Rivals of Sherlock Holmes otherThe Rivals of Sherlock Holmes lasted for 2 seasons of 13 episodes each from 1971-1973. The series dramatized non-Holmes stories of detectives solving mysteries in Victorian and Edwardian England written by contemporary authors. For Balladeer’s Blog’s review of the first episode click HERE

lady Molly againEpisode: THE WOMAN IN THE BIG HAT (November 15th, 1971)

Detective: Lady Molly of Scotland Yard, created by Baroness Orczy (The Scarlet Pimpernel). The first Lady Molly story was published in 1910.

Review: The fictional Lady Molly Robertson-Kirk was depicted working as a detective for Scotland Yard a full decade before women did so in real life. The period details in her series of mysteries often include references to the Women’s Suffrage Movement, but never to the point where it interferes with the storytelling.

The Woman in the Big Hat starts off with Lady Molly, played magnificently by Elvi Hale, shopping for a new hat. Her sharply-honed powers of observation allow her to thwart an attempted robbery by a few larcenous ladies posing as customers at the high-class shop.

Lady Molly and MaryRest assured this will tie back into the main story, but for now it’s back to Scotland Yard for Lady Molly and Mary Granard (Ann Beach, right), her Watson-style sidekick/ biographer. Elsewhere in London, a distinguished gentleman drops dead from poison at a cafe shortly after his female companion leaves the table.

With the only description of the presumed murderess being that she wore “a big hat,” Inspector Saunders (Peter To The Manor Born Bowles) finds that his investigation has hit a dead end. Reluctantly, he enlists the help of our heroine.

Lady MollyMolly ably dives into the case and is baffled by the reluctance of the dead man’s own family to cooperate with the authorities. Thinking outside the box, Robertson-Kirk plants a fake newspaper ad offering a reward from the family for information regarding the woman in the big hat.

In the fashion of all regulation-bound policemen, Inspector Saunders blusters over the sheer cheek of this unorthodox stunt but it does break open some surprising leads in the case. Molly expertly sifts through the new information and penetrates to the heart of the mystery.

Lady Molly 3As our story hurls toward its clever conclusion, Lady Molly turns out to have her own all-female version of Sherlock Holmes’ Baker Street Irregulars. In her case it’s a collection of wily, rebellious ladies who love tweaking the sensibilities of the day by scouring London for clues or by staging whatever public stunts our heroine asks.

Among those ladies are Suffragists and assorted denizens of the shady criminal underworld, including the shoplifters from early in the tale. Everything comes to a head in a dangerous confrontation between Lady Molly and the murderer.

This is a very entertaining murder mystery and at just 52 minutes it doesn’t overstay its welcome. Elvi Hale as our heroine has a certain Francesca Annis appeal. I’d have loved to see at least one more Lady Molly story in this series, but unfortunately she was one of the many detectives who got only one episode.

If you like LibriVox audiobooks you can listen to all twelve Lady Molly of Scotland Yard mysteries HERE              

I’ll review the next episode soon. Keep checking back.       



Filed under Forgotten Television


  1. Melony

    What a wonderful type of lady detective!

  2. Lucy

    You go Lady Molly!

  3. Charity

    This was so good! It made me want to do those audio book versions!

  4. Ike

    Sharp review! I’d watch this episode now.

  5. Alex de Campi

    What a fascinating detective and murderess!

  6. Suzanne

    Lady Molly is my new hero!

  7. Grace

    This was so good! I want to check out the audio Lady Molly mysteries now!

  8. We have women characters like this on our tv right now over here.

  9. Carley

    I just love mysteries!!!

  10. Lady Molly is so awesome! They should have done her stories instead of doing a female Sherlock Holmes thing.

  11. Yaya J

    They should have done all ten Lady Molly stories.

  12. Taffy

    Lady Molly, Madame Sara and Hagar were great additions!

  13. Melvin shermen

    Yep but last one Have this most cringe line i ever heard is sound most forced feminist garbage i ever heard and yes is know is from short story but is still awful

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