Wednesday, 24 August 2016

A Game of Murder - DVD Review

I've mentioned Francis Durbridge's mystery thriller A Game of Murder previously on this blog. In fact, the book was one of a trio of novels brought together in an omnibus by Bello to which I wrote the introduction a few years back. And now I've caught up with the DVD version of the original TV series, which dates back no less than half a century.

The story is divided into six short and very snappy episodes, lasting just 25 minutes each (which rather begs the question of why they are split into three discs, each containing just two episodes; wouldn't it be cheaper to bung them all on a single disc, and perhaps offer some bonus material or other notes about the TV production, features which are sadly lacking?)

Leaving this quibble aside, I must say that this was typical Durbridge affair, with an excellent, twisty plot. Gerald Harper (in his pre-Adam Adamant days) plays Bob Kerry, a rather terse young cop whose father runs a sports goods business. Their cleaner, Mrs Lincoln, is making a big fuss about her missing dog, but this pales into insignificance when Kerry's father is murdered on a golf course. At first it seems to have been a tragic accident. But Kerry becomes suspicious, and the plot rapidly thickens as the man who claims to have hit his father with a golf ball by accident is himself murdered, and the missing dog returns - but minus his collar, much to Mrs Lincoln's dismay.

Soon Kerry is embroiled in a call girl racket, and he falls for a pretty young woman (June Barry) who seems to be untrustworthy. And what about the dodgy pet shop owner (the eternally worried Peter Copley), where does he fit in to it all? One way of solving a mystery like this is to focus on the character who doesn't really seem to fit into the storyline, but in this case, there are several such individuals. I'd managed to forget whodunit, and found myself enjoying the mystery all over again. Well worth a watch.

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