The Pale Horse is the fifth and latest of writer-producer Sarah Phelps’ stylish adaptations of Agatha Christie murder mystery novels, following And Then There Were One (2015), The Witness For The Prosecution (2016), Ordeal By Innocence (2018) and The ABC Murders (2018).
The Pale Horse was a contemporary crime thriller when it first published in 1961. And aside from the central mystery, it takes on a range of social issues from time – the clash between old, countrified Britain and the new swinging ’60s, and the growing push for women’s rights, embodied in both the series’ three witches and in its dodgy male lead, Mark Easterbrook (Rufus Sewell), who seems to have a fatal effect on the ladies in his life.
In 2020, its blend of ’60s chic and dowdy country clothes (which still have that Mend And Make Do vibe left over from the post WW2 era) gives it the charm of memory. All the better for its unearthly and vicious plot to sneak up on you unawares.