After the death of Sir Edward Marple his niece, Miss Jane Marple (Margaret Rutherford) is named to replace him as trustee of the Cape of Good Hope Youth Reclamation Centre. The organization rehabilitates young men by teaching them navel skills on a reconditioned wooden battleship called the HMS Battledore. The Battledore sits in the harbor. The young boys stay on the ship. During their first meeting with Miss Marple one of the trustees suddenly dies. Miss Marple is suspicious since the man had just returned from visiting the Battledore and had some urgent information to relay to the board. Unfortunately, he died before he could reveal it.
Miss Marple notices that the snuff in his snuff box disappeared white everyone was out of the room and a window was found open. A small amount of snuff that spilled from the box is all that is left. After doing some experiments Miss Marple discovers that the snuff had been poisoned. Miss Marple decides to visit the ship herself to uncover what the man had found and who killed him. Captain Sydney DeCourcy Rhumstone (Lionel Jeffries) is not happy having Miss Marple aboard. Miss Marple finesses her way with the captain who unwittingly offers to have her stay aboard for several days.
While she is aboard her friend, Mr. Stringer (Stringer Davis) takes a room in a hotel near the shore. Miss Marple and Mr. Stringer communicate back and forth via Morse code using flashlights. Mr. Stringer discovers that several of the boys came ashore and robbed a house. Mr. Stringer rows out to the ship and informs Miss Marple of his discovery. Lt. Compton (Francis Matthews) overhears their conversation and ends up getting murdered before he can notify the captain. Now with two murders to sort through Chief Inspector Craddock (Charles Tingwell) begins to pay a little more attention to Miss Marple’s interference. But Miss Marple is not done. There is more afoot than just burglary and Miss Marple is the only one who can solve everything.
“Murder Ahoy” was released in 1964 and was directed by George Pollock. It is a murder mystery and a comedy. It is the last of four films starring Dame Margaret Rutherford as Agatha Christie’s female sleuth Miss Marple. It is an original story not based on any of Agatha Christie’s novels. It does, however, take elements from some of Dame Christie’s stories.
Charles Tingwell reprises his role of Inspector Craddock as does Stringer Davis reprise his role as Miss Marple’s friend Mr. Stringer, from the previous three films. Margaret Rutherford will reprise her role as Miss Marple in the Hercule Poirot film “The Alphabet Murders” 1965. She has a small part in it.
The flavor of the film is a little different from the other Miss Marple films featuring Margaret Rutherford. Most likely because it doesn’t have Agatha Christie’s touch. It’s not necessarily bad, just different. It ended up being a fun mystery, mostly due to Dame Rutherford and Lionel Jeffries. It was like watching perseverance effortlessly overcome frustration. Both of them have a style of acting that makes for a very entertaining scene when they clash.
At one point Margaret Rutherford’s character has a sword fight with the murderer. She practiced the maneuvers for a month. For an elderly overweight woman, she did rather well.