A recently married Habsburg countess hires dashing private detective Dagobert Trostler to find out who has been sending her obscene letters. The writer clearly knows her most intimate ... See full summary »



(short story), (dramatisation)

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Episode cast overview:
Dagobert Trostler
Countess Nadja
Carolyn Jones ...
Countess Tildi Leys
Archduke Othmar
Francis De Wolff ...
Walter Frankenburg
Harold Kasket ...
Dr. Heinrich Weinlich
Bill Horsley ...
Herr Wiegand
Dennis Thorne ...
Berthold (as Denis Thorne)
Brian Protheroe ...
Alan Cullen ...
British Ambassador
Geoffrey Colville ...
Michael Mulcaster ...
Count Czernik


A recently married Habsburg countess hires dashing private detective Dagobert Trostler to find out who has been sending her obscene letters. The writer clearly knows her most intimate secrets, as well as those of a friend who is likewise receiving compromising letters. Written by Anonymous

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Crime | Drama | Mystery



Release Date:

19 March 1973 (UK)  »

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Good, but does not hold to the original (possible spoiler)
13 September 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I give this an overall "8" due to its high production values. However it must be noted that this adaptation does not follow the original story very well. Most of the adaptations do vary somewhat from the Victorian or Edwardian era original but try to stay faithful to the overall line. This one deviates considerably; showing the detective as quite a "ladies man"- whereas there was no mention of this whatsoever in the original story; due perhaps to the morality of the late Victorian age. Of note here is female nudity being displayed; something that would place this TV show in the "R" category if it were a movie. I presume this was actually broadcast open air in England in 1973- which makes it one of the earliest TV broadcasts showing female nudity. That is a salacious sideline but actually does fit in with the revised plot.

Suffice to say a lady who is married into Austrian royalty has been receiving some very disturbing anonymous letters. This upsets her greatly. In the original story her husband also receives anonymous letters but does not even pay attention to them (as he has received so many in the past). In the original story a private detective with experience in such matters is hired by the husband; only for the wife's sake. In this adaptation the husband DOES pay attention to the anonymous letters he receives and they do disturb him greatly. There are other plot differences as mentioned previously. Does NOT make it less interesting but certainly is different.

One other item of note is the overall behavior or "personage" of the acting staff. I do not claim to know, in detail, how Austrians of 1900 were-their behavior and mannerisms but I do know they did not quite act or behave as these actors portray them. That is because the actors were English and trying to portray people of a different culture and time. They give it their best; for the purposes of this presentation (open air broadcast in England in 1973) their performances are satisfactory. Still, the depiction of Trostler is something of a letdown to one who has read these stories.

This is NOT unusual; the original film adaptation (1966) of Dr. Zhivago did not portray Russians of the Revolutionary time (or probably of any other time for that matter) very accurately- probably because there was not a single Russian in any speaking role! Example is Omar Shariff who portrayed the eponymous Russian, yet Shariff is Egyptian! The performances were nevertheless adequate for the purpose of the film- adapting a Russian novel for Western audiences. Same idea and purpose for this adaptation of a turn of the 20th century Austrian "Rival of Sherlock Holmes" for British audiences.

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