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Commander Dalgleish of Scotland Yard investigates the apparent murder of a well-known author who is found floating in a dinghy with his hands chopped off. The man, Maurice Seton, had recently been ejected from a private club when he was caught photographing some of its members at the gambling tables. The club had been under suspicion of laundering large amounts of cash and had been the object of a police investigation for some time. The case becomes more complex when the autopsy reveals that Seton died of natural causes and that his hands had been removed post-mortem. As the investigation continues, there appear to be no end to the number of people who would like to have seen Seton dead, including his brother Digby, who stands to inherit, and literary critic Oliver Latham who was perpetually in debt. In his personal life, Dalgleish's relationship with Deborah Riscoe comes to a crossroads when the investigation interferes with their private life. Written by
Once again, like "A Mind to Murder", the writers chose to bypass PD James and make up their own version of the story. In the book, a famous mystery writer is found dead in the bottom of a dinghy on the Suffolk coast with both of his hands chopped off. Adam is on holiday there visiting his Aunt Jane and having to make a decision about his relationship with Deborah Riscoe. He gets involved simply as a spectator because his aunt is one of the suspects. He and the investigating officer , aptly called Inspector Reckless, don't like each other right off and even with the same clues, AD is able to figure out the murder method and the Inspector is not. His only reference to Deborah Riscoe in the book is a letter (and poem) he writes her but never mails and then he receives one from her. The movie version has totally done away with the Aunt, brought Deborah to the country and visiting Adam while he is on the case, getting attacked by the murder suspect and finally coming to her decision about the two of them with her boss. It has lost all the momentum of the novel but did retain the storm scene where Adam is almost killed/drowned..
Now, I am not suggesting you shouldn't watch this story, on the contrary, Roy Marsden is , as always, a class act as Dalgliesh. Just don't expect the same level of suspense as the book. Do the screenwriters ever read the book first or do they make up stuff as they go along?
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