Tag Archives: series detective

Original Sin (P.D James–Adam Dagleish Mystery) 1997

 “Do you believe a building can be infused with evil?”

original sinOriginal Sin is a made-for-television Inspector Dalgliesh mystery based on a P.D. James novel. The mystery begins with a suicide that occurs at Peverell Press, a respectable London based publishing house. Dalgliesh is called in to investigate the hate mail received by the partners of the firm. Peverell Press partners include the timid Francis Peverell (Amanda Root), James de Witt (Jonathon Coy), Gabriel Dauntsey (Ian Bannen), a former WWII pilot and one-time poet, Claudia Etienne (Cathryn Harrison), and her brother, Gerard Etienne (James Wilby). Peverell Press has been in existence for more than 200 years, and it is located in the splendid Venetian style palace, Innocent House. Innocent House has a tragic and sordid history, and it seems that more tragedies have yet to occur there. The partners are at odds with one another when it comes to determining the future of Peverell Press. Most people are very unhappy with the involvement of Gerard Etienne. Gerard is particularly loathed by those at the press–and this includes long-time author Esme Carling (Sylvia Sims), and Gerard’s pitiful secretary, Miss Blackett (Carolyn Pickles). Gerard is cruel and dictatorial. He has many enemies, and he certainly isn’t worried about creating more. In spite of the fact that Dalgliesh is involved in the case, the body count mounts …

The plot is through and well developed. All the suspects are interesting characters, and the acting is top-notch. The mystery is intense until the end of the film. The ending raised many questions; this is somewhat unfortunate. The majority of the film was excellent, and I was rather intrigued by the thought of all this murder taking place within the publishing community. Oh well, most of this 150 minute long DVD was great entertainment, and fans of British mysteries should enjoy the film.


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Midsomers Murders: The Killings at Badger’s Drift (1997)

“Two unnatural deaths in the same small area involving the same set of people.”

The Killings at Badger’s Drift is the pilot episode for the made-for-British television series Midsomer Murders. DCI Barnaby (John Nettles) and his sidekick Sgt Troy (Daniel Casey) investigate the mysterious death of an elderly spinster, Emily Simpson (Renee Asherson). While Miss Simpson’s friend, insists it’s a case of murder, Barnaby isn’t so sure. But the autopsy results reveal that this gentle spinster met a violent death, and so the investigation begins….

The fictional village of Badger’s Drift is–like many villages–a place where everyone knows everyone else. It’s not easy to hide personal business, or even create alibis–especially when town snoops, Iris Rainbird (Elizabeth Spriggs) and her peculiar undertaker son, Dennis (Richard Cant) are poking into everyone’s business with a well-placed pair of high-powered binoculars. As Barnaby digs deeper into the case, he reopens another mysterious case that may well be connected to the murder of Miss Simpson.

As a pilot, The Killings at Badger’s Drift sets the tone and the style for the series, and it also introduces the character of DCI Barnaby–a man who’s forced to endure his wife’s culinary experiments and his sergeant’s spotty driving skills. The suspects–and there are several of these–are an interesting bunch: the weasely local doctor and his adulterous wife, the nauseating Rainbirds who frequently reward themselves with orgies of food, and the orphaned siblings, Catherine Lacey (Emily Mortimer) and her temperamental artist brother, Michael (Jonathan Firth). Some of the characterizations are overdone (the Rainbirds, and Phyllis Cadell) and while definitely making the film more entertaining, the Rainbirds’ grotesqueness, is a little over the top–almost campy, and as such it’s too much for the confines of the film. Based on the novel by Caroline Graham and directed by Jeremy Silberston, The Killings at Badger’s Drift is a pleasant introduction to the highly popular British detective series.

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