The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1984)

Season 5 Episode 4

The Boscombe Valley Mystery

1
Aired Tuesday 9:00 PM Mar 14, 1991 on ITV
7.7
out of 10
User Rating
29 votes
2

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The Boscombe Valley Mystery
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Alice Turner sends for Holmes when her lifelong friend farmer William McCarthy is killed and police suspicion falls on his son, James. James McCarthy admits quarrelling with his father, but he will not explain what their argument was about.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Scumbag Squaretoes....

    8.0
    .... In "The Boscombe Valley Mystery," Holmes and Watson go out to a country town to solve the murder of a man, a man thought by the authorities to have been killed by his own son.



    "The Boscombe Valley Mystery" is another highly entertaining straight-up adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes story from the Granada series. The production values are high (especially for television), the acting is first-rate (led by the great Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke portrayals of Holmes and Watson, respectively; with very memorable guest appearances from Joanna Roth and Peter Vaughan) and Doyle's original short story is well adapted for the screen. However, the flashback sequences to Australia seem pointless and the story itself, while engaging and enjoyable to see play out on screen, is not one of Doyle's strongest. Still, "The Boscombe Valley Mystery" is an enjoyable episode even if it is not one of the staple pieces of the Granada Sherlock Holmes series.moreless
  • Sherlock Holmes tackles a seemingly clearcut case of murder that will eventually take him half a century into the past and half way across the world to Australia and to unearth the buryied secrets of two former outlaws.moreless

    8.6
    As I write this review this episode has the lowest score of the entire Sherlock Holmes series and that is what motivated me because I take issue with that.



    The plot is as well conceived as usual, the acting by Jeremy Brett flawless. The adaptation has not sacrificed anything in the original short story. The production values are up to the high standards Granada has used throughout the very long run (10 years) of its classic series.



    But I feel that the added value is to be found in actor who plays the reformed and repentant outlaw: Peter Vaughan. I have no need to say he has a huge body of work and is an outstanding actor. He could have slipped here (he did so quite literally in The Remains Of The Day possibly one of a handful of works of his that have had any sort of impact in America) or the character might be wrong for his strong points as an actor. Neither thing happened. Towards the end of the episode in a single long scene he gives a tour-de-force performance as the dying man who has many tales to tell, some of them ancient, one more recent.



    The young man in this expatriate australian community in the english countryside (that would marry the old man's daughter but cannot) is played by no less distinguished actor - James Purefoy.

    The deep resentment running between the two families, the doomed young lovers theme and the Australian connection are not completely new in Sir A.C. Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. But it is unusual for them to be brought together, furthermore not in a full length novel but within the confines of a short story.



    The scenes representing the outback of the mid 19th century are well shot (in grainy sepia tones) and without giving anything away even the final moments of almost impossible brightness and light do not entirely offset the heavy victorian pall that hangs over the episode - including a very realistic portrayal of the inside of a victorian prison in all its squalor.



    Finally, never a minor point, the events lead to a satisfactory ending without entirely having done away with the ambiguity (moral or otherwise) of the guilty parts.moreless
Jonathan Barlow

Jonathan Barlow

Inspector Summerby

Guest Star

Peter Vaughan

Peter Vaughan

John Turner

Guest Star

Joanna Roth

Joanna Roth

Alice Turner

Guest Star

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