on 18 March 2013
Mysteriously, because I really liked Rendell's stories written as Barabara Vine: A Fatal Inversion is one of the great mysteries of its kind, and the BBC did an excellent job turning this, and the other two Vine stories in this series (Gallowglass, A Dark Adapted Eye), into DVDs. Plus, the Wexford series was excellent. But for some reason when ITV made the programmes in this DVD set, the material turned to dust and ashes in their hands.
That said, if you get these DVDs second hand for the thirty quid or so I paid they are good value, and some of the episodes are of the highest quality ("A Case of Coincidence" for instance). But many of the rest look very thin indeed. Some of the material was originally published as short stories, not full length books, and those that I have read in the original (The Fallen Curtain, The Double, You Can't Be Too Careful) have not been faithful to that original. I expect ITV felt the need to sex them up, but in doing so they merely managed to b*gger them up.
Watch out though for a star performance by Janet Suzman as the obsessional Cecily Branksome in The Front Seat. Not on account of the rather tedious story; but Ms Suzman always astonishes me by her ability to speak without opening her mouth. Watch her closely: the lips move, but the teeth stay tightly clenched; and yet you can hear every word. Phenomenal. She so deserved being made a Dame.