IN the world of Agatha Christie, where nearly everyone wears tweed and has terribly nice manners, cold-blooded murder is still a very nasty business.

And when A Murder Is Announced opened at Blackpool Grand Theatre this week with the nostalgic "pips" of a radio broadcast, it wasn't long before the skeletons came tumbling out of the closet and everyone in the village of Chipping Cleghorn had a flaw to be revealed.

Ruth Madoc is impressive as everyone's favourite neighbour, Letitia Blacklock, whose surprisingly wooden country cottage is thrown into the spotlight on Friday, April 13, after a classified ad in the local paper advertises a murder at the house at 6.30pm. And without a trace of her alter ego Gladys Pugh, Ruth took the audience adeptly through more twists and turns than any ride a few miles down the Promenade.

Former Eastenders duo Leila Birch and Andrew Lynford are a revelation as Letitia's doting relations, proving once again that there is life after soaps.

Show stealer Jane Shakespeare has the most impressive, if unidentifiable, accent and comic timing as the truculent maid Mitzi, while Geoffrey Davies -- as the upmarket Inspector Craddock -- is wonderfully in charge and with the help of Agatha Christie's heroine Miss Marple, of course, uncovers the dastardly plot.

A Murder Is Announced runs until January 27 with performances at 2.30pm and 7.30pm. For tickets at £12.50 call the box office on (01253) 290190.