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A mathematician and author, Luke Williams, is travelling up to London on a train when he meets a old lady, Lavinia Fullerton, who is also going to London, to Scotland Yard. Lavinia tells Luke that in her small village several people have died. The local police are certain that it was all accidental and are taking no action but Lavinia isn't convinced. In London Luke watches, horrified, as Lavinia is run over in a hit and run and he becomes convinced that she was telling the truth. He travels down to the village and with the aid of a local girl, who is also convinced that the deaths were murder, sets out to solve the mystery... Written by
Lee Horton <Leeh@tcp.co.uk>
As Long As No One Suspects You........................Murder Is Easy
Agatha Christie's 1939 story has been updated to the Eighties and it's hero/protagonist made an American allowing for the casting of Bill Bixby as Luke Williams, mathematical genius and computer programmer. He takes a fateful ride on a British commuter train and meets up with Helen Hayes who has an important errand to run.
Helen's a talkative old biddy who is worried that there have been a number of strange deaths in her small village recently and she fears that village constable Freddie Jones isn't quite up to a homicide investigation. She's confides in Bixby and then gets run down by a hit and run driver as she leaves the train.
Bixby's mathematical mind can't take in the random probabilities of all this coincidence and it intrigues him. He goes back to Hayes's village and turns detective, annoying village constable Jones, but finding romance with Lesley Anne Down and a host of suspects and a couple more deaths before the mystery is solved.
Among other inhabitants at the village is the local librarian Olivia DeHavilland and Timothy West who owns several newspapers. It's a pity that the story called for Helen Hayes to be killed off immediately so there could be no scenes with DeHavilland and Hayes.
As this story was written in 1939 I suspect that Agatha Christie had Lord Beaverbrook in mind for Timothy West's character. Audiences in 1982, especially American ones couldn't possibly appreciate the satire that Christie was employing with West as the tyrannical ego-maniacal newspaper publisher. Still I suspect citizens of the United Kingdom of the older generations knew quite well who West's character was modeled on.
I don't think the updating especially hurt the story however. The cast does very well by their roles and it's an intriguing film and idea that Helen Hayes voices.
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