Stolen Lover Leads to Murder: Death on the Nile (2004)

Agatha Christie is one of my favorite authors. She revolutionized the way mysteries are written, and created a wonderful collection of characters. Not only are her plots amazing, but I like how she presents all the information to you that she gives her detective characters, putting the two of you on equal footing. I strongly recommend reading any of her novels. When you start one, you just can’t stop.

Death on the Nile isn’t my favorite of her works, as all the people in this are horrible. But, I do really love this episode from ITV’s Poirot. I think David Suchet is a perfect Poirot, as he looks just the way I always imagined Poirot to look like. And because it stars this guy:

I’m all about that JJ!

Yep, it has the incredible, handsome, and extremely talented JJ Feild. This is the first time I actually saw more dimension into the character. And as they sometimes change plot points in these tv episodes there was the possibility things could go different. With his performance I believed anything is possible.

Hmm…

The story Death on the Nile begins with Linnet Ridgeway (Emily Blunt), an extremely wealthy woman, who is approached by her much poorer best friend Jacqueline “Jackie” de Bellefort (Emma Griffiths Malin). Jackie wants to marry her boyfriend, Simon Doyle (JJ Feild), but his job doesn’t provide enough for them. So Jackie reached out to Linnet to hire Simon so they can be together.

Only problem is, Linnet falls for Simon Doyle and they get married.

For their honeymoon, Linnet and Simon decide to go on a trip through the Nile, and of course run into Hercule Poirot (David Suchet), he never gets a vacation. He sees the former best friend, Jacqueline, threaten them, and they ask Poirot for help. He declines helping them (as they did wrong), but warns Jacqueline to stop or else she will open herself to evil. She refuses and follows the Doyles on their boat trip to the Nile, joined by 11 other interesting characters.

Linnet is murdered (of course), and everything points to the two characters, Jackie and Simon, who clearly could not have done it. Who could the murderer be? With these 11 interesting characters there are multiple suspects (and of course several of them have serious hatred toward Linnet). Poirot is on the case.

Yep, this is the only adaption I have ever seen that I really enjoy. And all because they perfectly casted Poirot and JJ Feild did such a phenomenal job as Doyle.

For more Agatha Christie, go to This Village is Full of Strange People: Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, Endless Night (2013)

For more Hercule Poirot, go to I Won the Cederberg Tea Giveaway + Book Club Picks: The Insanity of God

For more JJ Feild, go to I Was Asked to Be a Guest on the Podcast P.S. I Love Rom Coms + My Review of their Bridget Jones’ Diary Episode

For more Emily Blunt, go to Jane Austen Book Club (2007)

For more detectives, go to A Man Dressed as a Giant Bat, Psychotic Deformed Man Wrecking Havoc, and a Zombie Cat Woman…A Batman Christmas: Batman Returns (1992)

Murder in High C: Murder She Wrote (1995)

So you know what that means: Horror TV episodes Tuesday

I know this is a little odd, TV episodes on a Tuesday instead of Friday as I’ve been doing for the past few years?

Well this year October 1st started on a Friday and it just doesn’t seem right for Horrorfest to start with a review of a TV episode. 

So instead we will be reviewing TV episodes on Tuesdays, TV Tuesdays.

And our next TV episode comes from Murder She Wrote.

I love Murder She Wrote, as I grew up watching the reruns on TV Land and Hallmark. The story was of widowed, retired school teacher, Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) who becomes an author-published under the name J.B. Fletcher.

As she goes about life she gets pulled into all these different murder mysteries, using her intellect and observational skills to solve the crimes.

Today’s pick is one of my favorites from Murder She Wrote, because of all the possibilities.

This episode takes place in season 11. Jessica Fletcher has become an international bestseller and has made friends with people of various backgrounds from all around the globe. In this episode Jessica is in Italy, excited for her friend Andrea Beaumont’s big premiere as prima soprano. Over a year ago, Andrea was stalked by a crazed fan and has been in therapy. She is finally returned to singing, but as Andrea heads to the theater we see the fog and hear a creepy voice threaten to kill her.

Aahhh!!!

