Drawing on her love of theatre and art, New Zealand novelist Ngaio Marsh created elegant crime-puzzlers full of quirky characters with hidden agendas, all brought meticulously to life in this BBC series.
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Cast

Complete series cast summary:
William Simons ...
 Inspector Fox (9 episodes, 1990-1994)
...
 Chief Inspector Alleyn (8 episodes, 1993-1994)
Belinda Lang ...
 Agatha Troy (6 episodes, 1990-1994)
...
 D.S. Bailey / ... (5 episodes, 1990-1994)
Sandy Welch ...
 D.C. Robinson / ... (3 episodes, 1993-1994)
Leslie Schofield ...
 Assistant Commissioner Connors (3 episodes, 1993-1994)
Mark Penfold ...
 Doctor Curtis / ... (2 episodes, 1993-1994)
...
 Police Doctor (2 episodes, 1990-1993)
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Storyline

Drawing on her love of theatre and art, New Zealand novelist Ngaio Marsh created elegant crime-puzzlers full of quirky characters with hidden agendas, all brought meticulously to life in this BBC series.

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Crime | Drama | Mystery

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Release Date:

23 December 1990 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Inspector Alleyn  »

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

How unfair!
26 March 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Having read the two previous comments, both of which read as though they had been written by two citizens of Superman's Bizarro World (where everything is exactly the opposite of how it is in real life), I felt I had to come to this fine series' defense. Taking the accusations one by one:

Ngaio Marsh was indeed a brilliant writer; her detective stories have in fact made a great TV series, and this is it. Patrick Malahide is a gifted actor, it's true, and he was perfectly cast as Roderick Alleyn, precisely because he makes of him so much more than "a stereotype toff." I agree that Marsh's Alleyn remains elusive as a personality throughout the series of novels; and Malahide, sensing this essential quality of Marsh's hero, allows a cloud of reticence to hover around his Alleyn to exquisitely ambiguous and subtle effect. Troy, played with equal finesse and discretion by Belinda Lang, is, in fact, portrayed as "an individualist with her own career as a painter" -- in fact, one episode (Final Curtain) features her prominently, on her own, noting many crucial clues while fulfilling a portrait commission! (Needless to say, she never says "You never have time for me!" or anything of the sort.) The adaptations are extremely clever and elegant, managing to retain much of the loveliness of Marsh's unparalleled drawing-room conversation while keeping within the time limits set by a 98- minute format. Period detail is not "ladled on," at all. On the contrary, the art direction, cinematography (a nearly subliminal sepia filter tints the series) and set decoration are, as we've come to expect of these British productions, impeccable and always convincing. The comparison of Marsh's stories -- and this production of them -- with those of P. D. James is useless: Marsh's readership and tone were entirely unlike those of James, and their books are apples and oranges. It's childish to rank one over the other. The pace is leisurely -- not "slow and badly done." The "interplay of characters" is extraordinarily full and complex throughout the series -- but it is subtle, discreet and low-key, all evidently the sort of virtues which threaten to put some critics and their wives to sleep.

In short, if you enjoy civilized old-school British mystery of the very best sort, you can't do much better than Malahide and Lang in The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries. I for one can't wait for the second DVD set.


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