An Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club – Peter Wimsey on tv

This adaptation of Dorothy Sayers’ Peter Wimsey mystery An Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club features Derek Newark, whom I rather liked, as Bunter. He and Ian Carmichael as Peter have a wonderful scene as they prepare to begin questioning the denizens of the Bellona Club about the General’s death; Newark manages to look quite offended when Ian Carmichael tells him he’s too tidy to be disguised as a journalist, a comment that’s borne out later on when we meet journalist Salcombe Hardy.

Marjorie Phelps, one of my favorite characters from the series, is present in this adaptation to great effect, played by Phyllida Law! (She’s the mother of actresses Emma and Sophie Thompson.) Anna Cropper gave a nuanced performance as Ann Dorland. I love seeing the portrayal of women in non-traditional roles.

I haven’t much else to say about this one. As usual with the Carmichael adaptations, it sticks fairly close to the actual novel. The main difference is that the tv version is more direct in pointing up the World War I experiences of George Fentiman and of Peter, and actually shows George wandering around in a “shell-shocked” fit. Also, a poppy in the lapel for Remembrance Day becomes an important plot point. When I first saw this on television, I was young enough to have very little knowledge of the First World War; I think seeing reading these books and viewing this series were among the things that piqued my interest in the period. It’s one thing to read about George’s problems with his stomach, another to understand that his physical troubles were caused by exposure to poison gas and realize the true horror of his situation.

Book: An Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club

About Victoria Janssen

Victoria Janssen [she, her] currently writes cozy space opera for Kalikoi. The novella series A Place of Refuge begins with Finding Refuge: Telepathic warrior Talia Avi, genius engineer Miki Boudreaux, and augmented soldier Faigin Balfour fought the fascist Federated Colonies for ten years, following the charismatic dissenter Jon Churchill. Then Jon disappeared, Talia was thought dead, and Miki and Faigin struggled to take Jon’s place and stay alive. When the FC is unexpectedly upended, Talia is reunited with her friends and they are given sanctuary on the enigmatic planet Refuge. The trio of former guerillas strive to recover from lifetimes of trauma, build new lives on a planet with endless horizons, and forge tender new connections with each other.
This entry was posted in mystery, sayers, television, wwi. Bookmark the permalink.