Jane, Claude, Frankie, Bobby
To get in, Frankie runs her car off the road at the entrance of Castle Savage, circled on Pritchard's map, where tea baron Lord Jack Savage died "writhing and moaning" six months ago. Lady Sylvia Savage (Samantha Bond) calls the nearest doctor, who has clinic nearby, psychiatrist Dr Alec Nicholson (Rik Mayall), who advises Frankie stay. Bob sets off with Pritchard's key to Hotel Cattermole and finds the victim's diary and true name, Carstairs. For support and safety, the team follows Frankie - Miss M claims to be her old governess, Bob her chauffeur with more clothes. How too convenient and dangerous, that all are invited to stay in a house of suspects. Especially after we learn the first Lord Savage, elder brother George to Jack, died suddenly in China.
Claude Evans (Mark Williams - Weasley dad in Harry Potter) worked for George in China. Why does he hang around and grow deadly orchids in conservatory setting, except to provide a gorgeous film background? (Spoiler - and second victim who leaves supposed suicide confession.) Tom (Freddie Fox), son of the Savage house, pets deadly vipers, hides uncle Jack's will, and stares at orphanage photo. Moira (Natalie Dormer) "the most noticeable person I've ever noticed" was a nurse, now neighbor, jealous-seeming wife to Dr Nicholson, both with drug access.
Faithful old manservant Wilson (Richard Briers) gives mysterious needles to employer Sylvia. Resident piano teacher Roger (Rafe Spall) makes up to Frankie, while Moira flirts with Bob. Bombastic incompetent Commander Peters (Warren Clarke) refuses to listen to others' answers.
We get to look over their shoulders, see glances and actions unobserved by others. Huge castle, psychiatrist Nicholson tosses her a pill, son offers pit viper for perusal. I was overwhelmed by so many new people, all staying in the same big house. Curious happenings, actions, reactions and interactions, meaningless scraps of paper and conversations. Tension, music mounts, footsteps approach .. poof .. ordinary chit-chat. Very convoluted motivations ring weak when Miss M guesses history from years ago. McKenzie's portrayal is entirely believable.
----------Spoilers: If Jack killed George, older brother and first Lord Savage, because he and Sylvia wanted to marry, why did the newlyweds take on fake siblings Tom and Dottie Dorothy (Hannah Murray) after dumping real ones, now Roger and Moira, in the Chinese orphanage? Current Attfield maid Florence Roberts (Siwan Morris) seems too young to be Florrie Evans, former "nursemaid" to Jack, too informal for "nurse". Why necessary for her to witness his death? Others all suspects?
Why does Carstairs, such a good friend of Jack, come all the way from China to benefit George's children he doesn't know, because he thinks will made out to orphanage is wrong? Did he not see his killer Roger? Why waste last words on questioning reason maid Evans not asked to witness will instead of gardeners, newly replaced so as not to recognize forger Roger in place of Jack?
Roger says Moira suffered deeply at the hands of invading soldiers. She dies horribly from poison, tactfully face down, a snake tattoo conveniently exposed by her slit-back dress. Does not Sylvia, guilty of ruining all their lives by selfish lust, deserve punishment? ----------
Extras:captions photo gallery ~30 posed publicity vs casual style stills, mostly single, outside or in flowers 4 cast filmographies - 2 pg work, many mysteries, 2009-1971 McKenzie, Bond, Clarke, Spall