IMDb > "A Taste for Death" (1988)

"A Taste for Death" (1988) More at IMDbPro »TV mini-series 1988-

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Release Date:
21 May 1992 (USA) See more »
Sir Paul Berowne (Bosco Hogan) - a prominent Government Minister - turns to his old friend Adam Dalgleish... See more »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
Henry James meets Agatha Christie: Masterpiece of Murder, Character, and the Enigma of Human Motivation See more (3 total) »


 (Series Cast Summary - 16 of 29)
Roy Marsden ... Commander Adam Dalgliesh (6 episodes, 1988)

Wendy Hiller ... Lady Ursula Berowne (6 episodes, 1988)
Fiona Fullerton ... Lady Barbara Berowne (6 episodes, 1988)

Penny Downie ... Inspector Kate Miskin (6 episodes, 1988)
Avril Elgar ... Emily Wharton (6 episodes, 1988)

Oliver Ford Davies ... Father Francis Barnes (6 episodes, 1988)

Simon Ward ... Stephen Lampart (5 episodes, 1988)
Tat Whalley ... Darren Wilkes (5 episodes, 1988)
Rob Spendlove ... Ivor Garrod (5 episodes, 1988)

Gabrielle Lloyd ... Evelyn Matlock, aka 'Mattie' (5 episodes, 1988)
Kate Buffery ... Sarah Berowne (4 episodes, 1988)

Matthew Marsh ... Dominic Swayne (4 episodes, 1988)
Derek Newark ... Gordon Halliwell (4 episodes, 1988)

Rebecca Saire ... Theresa Nolan (3 episodes, 1988)
Constance Chapman ... Gran (3 episodes, 1988)
Robin Marchal ... Insp. Nick Robins (3 episodes, 1988)

Series Directed by
John Davies (6 episodes, 1988)
Series Writing credits
P.D. James (6 episodes, 1988)
Alick Rowe (6 episodes, 1988)

Series Produced by
John Rosenberg .... producer (6 episodes, 1988)
Series Original Music by
Richard Harvey (6 episodes, 1988)
Series Cinematography by
Allan Forsyth (4 episodes, 1988)
Steve Kilroe (4 episodes, 1988)
Series Film Editing by
Kevin Waters (6 episodes, 1988)
Series Casting by
Pat Jarvis (2 episodes, 1988)
Series Production Design by
Spencer Chapman (2 episodes, 1988)
Series Costume Design by
Reg Samuel (2 episodes, 1988)
Series Makeup Department
Christine Penwarden .... makeup artist (2 episodes, 1988)
Series Production Management
Eddie Watts .... unit manager (2 episodes, 1988)
Series Art Department
Bill MacIlraith .... production buyer (2 episodes, 1988)
Series Sound Department
Richard Collins .... post-production sound (6 episodes, 1988)
Colin Lovewell .... sound (6 episodes, 1988)
Peter Watts .... sound (6 episodes, 1988)
Series Camera and Electrical Department
Chris Brown .... camera operator / lighting (2 episodes, 1988)
Philip S. Burne .... camera operator / lighting (2 episodes, 1988)
Allan Forsyth .... camera operator (2 episodes, 1988)
Bill Green .... vision controller: studio (2 episodes, 1988)
Peter Harvey .... vision controller: location (2 episodes, 1988)
Steve Kilroe .... camera operator (2 episodes, 1988)
Series Editorial Department
Philip Bunn .... technical supervisor: post-production (2 episodes, 1988)
Jill Shaw .... vision mixer (2 episodes, 1988)
Series Other crew
Michael Anderson .... floor manager (2 episodes, 1988)
Averil Brennan .... stage manager (2 episodes, 1988)
Christine Buck .... production assistant (2 episodes, 1988)
Alan Cordner .... technical supervisor: location (2 episodes, 1988)
Jim McCarthy .... technical supervisor: studio (2 episodes, 1988)
Christine Wilson .... production assistant (2 episodes, 1988)

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
50 min (6 episodes)
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Movie Connections:
Followed by "Devices and Desires" (1991)See more »


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15 out of 19 people found the following review useful.
Henry James meets Agatha Christie: Masterpiece of Murder, Character, and the Enigma of Human Motivation, 12 December 2009
Author: classicalsteve from Oakland, CA

If you're looking for a typical escapist murder mystery, a la Agatha Christie, the offerings of P.D. James will either disappoint or enthrall. For me, my reaction was the latter. P.D. James has upgraded the typical murder mystery into something that enters the realm of high literature, akin to what you might expect of Henry James, George Eliot, or F. Scott Fitzgerald if they had written genre fiction. Unlike Agatha Christie's novels where a bunch of stereotypical caricatures were often thrown together into a single setting in which one of them winds up dead for their troubles with the survivors all suspects, James weaves an intricate tale of complex characters engaging in complex relationships. The murder becomes one element in a large matrix of interconnected behavior and impetus that cannot be pigeon-holed into pop novel convention. (This is not meant to be an attack on Christie whose solutions were always quite amazing.) James, like her literary predecessors, is as interested in character and motivation as she is in the essential plot.

"A Taste for Death", one of James' best efforts, begins in typical murder mystery fashion. A member of parliament, Sir Paul Berowne, has been receiving blackmail letters regarding his past relationships. From there, things become more complicated. A young woman drowns in a recreational pond, apparently as a result of swimming while intoxicated. The lover of Paul Berowne's wife tries to save her, unsuccessfully. We further learn that the state of affairs of the Berowne family is influx, but this is not the Colbys or the Ewings. Some aspects may seem soap-operatic but the problems run much deeper. And Berowne had been attending a 19th-century Anglican church in Paddington, and he had decided to relinquish his parliamentary seat. He then makes an unusual request: to stay in the church one night, locked in.

The following day, a working-class boy and an older housekeeper discover, much to their horror, the dead bodies of Berowne and a vagrant inside the vestry of the church in Paddington. Their throats have been slashed so Inspector Adam Dalgliesh (Roy Marsden) who has taken up the case knows that this was a homicide. As he gradually unfolds the case, he not only meets the different people and circumstances surrounding the victims, particularly that of the Berowne, but we learn about a myriad of intricate relationships and circumstances. This is no ordinary case of simple robbery but most likely premeditated murder.

Paul Berowne's life before his death is gradually revealed through Dalgliesh's investigations, although they answer little about the exact how of his murder. He was a prominent member of a high class family which faces the most pressing crises of its existence. Wendy Hiller (who played the stand-offish Princess Dragomiroff in the film version of Agatha Christie's "Murder on the Orient Express") is Lady Ursula Berowne, the matriarch of the Berowne dynasty, although she is no caricature like you might find in "Dallas" or "Dynasty". Lady Berowne is a shrewd yet sensitive woman who wants to find the right combination of morality and familial success. She is strong but fair, but was uninterested in her late son's interest in the church. Her motives are not so easily unearthed. The story becomes as much about her as her son, the late baronet. The other members of the family, Lady Barbara Berowne, the victim's estranged wife, and her lover Stephen Lambert, are equally as enigmatic. Lady Berowne is pregnant with her late husband's son. Not until the end are their true intentions finally revealed.

An exceptional television film series written by an exceptional talent. This is no ordinary murder mystery. If you are looking for something different and tantalizing, you might give "A Taste for Death" a try. But do not expect the likes of Hercule Poirot or Jane Marple to be able to solve this case. They understood minute physical details but probably could not handle the intricacy of the human heart. Leave that to Adam Dalgliesh.

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