Della meets up with an old friend, a child that she used to baby-sit and she and Perry are invited to meet the friend's new wife, Suzanne. Meanwhile, Suzanne rents out her house to four ... See full summary »
Della meets up with an old friend, a child that she used to baby-sit and she and Perry are invited to meet the friend's new wife, Suzanne. Meanwhile, Suzanne rents out her house to four gentlemen who are having a meeting about a plan that could get them all rich - little realising that Suzanne is taping the whole conversation. Suzanne holds out for more money from her "client" before giving up the tape and is found murdered and the tape gone. As Perry, Della and Paul start to help the friend (who discovered the body and hence the prime suspect.) they discover that Suzanne used to be a Madam of a "certain kind of house", that the four "meeting" takes great pains to cover up their business and that Suzanne's past may have caught up with her... Written by
Lee Horton <Leeh@tcp.co.uk>
Pretty standard fare with some nice touches but has dated badly
Della Street bumps into an old friend, Tony, who tells her of his happy recent marriage to Susanne. Next time they meet he is accused of her murder and the police have found papers in his car about Susanne's past that point to motive. As a favour (and for the money) Perry takes Tony's case and begins to investigate, uncovering shady business partners that Susanne had put in difficult positions. Meanwhile Paul Drake searches for a woman who was at Susanne's house during an important business meeting.
As this is an early one of the Mason TVM's it looks dated more than some of the ones made in the early nineties, however this is only really a visual problem usually and not so bad. In this film however, part of the plot has dated quite badly, with the surveillance equipment that holds the key to the killer's identity looking so basic it's almost funny - compare that to the technology you could buy now for the same sort of household use and it really pales. Despite this the plot still hangs together as well as in all the other films. Mason interviews the suspects one by one to give us red herrings galore until the courtroom scene while Drake chases a girl (who is involved in the murder somehow). It isn't anything new, but this film does have some nice comic touches (a sprinkle going off and an unintentional dig at Drake's hairstyle - which must have looked dated even then!).
The cast are reasonable but no more. Burr is comfortable enough in the role but is strangely immobile here; the script puts it down to an ankle injury but I'm sure that was added to cover his health problems. Hale has some nice moments with Burr but is really just a shadow in the story. Katt is OK but his storyline is just the same old same old and he looks like he's tired of it at times. The support cast has only famous cameo that will stand out
Rkys-Davies, he of LOTR and Indiana Jones fame (here in his first of two
Mason appearances). Stiers is usually a good DA but has no good scenes here, and the new black detective looks to have been cast solely due to his resemblance to the usual actor.
Overall this is par for the course and will keep fans such as myself happy. For others it is very basic, not exploring the `past' of the madam very far or in any detail for fear of censors and not having any real characters among all the red herrings. It is as good as the usual Mason films but even I have to accept that that isn't saying a great deal.
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