I have been asked by several of my cat-loving friends to write something more about Miss Marple. It is my pleasure to do so. One of the things she does that particularly delights us is to observe closely the wildlife in our backyard. She is strictly an indoor cat – I am way too much of a nervous wreck about her well-being to allow her out. So this monitoring function is primarily carried out from the vantage point of the sliding glass doors in the dining and family rooms.
Even though birds and squirrels are commonplace, they are always duly noted by Miss Marple. The big event, though, is when deer come tramping through the yard. When she spots them, Miss Marple’s entire body goes rigid! This has to be one of the most endearing characteristics of cats, the way their entire bodies, and not just their minds, focus on the task at hand.
Finally, it being late summer, there are fireflies in profusion at nighttime. Miss Marple likes to get herself situated between the curtains and the window and watch the winking lights of these mysterious insects.
Miss Marple, by the way, was named with our favorite actress in mind. We love Joan Hickson’s incomparable portrayal of Agatha Christie’s elderly but keen-eyed sleuth. Hickson’s Miss Marple has a still, deep center, like a seer. There is nothing silly or superficial about her. One can well believe that she has in fact witnessed every sort of depravity right there in the tiny village of St. Mary Mead!
Joan Hickson was 78 years old when she began filming the twelve Miss Marple episodes for the BBC in 1984. The project was completed in 1992; she died six years later.