Monday, 13 May 2013

Review - The Suspicions of Mr Whicher II - A murder in Angel Lane

Hey Guys;

I hope that many of you will have had an opportunity to watch last night's ITV drama - the second in the 'Mr Whicher' crime stories, originating from author Kate Summerscale.

I love these dramas, especially as it gives me a chance to spy on how this period is visualised and the period re-created...to compare and contrast with my own novels 'The Borough Boys' series.

The second story was set after poor old Mr Whicher's demise from the Metropolitan Police, at a point in the 1860's where he was available as a private investigator. Strangely, one of my characters, Francis 'Tanky' Smith, who was a real Policeman in Leicester, did exactly the same in 1863/4...and he is put forward as a possible role model for Sherlock Holmes!

Mr Whicher (Played by the wonderfully dry and rugged Paddy Considine) comes to the assistance of Susan Spencer (Olivia Colman...congratulations on last night's awards!...how spooky was that!). A case of a missing young woman and baby, soon turns into a tale of murder, villainy, deceit, betrayal, and conspiracy.

A clever plot, putting Whicher in conflict with Commissioner Mayne's Metropolitan Police, who still see him as a mentally ill 'basket case', when in reality he has more compassion and investigative nonce than any of his counterparts.

Casting Considine in this role was an act of genius. He just looks perfect for how the early detectives, that were effective, would have had to be. 

The only colleague of Whicher who retains allegiance, is ultimately exposed as his personal 'Judas' and leads Whicher into an unexpected and clever trap, at a local Lunatic Asylum, the Chief Physician of which is in cahoots with the conspirators and murderers.

Lovely, dark, grubby, melancholy, the set and locations used were exceptionally portrayed. The tension and attitude in the pub scenes was first class. The 'death house' was accurate and showed just how life treated you, right until the very end...

If BBC could get more of this atmosphere into Ripper Street series two, I would be a happy bunny!

Please can we have more!

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