1/2: The Flying Stars
Episode two departs from episode one‘s opening adulterous bedroom. Instead, we get the pastoral vision of Father Brown and Mrs McCarthy (a proper Irish Catholic, so she is) rambling, puffed, across a field.
We’re soon seeing into the underside of The Village, however. Because the rather posh family Mrs McCarthy calls ‘model’ are … well, not so much. Entrée Mrs Adams, three sheets to the wind on the vodka she keeps in her dressing table, with Colonel Adams threatening to divorce her. Till death do us part, quoth she. Meanwhile, their daughter is insisting on marrying her tutor … over Mrs Adams’ dead body, etc.
And so, before you can say “Never foreshadow your own death in a TV murder mystery!”, Mrs Adams is floating in an ornamental boat lake.
Colonel Adams in the lake with an oar! Except Father Brown isn’t satisfied that the case has been stitched up.
There’s a diverting side mystery as to why Susie (she be foreign from episode one) has transformed into the Adams’ maid when last week she was mopping up in the rectory, but, continuity be saved! Father Brown helpfully announces that she has two jobs. We don’t, however, directly learn why the Adamses weren’t being part of the communal fabric at last episode’s tea party (because they’re expendable and only present so that one of them can diiiiiie).
While Father Brown pootles round in his cassock, hat and bemusing facial expressions, the lead in this episode is Lady Felicia. And not just because of her fabulous frocks. Nor because she dunnit – she’s a recurring cast member so according to the classic crime rules she can’t be guilty. She is, however, rather keen on a spot of gentleman collecting. It could all go horribly wrong.
Catching Felicia’s refined eye is Mrs Adams’ prodigal brother, who just happens to sweep in from Nairobi in time for the funeral. And the will reading.
It all reaches a denouement when the family stage a play (it’s what she would have wanted, apparently). Felicia and the prodigal get up to no good backstage, Miss Adams plans a mid-act elopement, and Colonel Adams checks the safe. Next thing there’s bad drag, gunshots, and Father Brown on his knees in a train.
Things learnt this episode:
- Priests don’t mind if you’re sleeping your way through the village (as long as you can afford a nice collection of hats)
- Foreign coins in the collection are a curse
- No-one has an eye for knock-off jewellery like the local spiv
- Leaving your estate to the church makes you look ever so devout (and is a cunning ploy for the chronically in debt)
- Never foreshadow your own death in a TV murder mystery