Watching the series of the DOCTOR BLAKE MYSTERIES unfolds, one really gets the sense that the Victorian town of Ballarat is similar to Cavett Cove in MURDER SHE WROTE - there are so many murders in the town that one wonders why more significant steps haven't been taken to reduce the crime-rate. Such measures, of course, would put our eponymous hero (Craig McLachlan) out of business, but then verisimilitude isn't perhaps too high on the agenda while watching a series like this.
This episode revolves round the death of a mysterious foreigner who is found leaning against a tree. The subsequent plot involves his wife (Natasha Herbert), a librarian at the local Historical Society (Belinda McClory), and a surly foreman working in an orange-grove (Mick O'Malley). Unlike previous episodes, the resolution is perhaps not too clearly worked out - one still doesn't quite know how the victim met his bloody end.
What makes this series so eminently watchable is its desire for historical authenticity - in a country still not quite accustomed to immigrants, the white Australians believe that the best way to communicate with non-English speakers is to shout at them in loud and clear voices. The presence of such people in a tight-knit town community inevitably causes suspicion; their purpose in coming there must be suspicious, especially during the Cold War era. Dr. Blake remains blissfully free of such prejudices, enabling him to solve the case with his usual blend of clear-headedness and native cunning.
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