“In an English village, you turn over a stone and have no idea what will crawl out. The villagers of Chipping Cleghorn, including Miss Marple, are agog with curiosity over an advertisement in the local gazette which reads: ‘A murder is announced and will take place on Friday October 13th, at Little Paddocks at 6.30p.m.’ A childish practical joke or a hoax? Unable to resist the mysterious invitation, a crowd begins to gather at Little Paddocks at the appointed time when, without warning, the lights go out, a gun is fired and a body falls.”

As a teenager Friday nights were often spent with my father and an Agatha Christie or a PD James or a Ruth Rendell tele-movie. I’d watching a small village handle the threat of murder, or the realisation that not all were sweet and kindly church-goers, gardeners or local librarians – some people in the village were hiding nasty and difficult secrets. Coming from a small town myself I often wondered if my neighbours were equally likely to poison each other’s tea – and such is the tradition of the British murder mystery genre. A wise outsider – sometimes a Frenchman and sometimes an old maid – would outwit the police in understanding the situation faster and in more detail than the slow and sloppy law preservers.

Thank goodness for busy bodies!

All in all a delightful experience – yes absolutely quaint and old-fashioned in nearly every sense of the word, with a bright and bubbly cast snapping along in a perfectly chatty way – as you’d expect and hope. Stylistically this production is exactly as it probably always has been produced – plummy, surprising and allowing us the pleasure of gasping in shock and surprise.

With the rise of Retro culture amongst the upwardly mobile money earners of the metropolitan centres, this is a perfect piece of retro theatre – complete with gender inequity, a migrant maid and social taboos which no longer conjure a gasp but a giggle. All in all a fairly easy evening of entertainment.