the man who dies.

Who was he trying to kill?

Who killed him?

And why?

Luckily, Miss Marple happens to be there, visiting the village for her rheumatism cure, and she is happy to assist the police with their enquiries. Judith Webster made an excellent Miss Marple, bearing a remarkable resemblance to Joan 
Hickson, that doyen of the role.

Mervyn Coward was a pleasantly sardonic Insp Craddock, aided by Tim Leedale as Sergeant Mellors.

Trilby Beetham played Letitia’s simple companion, Bunny, and her house guests included Alison Griffiths-Brown and Daniel Haresnape as her cousins, Julia and Patrick Simmons, and Kimberley Ainscough as her lodger, Phillipa Haymes.

Sylvia Williams plaayed nosy neighbour, Mrs Swettenham with Andy Sugden as her sullen son, Edmund, whilst Lesley Southworth provided a wonderful comedy cameo as Mitzi the Eastern European maid.

The twists and turns and the red herrings made for an absorbing evening.

The dialogue was slick and the acting more than competent while the charming set made a perfect background for this archetypal country house murder.

Ron Ellis