Andrea ends up fainting and is sent back to her hotel, this being the first of many incidents. Andrea continues to get calls as someone is harrassing her? But who could it be?

Mystery, you say?

This episode has a plethora of suspects:

Andrea’s former stalker was sentenced to prison last year, but when the police start investigating they discover that he was released early. He has been keeping with his probation appointments, but a week ago he seemed to have disappeared. Has he come back and followed her to Italy to finish the job?

Hmm…

Drew Granger (Bruce Abbott) is the conductor of the opera production and he is in an extremely bad mood. He and Andrea had a thing, but she left him when she met Jonas Cole, marrying Cole instead. Drew is dating Vicki Lawson, PR manager, but he doesn’t seem to be over Andrea, as he and Cole are constantly going toe to toe over her. Could he have been repeating the stalking as he is intimate of the details and wants her to pay for leaving him? Does he think by making things stressful she would want to date him again, this incident bringing them closer together? Or maybe it isn’t romantic at all? Granger was asked to conduct in New York, a much bigger deal than this Genoa show-but he’s locked in his contract. If Andrea cannot continue and the production chooses to cancel instead of continue he will be free to leave. Could it be him?

Stella Knight is the former prima soprana, but is seen as being “too” old, having to move over for the younger Andrea. She is furious and demands her husband do something and does all she can to make things hard on Andrea. The stalking was widely publicized, could she be recreating it so Andrea quits and Stella can take back her role?

Jonas Cole is Andrea’s stock broker husband. He is caring and loves her, but he always seems to be gone or off doing something when she needs him most. And as they always say-the husband is the first to be looked at. He could be trying to kill her and wanting someone else to “take the fall”, maybe for money or to get rid of her so he can remarry. Maybe he doesn’t want Andrea dead, but is trying to “kill” her career hoping to “scare” her into permanent retirement?

Hmmm…

Rudolfo Petrocelli is the company director and is worried about money and the performance. He can’t understnd it, but they seem to be barely making it. If Andrea quits the performance she will have to pay for dissolving the contract. If that happens the company would actually make more money than what they would make with ticket sales. Could he be behind this scaring?

Hmm…

Vicki Lawson is the PR manager of the tour and this event. She’s good friends with Andrea…or is she? She is dating Drew Granger and mad that he seems to be focused on Andrea than her. Not only does Drew end up dumping her when Andrea joins, but when she tries to make Drew see he needs her expertise, he gives her the kissoff. Could it be that she became so jealous that she is striking out at Andrea? Maybe she thinks if she gets rid of her she can have Drew back?

The poilice promise their protection and tap the phones to try and pinpoint where the stalker is calling from. But even with their best efforts the stalker still comes backstage and tries to attack Andrea.

So Whodunnit? One of the suspects figures it out and tries to to blackmail the stalker, winding up dead instead, (as the murder in Murder She Wrote). Which one could it be?Which one? You need to watch this to find out.

While some episodes are a little more obvious as to who the killer is, I really like that this one gave us so many possibilities. It is a fantastic episode, with plenty of remediate and turns. But don’t worry, Jessica always figures them out.

For more Murder She Wrote, go to The Witch’s Curse: Murder She Wrote (1992)

For more mysteries, go to A Teenager Tries to Be Nancy Drew, With Disastrous Results: True Crime (1996)

For more Angela Lansbury, go to Because I Am Mad, I Hate You. Because I Am Mad, I Have Betrayed You: Gaslight (1944)

For more with stalkers, go to Superhero Film or Stalker Thriller: Unbreakable (2000)

A Teenager Tries to Be Nancy Drew, With Disastrous Results: True Crime (1996)

So when I read this description online I was excited!

It totally gave me Northanger Abbey vibes as the main character is really into True Crime magazines and decides to take her armchair sleuthing to the next level and investigate the disappearance of a school friend’s sister.

I was like yes this will be a great film to watch, it will totally be a new addition to my Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans! It even has Alicia Silverstone in it, so it contains a #janeaustenbingo

But as I’m sure you all know where this is headed, I watched it and it was not good at all. My sister is more fair in rating it as she thought it was okay, but I thought it was horrible and I would most definitely never watch it again.

