In the Guise of Death

 

 

 

 

 

Cast
Nathaniel Parker .... Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley
Sharon Small .... Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers
Stella Gonet .... Lady Sarah Keach
Adrian Bower .... DC Tremayne
Gabrielle Drake .... Lady Asherton
Nick Dunning .... Lawrence Chilcott
Doug Allen .... Lachlan
Devon Black .... Mrs. Tremayne
Alex Blake .... PC
Phil Cheadle .... Chilcott's Solicitor
Kelly Hunter .... Judith Lynley
Paul Ireland .... Connor
Sally Leonard .... Moira
Doug Rollins .... Stephen Fenner
Bernice Stegers .... Denning

Directed by Nigel Douglas
Written by Simon Block
First broadcast on BBC One March 23, 2005

Plot

Lynley is back home in Cornwall. He and his sister are worried about their mother. Lady Asherton has to manage the estate all by herself and they believe that it becomes too much for her. Havers in her turn is taking an Akido course at a retreat not too far from Lynley's home. By coincidence Lynley crosses an neighbouring estate that belongs to Jim Fenner. He seemed to have killed himself. The local DC Tremayne is already on the case but he seems to be rather inexperienced. He's more than happy that Lynley's willing to help. Lynley has his suspicions about the suicide theory and doesn't believe that Fenner has killed himself because of money worries.

Lynley decides to fetch Havers, she had been invited to spend a week at the Asherton estate. Naturally she becomes involved in the investigation process. Lady Asherton is angry with her son, who's supposed to be on leave where as a matter of fact he's working again. Lynley is unwilling to talk to his mom about his relationship with Helen. And she's irritated that her children think her incapable of managing the house all by herself. So all in all is not well with the Asherton family. Havers and Lynley get to know Lady Keach, a new close friend of Lady Asherton.

As things develop, it turns out that Fenner had been drugged with Bute, a horse anaesthetic. The suicide theory proves to be wrong. Lynley discovers signs of smuggling on his very own real estate. He thinks that Fenner's death is connected to his activity in a smuggling racket. Havers in her turn follows a different theory: she's convinced that the death is connected with the local horse world. That of course is something Lynley hates to think. Fenner had a grudge towards a horse dealer, Lawrence Chiltcott, who sold him a lame horse a few days before his death. Havers believes that a closer look at the local riding community would be following the right trail. Lynley gets his way, Tremayne is also convinced that it's all about the smuggling business. He decides to put up a trap for the racket, but the plan fails in a dramatic way. Tremayne, trying to safe a life, is being badly burned - he leaves a family with children behind. Lynley is devastated about this drama and blames himself for what had happened. Finally he's willing to follow Havers trail. While interviewing Chiltcott, our detective duo learns that there's no Lady Keach. That woman is a widow of a money launderer - trying to impress to locals with her non-existing title. Chiltcott (an old friend of pseudo Lady Keach) admits that he deliberately sold a lame horse to give Fenner the money he wanted from Lady Keach. Fenner was blackmailing her, because he knew about her past.

Lynley faces her Ladyship and confronts her with the things they found out. She cold-heartedly admits to have triggered all killings, because they were necessary to cover her lies. She physically attacks Lynley trying to escape her detention. Lynley manages to follow her, realizing that she's got no way out, she kills herself.

 

Review

This instalment is one of the highlights of this season - not to mention the horses. It's also all narrated in a very light tone, there are hundreds of allusions to Nat's work and life: horses (of course), the lame horse is called Artemis (we do know something about him, don't we). Havers is light-hearted and finally seems to come to terms with her trauma. She seems very much stronger - even dares to advise Lynley to "make a better line than this", should his mother ask him about his marriage. The dialogues become more lively (I roared about the Enid Blyton allusion) and Lynley is allowed to be the super-sleuth - a behaviour which leads right down to disaster. Wonderful episode, not to be missed!

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