RogerBW's Blog

Taken at the Flood 12 August 2023

2003 audio adaptation by Michael Bakewell of Christie's 1948 mystery, in five 30-minute episodes. Rosaleen had just married her very rich husband when their flat in London was bombed and she was the only survivor. Two years later, the war's over and his relatives are coming round with their hands out…

That's the thing I find difficult to accept, really. Most of the family have been off doing war things, fair enough, but one of them is a farmer (resentful because he's had to stay on the farm rather than go off and do war things) and I can't see why he'd have waited until now to put in his claim. Much seems to hinge on whether Rosaleen's first husband, who died in South Africa before the war, is really dead – because if he isn't, she was never legally married to Dead Gordon Moneybags, and his earlier will leaving all the money to the family will apply. There's some decent business involving someone turning up who may in fact be that first husband, out for blackmail. But it's all rather spoiled for me by the heroine ending up with someone who has made a spirited attempt to strangle her in a fit of temper, with the implication that that's part of his appeal…

Basically this is one of Christie's post-war depressive books, much in the same mode as After the Funeral: the world has gone to pot, nobody has any money any more, and one really rather wonders why one should bother to carry on. As with the Bakewell dramatisation of that book, there's not much added in the adaptation to cheer it up. There's a bit of a feeling of the end of Don Giovanni: all the interesting people end up dead or arrested, and what's left in the world is the boring ones who will live quiet, blameless and uninteresting lives.

Ifan Meredith does his best to turn the grumpy farmer Rowley Cloade into a real character, and Caroline Wildi makes a go of it as the scheming Frances, but they're working against a story that's sluggish at best.

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