1/8: The Face of Death

Mrs McCarthy has redoubtable facial expressions. Lady Felicia knocks it back.

My thought train during the opening scene: Hooray! Lady Felicia is back! Oh no! It’s not her after all. It’s another posh woman. Pffft. Dependably cut frock, though.

Lady Margaret (the density of the rich in this place is similar to the density of nuns) is having a nightmare about running someone over. It turns out she did. He’s died in hospital, and now his son is out for revenge – having conveniently inherited a sabre.

Though her weak-kneed professor husband (see: marriages in the village) is keen to hunker down into a police cordon and an aura of fear, Lady Margaret sallies forth to her charity soiree. Can’t keep a coiffed and powdered woman down.

Now I do get to have an actual hooray, because Lady Felicia is duly in attendance at the soiree, and taking fine advantage of the wine. Mrs McCarthy looks upon proceedings with a panoply of terse expressions and what seems to be a fancy lettuce affixed to her head.

Proceedings are certainly of an ilk to ruffle Mrs McCarthy. First, there’s Phryne Fisher – who turns out to be Lady Margaret’s daughter Lucia instead. She’s a sleek wee thing with a fancy for one of the waiters. Then there’s Patrick, the rakish photographer, whose affair with Lady Margaret doesn’t stop him from leering at Lucia.

It’s Patrick who promptly turns into The Body, found run through in the grounds. But, since he and the professor were wearing identical carnival masks, perhaps it’s a case of mistaken identity.

It swiftly becomes apparent that there is indeed an avenger on the trail, and Lady Margaret herself does not last long – even with Sid the Spiv standing guard.

Though it seems a clear-cut case of an eye for an eye (or a sabre for a car), Lucia does behave rather guiltily and the professor is somewhat over-fond of Nietzsche. Secrets are sniffed out thanks to Father Brown’s this-episode sidekick, Mr Gillespie. Who is a dog (and would team well with Sister Boniface).

In a final showdown, Father Brown is not beheaded with a sabre. He’ll live to snoop another day.

Things learnt this episode:

  • Holding a wineglass in each hand makes it difficult to applaud.
  • A flapper bob is a timeless hairdo.
  • Then again, a lettuce hat adds yards to a stern stare.
  • When planning your next murder, why not try a menacing crow mask?
  • There really is a mixed bag of scriptwriters on this series.