Balladeer’s Blog at last resumes its examination of both seasons of The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes. For my review of the very first episode of this 1971-1973 series about London by Gaslight detectives from both the Victorian and Edwardian Ages you can simply click HERE
Episode: THE MYSTERIOUS DEATH ON THE UNDERGROUND RAILWAY (January 29th, 1973)
Detective: Polly Burton, reporter, created by Baroness Orczy (The Scarlet Pimpernel). The first Polly Burton mystery was published in 1909.
Synopsis: This 2nd Season episode features another female detective created by the inimitable Baroness Orczy. Personally, I would rather the producers had done another mystery featuring Lady Molly of Scotland Yard, Orczy’s other – in my view better – female detective.
Lady Molly was the actual detective in her stories. Polly Burton (Judy Geeson), while a spunky reporter who never lets people belittle her over her gender, was really just the Archie Goodwin/ Dr Watson for the Teahouse Detective aka the Old Man in the Corner.
The series of mysteries featured Polly doing all the legwork for the mysterious older man who sat in the corner at the teahouse, and he was the one who really solved the cases, like Nero Wolfe. Even worse, sometimes Polly was little more than an awed listener to the Teahouse Detective’s tales of how he solved other mysteries. Continue reading
The 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
Episode: 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.
Rest 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. Continue reading