And so the journey through the BBC’s new “adaptation” of some of the Father Brown stories continues – see here and here for previous instalments. We’re running out now of the episode’s based on actual short stories – we have The Eye Of Apollo, based on a short story and two original tales – The Bride of Christ, concerning the murder of a nun and The Devil’s Dust, dealing with a radioactive missing girl.
Was there any radiation in Chesterton’s stories? As we’ve established, I’m looking at the show and the episodes as a Father Brown novice and as such, I don’t really know. I kind of doubt it though…
Episode 5: The Eye Of Apollo
Based on a short story, this involves the appearance of a local cult led by seemingly-perennial murderer (on TV at least) Michael Maloney. As Father Brown’s housekeeper Suzie is inducted into the cult, the leader’s wife is thrown from a window from a locked room.
Probably wins the award for “Most Obvious Murderer Ever” but to be fair, it doesn’t really try and hide the killer’s identity, concentrating more on the how. There’s a nice complication added in as well – while part of it is thundering obvious, there is an additional part – the wife screaming when the main suspect is standing next to Father Brown – that throws a little complication into the mix.
I enjoyed this a lot – possibly my favourite of the series so far – in part due to the wonderful Maloney, or the number of times that Father Brown is locked out of the cult building only to climb back in over the same wall. With a decent-if-easy mystery for the armchair sleuth, this is rather engaging.
It’s quite close to the short story too, although Flambeau is missing. The actual locked room bit is rather close to the mechanism from The Wrong Shape short story though.
Episode 6: The Bride of Christ
Very amusing (although not supposed to be) turn by Roberta Taylor as a ludicrously strict nun, this is a decent enough little mystery although you can see where it’s going quite early on. Bonus points as well for Lorna Watson as the rather wonderful Sister Boniface, who has read one too many Agatha Christie books. As I intimated, the solution is telegraphed a little too much, but there’s a real sense of tragedy as the revelations unfold. I suppose that it’s entirely possible that characters such as Sister Paul could actually have existed, but… maybe she could have been toned down a bit.
Episode 7: The Devil’s Dust
A missing girl, a nuclear scare… sorry, got rather bored with this one. Probably the weakest episode so far, with the nuclear threat seeming out of place (although it does fit with the period, I guess.) Not much to say about this one.
So, overall, a couple of decent episodes here. Just three more to go, including The Blue Cross.