Sally Lockhart attempts to find the meaning behind her late father's last letter which contained the phrase "the seven blessings" -- a cryptic message that can strike a man dead with fear. Sally is helped by her friends, including Frederick Garland, a photographer, and Jim, a young assistant at the family's shipping firm. The ever twisting mystery involves assassins, opium dens, Chinese gangs, and the Ruby of Agrapur. The priceless ruby is also sought by the ruthless Mrs. Holland, who is willing to kill to get her hands on it. Written by
"Ruby in the Smoke" really has lots of potential. It certainly has set the stage for future episodes. It's a Victorian suspense story (with excellent settings and scenery)based upon the original novel. PBS does its usual good job of making this one available. Alas, it has some serious shortcomings, especially for American audiences. Understanding the fast-paced "English" dialect was quite difficult, thus taking away from not only the plot and story line, but adding some confusion as well. Perhaps it's just fine for our friends in England, but the fact that I could not understand all the dialog was a disappointment. In addition. the characters just didn't come across as fully developed; Sally oftentimes was the weepy whiny Victorian woman and at other times, leaping into the 20th century with some of her "liberations." Greater interaction between the "good" characters would enhance the story (and hold viewers' interest more). Mrs. Holland comes across truly as the wicked woman she is and is perhaps the most convincing of the entire cast. Still, there are possibilities here and I, for one, am hoping to see this story developed into a more convincing series.
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