When Harriet Smith and two other lady students from the Elfrida Teacher Training College go for a midnight dip in the river they do not expect to see a woman's corpse being dumped over the ... See full summary »

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(novel), (adaptation)
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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Alan Dobie ...
William Simons ...
Heather James ...
Harriet Shaw (as Heather Moray)
...
Constable Hardy
...
Percy Bustard
Brian Rawlinson ...
Jim Hackett
Mark Burns ...
John Fernandez
Jane How ...
Melanie Bonner-Hill
Ronald Russell ...
Fernandez Snr
Sheila Keith ...
Miss Plummer
Debbie Farrington ...
Molly
Victoria Burton ...
Jane
Myles Hoyle ...
Humberstone
Robert Fyfe ...
Lucifer (as Robert Fyffe)
...
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Storyline

When Harriet Smith and two other lady students from the Elfrida Teacher Training College go for a midnight dip in the river they do not expect to see a woman's corpse being dumped over the side of a boat. After Harriet has informed the authorities Cribb and Thackeray are sent,undercover, as boating tourists,which Thackeray,who keeps falling overboard,detests and they link up with local bobby Constable Hardy. There is no shortage of suspects - men in the area at the time - a trio of Londoners re-tracing the journey of the 'Three Men In A Boat',the successful new comic novel, an Oxford professor whose uncle is a local prison governor,and two convicts who have just escaped from his prison. And then another body is discovered... Written by don @ minifie-1

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Genres:

Crime | Drama | Mystery

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Release Date:

20 April 1980 (UK)  »

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Jerome's Three Men...and Jack?
1 October 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The first novel of Peter Lovesey that I read was SWING, SWING TOGETHER, but when I read it in the late 1970s, I had not yet read THREE MEN IN A BOAT. If I had, a clever literary trick he used in that "Sgt. Cribb" Mystery, but one that (unfortunately) could not be used in this version for television, would have been appreciated by me.

In the 19th Century, many times a novelist would begin each chapter of his or her novel with cryptic summation or summary words describing the events or main points of the coming chapter. This was done in THREE MEN IN A BOAT by Jerome K. Jerome, keeping the words at a neutral, but comic key (as they ironically mirrored the inane behavior of Jerome, Harris, and George (as well as the dog Montmorency) on their boating trip). Lovesey, as a kind of homage to Jerome, did the same thing at the start of his chapters. If only I had been aware earlier it would have added to my enjoyment of Lovesey's novel.

One has to keep in mind that the key to the plot for SWING, SWING TOGETHER is the date of publication and outside events...in the East End of London. Cribb and Thackeray are called into a case where a woman's body (badly mutilated) has been found in the Thames around Oxford. This is in the spring of 1889, shortly after the publication of the THREE MEN IN A BOAT (which the public is highly enthused about) and after the most horrendous of the murders of Jack the Ripper in London. Cribb is asked to look into the killing (Fred Abberline is mentioned in the novel, but that Detective is busy elsewhere, so he cannot take what should be his case - as he was in charge of the Ripper investigation).

The suspects involved include three Londoners, who were charmed by Jerome's novel, and decided to do a similar vacation tour down the Thames by boat. Cribb and Thackeray are working undercover, so they too are boating (which Thackeray is not too happy about - he keeps falling into the Thames).

Eventually they find that while the three Londoners are certainly suspicious, there is one other person who is equally suspicious. An Oxford professor (who, it turns out, Abberline questioned on suspicion during the Whitechapel Investigations) may have been one of the last men seen with the dead woman. Soon another dead woman turns up, and the pressure is on Cribb to find out what is going on. Is our professor simply an attractive lady's man, or is he actually Jack? To add to the confusion, the professor is the nephew of a well-known prison governor at a nearby prison, and Cribb spots two former convicts he remembers who are now at large and in the area. So instead of decreasing the number of suspects, they are growing (like the nightmare that was the Whitechapel Murders).

SWING, SWING TOGETHER takes it's name from a boating song (about oarsman moving together in proper rhythm). It is a "pun" title, as it also suggests several homicide perpetrators "swinging" together as they are being hanged on the same gallows. The novel had a wonderful conclusion - hinted at in this version, but not followed. At sixty minutes to an episode the conclusion had to be hastened. But for most of the hour the episode was both amusing and even thrilling.


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