Helen Hayes in A Caribbean Mystery (1983)

Resorting to Murder

After a bit of pneumonia Miss Jane Marple (Helen Hayes) has headed to the Caribbean for a vacation and some sun to aid in her recovery. It is whilst at a small holiday resort she meets the aging Major Geoffrey Palgrave (Maurice Evans) who has turned his hand to mystery writing who says that one of the guests is a wife murderer and he has photographic proof. But before he can divulge who it is he dies from an overdose of alcohol and blood pressure medication which wasn't his. It leads to Miss Marple starting up her own sneaky investigation especially when a picture the Major had of the killer has gone missing and others end up being killed.

Well after many years of putting it off I have finally watched my first Miss Marple movie. Oh I have seen bits of this movie and TV show whilst having seen many a different actress playing the famous character but I have never felt any real draw to watch these movies especially having come across one fan of Agatha Christie's works who seemed almost irrational when it came to those who didn't share their passion for these mystery movies. Now I am guessing that "A Caribbean Mystery" was probably not the best movie to start with because in all honesty I finished the movie and thought “what's all the fuss about” as beyond the wonderful Helen Hayes there was nothing that special to it.

Now to sum up "A Caribbean Mystery" we have Miss Marple being a sweet little lady and putting on the absent minded doddery act as she asks questions of the other guests in an inoffensive yet prying manner, discounting those who have and have not a possible motive for murdering the major as well as others who get bumped off before the movie is over. And of course the more she slyly pries the more secrets and revelations she discovers about the various guests with marital and business problems all giving characters a secretive side. The thing is that there is nothing in "A Caribbean Mystery" to make it stand out from the crowd especially now over 30 years later when there are so many made for TV murder mystery movies.

What this all boils down to is that "A Caribbean Mystery" ended up a very middle of the road murder mystery movie which to be honest if it wasn't for the wonderful Helen Hayes playing the amusing Miss Marple could have ended up a little dull. To put this simply you could use the basic storyline and switch the character of Miss Marple with say Jessica Fletcher from "Murder, She Wrote" or Jennifer Shannon from the "Garage Sale Mystery" movies and it would still work it is that routine.