As the BBC's "Miss Marple" series neared its end, the budgets got bigger and the cast-lists got starrier - a new Marple adaptation was (rightly) seen as an event, and it became the BBC's habit to present each of the later episodes as a Christmas special. This one has Jean Simmons, no less, as Jane Marple's charming, fragile friend Carrie-Louise, and Joss Ackland as her solicitous husband, the head of a rehabilitation centre for young criminals. Very fine they are, too. A clever plot is resolved by Miss Marple's usual demonstration of her laser-beam ability to see to the heart of things without sentimentality. Reactionary elements in Christie's novel - she was not over-fond of new-fangled liberal notions about rehabilitation - have been suitably toned down, giving the denoument a tragic edge very typical of this series.
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