Murder Most English was an adaptation of 4 of the ‘Flaxborough Chronicles’ of Colin Watson originally broadcast in 1977. A complete DVD box set is now available.The four books adapted are Hopjoy was Here, Lonelyheart 4122, The Flaxborough Crab and Coffin Scarcely Used. Because these adaptations were made in the  1970’s by the BBC the production values are not enormously high, especially when set against more recent mystery adaptations. One should not therefore turn to Murder Most English for visual pleasure.

Having said this these are  films which one could happily pass a rainy afternoon enjoying. Anton Rogers is excellent as Watson’s detective, Inspector Purbright and Brenda Bruce is even better as his most memorable creation, the delightful (and delightfully named) Lucilla Teatime. It is partly the fact that she is so central to Lonelyheart 4122 which makes it much the best of the adaptations; this may also be because it is Watson’s best plot (although as I have not read all the books this would perhaps be a misleading claim to advance). What is without question is that these adaptations, while lacking high production values, are in no way lacking in entertainment and a certain charm.

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