Mary Giordano (Alicia Silverstone) is a good Catholic girl. She lost her police officer father when he was killed in the line of duty a few years ago. Since then, her interest in crime has grown and she is obsessed with mystery books and above all the True Crime magazine.

She has been following a case of a killer targeting high school girls and when one of her classmate’s sisters is the next victim, she decides to up her involvement to investigating.

Time to get on the case!

Mary notices a creepy guy (Kevin Dillion) asking girls if they have a boyfriend and he ends up following her home and to the nearby supermarket. I was like she should let her godfather, Detective Guinn, her dad’s old partner know, but she doesn’t believe in going to the police as she can handle it all. It turns out to be a police cadet, Tony Campbell, but I’m like really?

He’s a liar!

Everything he says to her sounds like a lie. There is no way that the police force would allow a police cadet to investigate on his own, “going undercover” to pick up high school girls in order to “discover” a killer. I was like it’s him, he is the killer as he is such a creep.

It turns out he is a police cadet and investigating against orders. He teams up with Mary and as the two grow closer, he even admits he is a fraud, oops I mean afraid of heights (what is this Vertigo?). But then things get creepy again. He forces Mary to sleep with him, raping her as she wanted to leave as she unsure about being with him and he makes her continue after she changes her mind.

This cadet!

That double confirmed it for me. Campbell is a total creep and I hope he gets shot at the end by her godfather.

Unfortunately, poor Mary doesn’t tell anybody and continues to work with Tony, even though he forced her to do something she didn’t want. They continue investigating but Tony is a total creep and is like two people at times. I find it really hard he was ever able to pass a psych evaluation as from the moment we met him has had a hard time trying to pass himself off as a regular person.

You are crazy

Tony believes this one carnival worker is the killer and the two follow him and do a stakeout. They think they have caught the killer, but it turns out he is just a regular guy who likes to sleep with his girlfriend in a pipe room. I don’t know why she was into it, all I could think was it looked super unsanitary.

Eventually, her Detective Guinn (who doesn’t like the boyfriend Tony) looks into him and it turns out that Tony isn’t Tony. He stole another cadet’s identity and is, you guessed it, the serial killer all along. Yeah, I knew from the moment he was asking out high school girls at the pool.

Detective Guinn tried to take him down, but gets shot and killed by him.

Eventually it is up to Mary to save the day as Tony chases her though the carnival. Mary goes on the Ferris wheel, thinking Tony is too scared of heights that he won’t follow-but it turns out that Tony didn’t just lie about his name-he lied about everything! He climbs up there and fights with her, eventually falling to his death.

They end the film with Mary graduating high school, going the police academy, and trying to have it be like she is this amazing detective when she was actually really horrible. I’m not sure if that is the career for when she missed such huge signs. It was a horrible film and I definitely do not recommend

For more mysteries, go to A Legendary Jewel Goes Missing, A Country Manor Full Of Secretive People, Which Guest is the Thief?: The Moonstone (2016)

A Legendary Jewel Goes Missing, A Country Manor Full Of Secretive People, Which Guest is the Thief?: The Moonstone (2016)

Moonstone

So I LOVE Wilkie Collins. I feel in love with his work when I read The Woman in White, the title hooking me and the rest of the novel not disappointing me at all. That book has stuck with me, and when I first read it I devoured it!

Last year my sister and I started Period Drama Saturdays where we watch a period drama and have tea together. We had just fininshwd her pick of Victoria and it was my turn. I really wanted to watch The Woman in White, but Amazon had taken it down. While it didn’t have that Collins’ adaption it did offer The Moonstone. 

I hadn’t read this book yet, but as it is considered by many to be the first detective novel, it is on my list.

However, I decided to watch it and I loved this production. My sister amd I planned on watching only two episodes, but couldn’t stop and finished the miniseries that night.

So the story starts with a paper puppet opening about how a giant diamond, “the moonstone” was stolen by a colonel when he was in India, and after his death it was to be passed to Rachel Verinder (Terenia Edwards) on her 18th birthdy.

