Agatha Christie Wiki

Paul Hawkyard as Archer (renamed Frank Tarrant in the adaptation where this image is from)

In the novel The Murder at the Vicarage, Archer is the son of Mrs Archer, and has been going out with Mary Hill for two years. He is a poacher, shooting Colonel Protheroe's pheasants and had been sent to prison by Protheroe in the past. The vicar describes Archer as "an inveterate poacher--one of those cheerful ne'er-do-weels that are to be found in any parish".

At the beginning of the novel, Archer had recently been released from prison, and Colonel Protheroe says that he has heard that Archer is vowing vengeance against him. When Colonel Protheroe is found dead, Archer is suspected. However, Archer was with some friends all the afternoon on the day of the murder, so he has an alibi.

He is a cousin of Fred Jackson.


In the BBC 1986 adaptation of the novel which formed part of the Miss Marple series, Archer is played by Jack Galloway. Here he has a firstname "Bill". He has a slightly larger role in than in the novel. Here, he trips on a cable in the woods behind the vicarage. Miss Marple later surmises that this is a wire leading to a loudspeaker used by Lawrence Redding to playback the sound of a gunshot. Like in the novel, Archer was also a frequent visitor to the vicarage kitchen as he had a relationship with Mary Wright.

In the ITV 2004 adaptation of the novel (Episode 2, Season 1 of Agatha Christie's Marple), the character's name is changed to "Frank Tarrant". Here he has been sentenced to 29 days in prison for poaching and was effectively out of the picture during the time of Protheroe's murder, thus eliminating him as a relevant suspect.