1 9 8 4 (UK)
4 x 60 minute episodes
1 x 90 minute episode
Following the success of Death of an Expert Witness (a regular Friday night audience of 10 million viewers), Roy Marsden returned to play shrewd Detective Chief Superintendent Adam Dalgliesh of Scotland Yard once more in an adaptation of another PD James novel by Anglia Television.
John Vine also returned as Dalgliesh’s sidekick, Detective Sergeant John Massingham.
Filmed on location in Norfolk, Dalgliesh’s murder inquiries took him this time to the bed of a dying patient at the John Carpendar Hospital and to sombre Nightingale House, the adjoining training wing and young nurses’ home where suddenly the risk of death seemed greater than on any ward.
Amid the intrigues, jealousies and secretive loves of this tight-knit community, Dalgliesh discovered more than one motive – but then there was more than one murder.
Joss Ackland was perfect as the egotistical Stephen Courtney-Briggs, and there was even a budding romance for Dalgliesh – with the seemingly aloof Matron Mary Taylor (Sheila Allen), the nursing school administrator.
But this version lacked the subtlety of the book, and by playing around with the storyline, the story lost much of its splendid plot construction. It provided virtually nothing for the armchair detective in the way of clues and was more a tease than a true whodunnit.
Marsden returned to play Dalgliesh on television several more times, including Cover Her Face (1985), The Black Tower (1985), A Taste For Death (1988), Devices and Desires (1991), Original Sin (1997) and A Certain Justice (1998).
DCS Adam Dalgliesh
DS John Massingham
Matron Mary Taylor
Sister Mavis Gearing
Sister Ethel Brumfett
Sister Hilda Rolfe
Chief Superintendent Bailey