20 September 2011 | blanche-2
Where the heck is Roy Marsden?
I was a little surprised when I turned on this Inspector Dalgleish and found out that he is now Martin Shaw and not Roy Marsden. Worse yet, after making the character of Dalgleish so popular, P.D. James apparently told someone she likes Shaw better. How's that for gratitude.
At any rate, I was so distracted by the fact that it was a new Dalgleish that it was hard at first to concentrate on the film. And it's a good one. Dalgleish returns to a seminary where he spent happy days as a teenager to see if a suicide could have been murder. The seminary is in danger of being closed, and the archdeacon who is interested in its demise is on the premises, as is the detective who accused the archdeacon of killing his wife and as a result, lost his career. When the bodies start dropping around him, Dalgleish realizes the seminary has other problems besides possibly closing.
This is a multilayered story with wonderful characterizations thanks to the script and cast, including the handsome Jesse Spencer, Alan Howard, Clive Wood, and Poirot's old partner in crime, Hastings, Hugh Fraser.
As for Martin Shaw, I have no memory of the Dalgleish books and Dalgleish as he is written by James. Shaw gives a very subtle, underplayed performance of a gentle man in pain from loss and afraid to reach out again. He's very good, just took some getting used to.