Holmes is called to a manor house to investigate the brutal murder of a country lord with a fireplace poker and reconcile the story of his bruised and battered wife with the facts.



(by) (as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), (developed for television by) | 1 more credit »




Episode complete credited cast:
Paul Williamson ...
Conrad Phillips ...
Lady Mary Brackenstall (as Anne Louise Lambert)
Zulema Dene ...
Oliver Tobias ...
Mr Viviani


Inspector Hopkins invites Holmes to assist him in solving the brutal murder of Lord Brackenstall with a fireplace poker at his country estate. According to his bruised and battered wife, her husband was a secret alcoholic who kept his drinking discreetly hidden. On the night in question, she alleges that her house was invaded by a locally notorious thief and his two larcenous sons, who bound her, stole the family silver, bludgeoned her husband to death, and calmly helped themselves to some port wine. Lady Brackenstall denies that the obvious bruising on her face and hands are connected to the murder. When something about the three wine glasses used by the perpetrators bothers Holmes, his mind begins to move in a new direction. Written by duke1029

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

16 July 1986 (UK)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


When Watson exonerates the sea captain near the end, Holmes exclaims "vox populi, vox dei." This translates from the Latin as "The voice of the people is the voice of God." See more »


After about 25 minutes, when Holmes climbs up the mantelpiece to investigate the cord with which one could ring for a servant, one can see clearly a low voltage cable running on top of the mantelpiece. This cable has a modern day synthetic insulation, and is attached with plastic clips. See more »


[first lines]
Inspector Hopkins: Far now?
See more »


Version of Sherlock Holmes: The Abbey Grange (1965) See more »

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User Reviews

Battered Victorian Trophy Wife
9 January 2010 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Although the accent of course is on our protagonist Sherlock Holmes ferreting out a solution to a murder, in this particular story Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was years ahead of his time in using as a subject a battered wife of the Victorian Era. Options for battered women were quite a bit more limited than they are today.

For reasons he's not quite clear himself about, Scotland Yard's Inspector Hopkins (Paul Williamson) calls in Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke (Holmes and Watson) in on what looks like a break-in robbery of a Victorian mansion gone wrong right into a homicide. Perhaps because the victim was a titled individual and a rich one, Scotland Yard wanted to be sure.

Of course Holmes deduces it was not a break-in gone bad which left the man murdered and his much younger wife tied up. Rather quickly Brett says that Anne-Louise Lambert was the victim of long time abuse. And he also figures out that a sailor is somehow involved in this affair.

What to do about it, well all I can say is that Agatha Christie might have taken a bit from Conan Doyle when she wrote Murder On The Orient Express with her solution for Hercule Poirot when he found the murder.

As Arthur Conan Doyle was an observer of Victorian society, I believe that his victim/villain Lord Eustace Brackenstall may very well have been modeled on the Marquis of Queensbury who later made life miserable for Oscar Wilde. Queensbury had the same kind of temperament that Brackenstall displays and he certainly abused his family. Conrad Phillips plays Brackenstall with relish.

Good Holmes story and dramatization of same.

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