The title refers to the nine strokes of a church bell to announce the death of a man. In this adaptation of Dorothy L. Sayers's intricate, nostalgic, and atmospheric novel of the same name,... See full summary »
When one of the more venerable members of the Bellona Club passes away in the reading room, Lord Peter Wimsey is brought in to determine the time of death for testamentary purposes. But the more he investigates, the more complicated things seem. Written by
As many of us that were eternally grateful to Acorn Media for reissuing after too many decades the Lord Peter Wismey "Clouds of Witness," just so many and perhaps more can welcome back The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club with the incomparable Ian Carmichael whose idea it was to film the series in the first place and who almost did not get the part!
Like the other four in this series, this is a low budget, shot mostly in the studio, affair; but it is impeccably "period" in décor, dress, and even idiom. The plot involves at first not a "who done it?" but a "when was it done?" Since the vast inheritance depends on the timing of the deaths of an elderly brother and sister, the hour if not the very minute of the former's demise is the Big Question. Surprisingly, that mystery is revealed half way through the story; but by then we have a murderer to find and.well, I will not spoil things for you and urge you to see for yourself.
Carmichael's Wimsey is ever the aristocrat, here ready to quote W.S. Gilbert and W. Shakespeare (though not nearly as frequently as Rumpole will quote his favorite poets), even though he must apologize now and then for being over the heads of some of his less well-educated acquaintances. In this story the grinding poverty of one of the interested parties is shown in striking contrast to Wimsey's luxurious accommodations and ability to be very generous with his money (which after all was never earned by any workaday sweat of his brow).
As with all of this series, the minor characters are extremely well drawn, right down to a patron of a tea shop who becomes all flustered in meeting "a lord." While the two opposing lawyers might border on the Dickensian, they are both shown to be intelligent and honestly working for the good of their clients. And even the villain is basically a very Good Person in all other respects! But such is the universe created by Dorothy Sayers and it is treated with respect and intelligence in this fine series.
> Now we can only hope that Acorn Media will accelerate the releases of "Murder Must Advertise," "Five Red Herrings," and "The Nine Tailors."
Oh by the way, they are releasing at the same time some of the Poirots that have been butchered by A&E to make room for their insultingly frequent and overlong piggyback commercials. See the webpages for those. And by the way again, a comparison of Poirot and Wimsey would make a fascinating study.
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