Monday 26 July 2021

Dead Gorgeous - 2002 TV film review

Quite apart from his various series, Peter Lovesey has written several excellent stand-alone novels. One of my favourites, although it is not perhaps one of his best-known titles, is On the Edge, published in 1989. In 2002, it was televised as Dead Gorgeous, directed by Sarah Harding and with a screenplay by Andrew Payne. It's a story in the Strangers on a Train vein, but sufficiently distinctive to stand on its own two feet, and the TV version is, like the novel, very entertaining.

It's 1946 and two former WAAF 'plotters' are not enjoying married life. Rose (Fay Ripley) is treated like a domestic servant by her husband Barry, who keeps her short of money but spends a lot of his time out drinking and womanising. Antonia (Helen McCrory, who sadly died earlier this year) has, on the surface, done better for herself. She's married a wealthy domestic goods manufacturer called Hector (Ron Cook). But he bores her, and she's conducting an affair with a handsome young chap who has just been offered a new post in the US.

Rose and Antonia bump into each other and confide their matrimonial woes. Antonia, glamorous and mischievous as well as selfish, decides that they'd both be much better off without their respective husbands. From that moment, the pair are heading towards a potential exchange of murders. 

Ripley and McCrory are a very appealing duo and the chemistry between them  is such that, even if you guess what is likely to happen, there's a lot of pleasure to be had in watching events unfold. This is a nicely paced piece of light entertainment, and Payne's script and the acting do the novel justice. 


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