The Elgin Hour (1954–1955)
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Sting of Death 

A man with a taste for fresh honey discovers that the bees making it in the rural area of England where he lives have turned deadly.



(novel) (as H.F. Heard), (adaptation)


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Episode cast overview:
Mr. Mycroft
Robert Flemyng ...
Mr. Silchester
Martyn Green ...
Mr. Hargrove


Silchester is academic on summer vacation in a cottage in rural England with a taste for honey for breakfast and tea. He finds it increasingly difficult to obtain it as beekeepers in the area are going out of business with the exception of Mr. Hargrove, a sinister local apiarist. His neighbor, Mr. Mycroft, a retired public official, tries to warn Silchester that Hargrove has bred his bees to become deadly. Among the victims of these killer bees are other colonies in the neighborhood, Mycroft's dog, and Hargrove's own wife. When an attempt is made on his own life, the doubting Silchester joins forces with Mycroft to turn the tables on him. Written by

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Release Date:

22 February 1955 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This adaptation by Alvin Sapinsley of the novel "A Taste for Honey" won a 1956 Edgar Award as best Episode of a Television Series. See more »


Mr. Silchester: [Nervously] But you wish me to go there?
Mr. Mycroft: My dear Mr. Silchester, the safest place for a prospective victim is on the threshold of his would-be murderer.
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(1928) (uncredited)
Words by L. Wolfe Gilbert
Music by Mabel Wayne
Sung (repeatedly) by Hermione Gingold
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User Reviews

Bee there!
15 May 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

As a fan since childhood of both Boris Karloff and of Sherlock Holmes, I was delighted to run across this live teleplay, in which the skilled actor takes the role of a "Mr. Mycroft" who it is strongly suggested is a retired Holmes. It's based on H. F. Heard's novel "A Taste for Honey," which I read and loved beforehand, and is quite an excellent adaptation for television.

Alvin Sapinsley absorbs and reproduces the dryly humorous and playful yet eerie tone of the novel and reproduces it it well. There are some changes to the details of incident and sequence all of which assist in the transition to the live television medium, which much resembled a transmitted stageplay. As such emphasis is drawn to character and dialogue, both of which are pulled over very well with a creative but subtle reimagining of the first person prose of the book into scenes. Most accented are the idiosyncrasies of the tetchy, punctilious Sydney Silchester with Mycroft and with his maid Alice, all of which are pulled off with excellent interest and humor.

With a cast of only four a lot rests on the actors and they more than carry it off. Karloff is satisfyingly the highlight. He captures wonderfully the insouciant and overbearing yet captivating quality that Mr. Mycroft is presented with, while projecting the intellect of a Holmes; he could easily be the detective. His real triumph is in putting across in just a few short scenes at the end Mycroft's troubling over the moral dilemma of how he had to deal with his criminal.

Robert Flemyng is more of a neat-freak, English-professor type that I imagined for Silchester, but not in a bad way; his characterization is believable, funny, and meshes well with the rest of the production. And of course Hermione Gingold is spot-on and hilarious as the always-singing, loquacious busybody maid Alice.

This is a great showcase for Boris Karloff (who must have like "A Taste for Honey" well enough not just to star in its TV adaptation but also to provide a blurb for the cover!), but a strong and fully entertaining adaptation of the source (though I wish it had more running time to play with and did not have to rush so much) and a great example of effective live 1950s TV drama.

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