Plot Revealed Below!
Burnt out playboy Jerry Burton and his vivacious sister, Joanna, arrive in the sleepy village of Lymstock so that Jerry can recuperate after a motorcycling accident. Their expectations of peace and quiet are dashed when they discover a poison-pen letter writer is at work in the village.
Miss Marple is also visiting Lymstock to attend the funeral of her old friend Colonel Appleton who committed suicide as a result of one of the poison-pen letters. She is staying with the eccentric Reverend Dane Calthrop and his wife Maud. When more and more villagers start to receive the cruel hate mail, Miss Marple decides to look into the mystery of the letters, which accuse their recipients of promiscuity, adultery and illegitimacy.
Jerry and Joanna are soon initiated into village life. They meet stoical solicitor Richard Symmington, his neurotic wife Mona, their quirky daughter Megan and their enchanting governess Elsie Holland, the camp church organist Cardew Pye, genteel spinster Emily Barton, nervous doctor Owen Griffiths and his busybody sister Aimee. Joanna makes no secret of her attraction to Dr. Griffiths while Jerry finds himself dazzled by Elsie's beauty yet drawn to the honesty and enthusiasm of Megan.
It is not long before Jerry and Joanna reach the conclusion that the village is rife with sniping gossip. When Mona is found dead following receipt of a letter accusing her of having another man's child and passing him off as Richard's, they realize just how damaging this gossip can be. A torn note proclaiming, 'I can't go on,' suggests it was suicide.
Miss Marple begins to unravel the mystery with the help of Inspector Graves and Jerry, who impresses her with his sleuthing instinct. Mona's death is pronounced a suicide but they suspect murder. And when Agnes, the Symmington's maid, is found brutally murdered, they suspect she was killed to ensure her silence after witnessing proof that her employer was given, rather than knowingly took, a fatal overdose.
A book with a handful of its pages ripped out -- the letters have been cut to spell out the hate mail -- is found in Emily's drawing room, further complicating the investigation. When the police later discover Aimee using the typewriter used to type the envelopes, they think they've found their killer. But Miss Marple knows otherwise and, using a meticulous but dangerous plan, she reveals who the most vicious gossip of all is in Lymstock...
Production Notes | Story Synopsis | Who's Who
Miss Marple, Series II Home | Geraldine McEwan Interview
Filling Miss Marple's Shoes | Agatha Christie
Links + Bibliography | Discussion
Home | About MYSTERY! | American Mystery Specials | Program History
Schedule & Season | MYSTERY! Games | eNewsletter | Book Club
Discussion | Search | Shop | Feedback
Masterpiece is sponsored by: