Freddie Villiers committed suicide nine years ago and the once-elegant family home has fallen into general disrepair. The approaching Christmas period signals the beginning of the first family gathering since Freddie's death and it is immediately apparent that there is a great deal of tension and not a lot of Christmas spirit as the family begin to gather and warily assess one another. Tom is hoping that the worst thing he will have to deal with at Christmas is entertaining Joyce's parents, a task he is definitely NOT looking forward to. However, his relative peace is soon shattered when there is a death at the Villiers home which while at first appearing to be an accident turns out to be murder. Put it this way, when you watch this one, you will see that Tom and Dan are not destined to have a peaceful Christmas and you will undoubtedly notice that someone in the Villiers family is a murderer! Very entertaining and a couple of excellent plot twists.
This episode has an interesting storyline about family histories and some of the myths around Christmas. Haydn Gwynne provides a solid performance as Jennifer, a family member who still lives in the old home, and who tries to bring the family closer together again. Margery Mason is very adept at playing the elderly Aunt Lydia who seems to be losing her marbles but who is actually quite lucid. Rory Copus almost steals the show as the character of the young boy(Howard) who has inherited a great interest in magic tricks from his late Uncle Ferdy. He shows his skills in responding to the police during an interview, and provides a sense of humour throughout. Bruce Alexander is very smooth as Dominic, Lydia's bridge partner who is invited to share in the holiday festivities. Barnaby's father-in-law Douglas provides a good source of humour when he arrives for Christmas with a Monopoly set and a metal detector.
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