Before her 18th birthday Rachel and her artist cousin Franklin Blake (cousin to Rachel) had seemed really close-he even planned to ask her to marry him. But after the theft of her diamond she refuses to talk to him and returns all his letters. Sergent Cuff tried to solve the case, but it metted out as all members dispersed.

It has been a year since the theft and Frank (Joshua Silver) decides he must figure out who stole it and solve it-in order to win Rachel’s heart again.

Frank must go back and question all who was there that night-taking us, the viewer, back to the night of the crime.

Thar night Rachel wore the diamond and it was commented on by all. At the party were the following people:

Moonstone

Lady Verinder (Sophie Ward), Rachel’s mother, is very devoted and loves her. But could she have been tempted by the giant diamond? After all, she was skipped over inheriting it for her daughter.

Drusilla Clack (Sarah Hadland) is a very “moral” person and is always throwing tracts about. When she first saw the diamond she mentioned she said if she had inherited it, she would use it for good, by selling it and giving the money to the poor. She is very intense in her beliefs, could she have justified taking it? She is also very interested in Godfrey Ablewhite, but Godfrey only wants needs someone with money. Could she have taken in the hope to get her man?

Godfrey Ablewhite (Stewart Clarke) is a handsome young man after Rachel. He has good “business prospects” but in reality he really wants a wealthy person to take care of him. Could he have decided to take the diamond instead of the girl? The two now are engaged, so it seems like he doesn’t have the diamond, unless he decided to take both-keeping the diamond for himself.

A trio of Indian men show up outside the party and refuse to leave. They call themselves the guardians of the moonstone and want it back. A lot of people think they are the thieves, but it turns out that they have remained in the country the whole year. If they had stolen the stone, then why didn’t they leave for India with it?

Mr. Murthwaite (Guy Henry) is an adventurer and knows an awful lot about the moonstone and the group of Indian men’s belief that the stone belongs to them. Is he a part of it? Did he hire the Indian trio to cause a smoke screen?

Not guests, but still preset were the butler Gabriel Betteredge (Leo Wringer) and Penelope Betteredge (Nisa Cole). They both love Rachel, Gabriel helped care for her and Penelope grew up with her. But could ome of them be tired of being a servant? Could the size of the Moonstone be too much for them to resist?

Detective Sergant Cuff (John Thomson) has discovered that one of the housemaids, Rosanna Spearman (Jane McGrath), used to be a thief prior to working in the house. She was also extremely attentive to Frank. Was she helping him as he is the one who was supposed to take the diamond to the bank for Rachel? Did she steal it to get his attention/love? Did the giant diamond lead her back to her former life?

Dr. Candy (Jeremy Swift) is the family doctor but he gives off a really creepy vibe. He gives Frank a sleeping draught that totally knocks him out. Did he do that so that Frank wouldn’t spot him stealing the diamond? Or maybe Ezra Jennings (Trevor Fox) his assistant, an opium addict, is the one that stole the precious gem.

Hmmm…

Frank continues to search and tries his hardest to find out the truth, but will he be happy with the answers he discovers? And what about Frank? Is his reasons for finding the diamond altruistic, is he just after Rachel for is money, or has he been seduced by the stone as well?

Hmm…

A great story and a wonderful adaption. I strongly recommend watching this as it was really good! The ending also has a fantastic twist!

For more mysteries, go to Are You Prepared to Encounter All of Its Horrors?…Let’s Just Say That All Houses Have Their Secrets, and Northanger is No Exception.: Northanger Abbey (2007)

For more period dramas, go to Murder, False Imprisonment, Nuclear Bombs, and Nazi Spies: Bon Voyage (2003)

 

 

 

 

Is Emma Jane Austen’s Only Mystery?

Mystery, you say?

So a few years ago I read an article about how this one expert believed Jane Austen wrote a mystery, (I unfortunately can’t find it but there are other articles out there if you are interested) and she believed that mystery was Emma.

What??

At first I was what? Emma?

