1/9: The Mayor and the Magician

They did not go meekly to their fete.

Oh, it’s the mayor. He’s rehearsing his speech. He’s a pillock; horrid to his wife and daughter, and a bit dim, too. As it happens, he’s also having an affair with his secretary.

To the village fete go the whole happy lot: mayor, wife, daughter (dressed as a pirate), secretary. If there was a soundtrack, it would be by Tom Lehrer.

Being a bit dim, the mayor has his wife write his speeches. Except that this time, as he fumbles in his pocket at the podium, he finds she’s replaced the text with a single line: ‘Goodbye William’. And then the microphone electrocutes him. He’s deaded.

No-one is particularly grieved by the loss, least of all Mrs Mayor – who is promptly placed in handcuffs by Inspector Trenchcoat. Mind, if anything’s a reliable indicator of innocence in this series, it’s getting arrested.

Meanwhile, Mrs McCarthy’s a-ruffled – and not in her usual teeth-sucking, stern-staring manner. There’s even weeping. Lady Felicia is on the case.

Anyway, it turns out that Mr McCarthy didn’t die on the Somme. But he’s dying now and hoping for a bit o’ nursing from the wife he abandoned. As you do. Will Mrs McCarthy go it independent woman (throw your hands up at me, Lady Felicia) or give in to good wifeliness?

While that emotional drama is unfolding, Father Brown is unravelling cords (literally), taking confession from a pirate and rummaging through handbags. There aren’t a lot of suspects, and the ending is no great surprise (though it comes with another Father Brown cheats death moment).

Things learnt this episode:

  • It’s wise to turn on a little bit of sadness should your husband suddenly die.
  • Mrs McCarthy has a backstory.
  • Never marry a man who pulls a rabbit out of a hat.
  • Never marry a man who doesn’t know the difference between Beveridge and a beverage.
  • Actually, just never marry in Kembleford. No-one is happy here.