In this four-part murder story it takes one episode to decide whether a murder has actually taken place. In the two following episodes different theories are investigated, and in the final one we finally get the answer. But is it satisfying?
Warning. Spoilers ahead. The first serial ('Clouds of Witness') was mainly set in Lord Peter's family surroundings (both literally as well as figuratively). In the Wimsey family Lord Peter is considered a bit of an oddity and his clowning brought a lot of humour to the story. The comedy is more understated in 'Bellona' and though Lord Peter has no family members involved this time, he seems more serious. The Great War plays a more important part as one of the suspects has clearly not recovered from his war trauma. (Did the writer move the story from 1928 to 1922 to make that more acceptable?) As a detective story it twists and turns a lot, with the solution deriving from an accident (Bunter projecting a slide against a curtain). Like the previous serial, you shouldn't watch this for the story itself. The second episode is a wild goose chase that basically contributes nothing to the investigation. Unlike in similar stories, the detective actually mentions his suspicions about the real murderer in the penultimate episode. You would imagine that it'd be the least likely suspect, identified in a final confrontation. Wimsey believes Penberthy is guilty at the end of episode three and spends most of this episode putting the story together and clearing the other suspects. Lots of long dialogues, interspersed with some situation comedy. It's a pity that the real comedy find of this serial, Phylida Law, doesn't appear here.
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