If anything it has to be Northanger Abbey-the mystery of the Tilneys, did the General kill his wife, what was in the forbidden rooms?

The reasoning was that a large majority of the novel is spent trying to uncover who Jane Fairfax’s secret admirer is. I never really thought of it as a mystery as Emma didn’t seem to me that interested in Jane, at least not until Frank stokes her interest with the thought that the man, Mr. Dixon, who married might really be in love with Jane and sending the expensive gifts. In fact, it seemed more like gossip than solving a mystery.

Let’s spill the tea.

It also seemed to me that she wasn’t really interested in getting to know the truth, but seemed more like she wanted to know a dirty secret about someone she doesn’t like-you know to lord it over here. You know, when you don’t like someone and then you find out a reason to really not like them. 

So I was like nah, I don’t think it is a mystery. 

But then I read A Visit to Highbury by Joan Austen-Leigh and that changed my perspective. The story is about Mrs. Goddard and her relationship with her sister who made a hasty marriage. The whole novel is told in letters as Mrs. Goddard sends news of Highbury to her sister. Soon the three of them are embroiled in several mysteries: Why is Mr. Elton so angry at Emma Woodhouse and Harriet Smith? Why does Harriet refuse Mr. Robert Martin when it was clear she was crazy about him? Who gives Jane Fairfax the piano? Why do Harriet and Emma suddenly stop being friends? Who does Mr. Knightley wish to marry?

Hmmm…

Okay, so I had to admit, it seems that Emma is a mystery. 

It,

So I was wrong, but while i will concede that Emma is a mystery, is it the only one?

Hmm…

Is Northanger Abbey a mystery as well? I mean we all know it is a gothic novel, but is it a mystery too?

Time to get on the case!

So the definition of mystery is:

Mystery (pronounced mis-tuh-ree, ) is a genre of literature whose stories focus on a puzzling crime, situation, or circumstance that needs to be solved.

In Northanger Abbey, Catherine Morland is a reverend’s daughter who loves to read gothic novels and has an overactive imagination, is asked to join family friends on a trip to Bath. There she gets involved with a gothic novellike plot and journeys to Northanger Abbey. 

The first mystery are the Tilneys. Catherine meets Mr. Tilney and falls for him, let’s be honest who wouldn’t? After that she tries to glean more information about them, but can find very little from the people she knows. Are the Tilneys the amazing people she believes them to be?

Or could they not be good acquaintances? They are the first friends Catherine makes that aren’t known to her friends and family so she doesn’t know if anything they tell her is true or not. This makes me think of Agatha Christie as a big theme used in a lot of her mystery novels is that we meet people and assume all they tell us the truth when they tell us about them, but we honestly don’t really know if anything they say is real or a lie. 

Hmm…

Mr. Tilney jokes about the Abbey being haunted or holding secrets, but Catherine (and my mind) go there as well. Is there a dark cloud hanging over the home? Is there a dark secret?

Hmm…?

Then there is the mysterious chest in her room and the manuscript she finds. What secrets do they hold?

And of course the big one: the mystery of Mrs. Tilney’s death. She dies so quickly, did she die naturally or was she murdered?

Hmm…

And of course what is in Mrs. Tilney’s old rooms? Why are the shut up and forbidden? What secrets do they hold?

I think for me I always felt like this was a mystery because Catherine is actively investigating and searching out the truth, searching for a mystery-while Emma doesn’t seem as invested or investigative as she has other plans on her mind-matchmaking and party planning.

What do you think? Is Emma Jane Austen’s only mystery? Is Northanger Abbey a mystery as well?

Mystery, you say?

For more Emma, go to Interference: Friday Night Lights Meets Emma

For more Northanger Abbey, go to Are You Prepared to Encounter All of Its Horrors?…Let’s Just Say That All Houses Have Their Secrets, and Northanger is No Exception.: Northanger Abbey (2007)

For more on Emma Woodhouse, go to Take a Chance on Me: Austentatious (2015)

For more on Catherine Morland, go to Let That Catherine Morland Flag Fly Free

For more mysteries, go to The Conclusion to the Griggs Mystery…Or Is It?