In this Inspector Lynley film, Lynley (Nathaniel Parker) and his partner, Sergeant Barbara Havers (Sharon Small), keep their heads as they investigate a death by decapitation near a rural village. Based on Elizabeth George's novels. 3 hours on 2 cassettes. Release date: September 17; pre-order your copy today.
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"A decapitation, a traumatized teen, and localized police corruption," a superior tells Thomas Lynley of Scotland Yard. "A good result is important for all of us." The result is very good indeed, as Elizabeth George's gripping bestseller is given the grand PBS treatment. Originally broadcast on Mystery!, this production marked the long-running series' first adaptation of a whodunit written by an American. Nathaniel Parker stars as Lynley, the Oxford-educated detective (and the eighth earl of Asherton, no less). Sharon Small costars as his very reluctant partner, Sgt. Barbara Havers, a working-class cop who considers Lynley "an arrogant aristocratic ponce." Their relationship is at the heart of a baffling case involving the grisly ax murder of farmer William Tey. At the scene of the horrific crime is Tey's 16-year-old daughter, dressed in her bloodied Sunday best, and unable (or unwilling) to speak. While sorting out the clues and suspects (including a runaway wife and daughter, and a nephew poised to inherit the farm), Lynley and Havers are bedeviled by their own personal dramas (his best friend has married the woman he loves, and she struggles to take care of her senile mother). Havers, who initially has a sizable chip on her shoulder, remarks early on that maybe her new assignment is her boss's idea of a joke. "Maybe," Lynley offers, "he thought we'd make a good team." How right he is. --Donald Liebenson
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