Drawing on her love of theatre and art, New Zealand author Ngaio Marsh created elegant crime-puzzlers full of quirky characters with hidden agendas, all brought meticulously to life in this BBC series.
Ngaio Marsh was a brilliant writer and her detective stories would make a great TV series. Unfortunately this wasn't it. Patrick Malahide is a gifted actor, an Irishman who can infiltrate any layer of the English class system. But he's miscast as Roderick Alleyn, the series detective, who's not meant to be a stereotype toff. In the books he's more of a mirror for other characters. Troy, his wife, is turned from an individualist with her own career as a painter into the typical cop show whingeing wife ("You never have time for me!"). Adaptations are plodding and period detail ladled on. An opportunity missed. Read the books.