The infuriatingly amateur investigators somehow manage to wrap up the mystery of Partners in Crime’s second three-part story, though how they managed to make it out alive is once again beyond me.
Okay, so Veronica the housekeeper caught Tuppence in the act pretending to be catering staff at the ball, but apparently Tuppence has forgotten about her undercover role as a pretend writer so quickly that she couldn’t even shrug it off as being in the name of research. Honestly, Tuppence, I’d make a terrible undercover investigator, and even I would have at least done that.
Meanwhile, Tommy has found himself abducted by his kindly old birdwatching friend Commander Haydock, who it turns out isn’t kindly at all. It’s unfortunate that Tommy finds this out rather too late, having forgotten the cardinal rule of, you know, not trusting anybody. At least he’s found the missing scientist – albeit by accident – and at least said scientist is decidedly underwhelmed by Tommy’s lack of discernible MI5 skills.
We discover from the Commander that N is, it turns out, a woman. Of course it isn’t Karl Denim! Poor fellow certainly didn’t deserve being knocked out by a blunt object to the head, Tuppence. The fact that he was ostensibly secretly German made him far too obvious of a suspect – it would have been more of a surprise if he was the notorious N, simply by virtue of the fact that he was such a blatant red herring. Don’t Tommy and Tuppence ever read the sorts of stories they’ve found themselves characters in?
It’s hard not to be disappointed by the reveal of N’s motivations. So it’s Mrs. Sprott after all, but she’s not doing it out of political motivations, but because she’s in love with one of the political prisoners she wants released – the soppiest, most emotional reason to commit acts of terrorism of them all. I’m struggling not to be offended.
The rest of the adventure consists of a tense chase through a darkened seaside theatre, racing to diffuse the bomb. Tuppence kills Mrs. Sprott in self-defence, an act she seems oddly unfazed by, and Albert and Tommy manage to cut the right wire. All’s well with the world, and a healthy dose of nepotism lands the Beresfords an exciting new career in private investigation. Bully for them.
Call the Midwife star Jessica Raine plays Tuppence with just the right measure of energy and enthusiasm, and David Walliams does look a smidge Clark Gablish in a fake moustache, but as far as cosy detective adventures go, there are countless others I’d call on before visiting Mr. and Mrs. Beresford again. It’s been a very pretty mystery, but with a final reveal that left me shouting at my television in frustration.
Aired at 9pm on Sunday 30 August July 2015 on BBC One.
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