'Ruth Rendell Mysteries Set 2'
(James D'Arcy, Janice Suzman, Keith Barron, Susannah York, et al / 3-Disc DVD / NR / 2007 / Acorn Media)
Overview: In six tales of suspense, award-winning writer Ruth Rendell examines the jealousies, betrayals, and resentments that lead to tragedy. A stellar cast brings each story off the page and onto the screen with all of the author's delicious irony and intrigue intact.
DVD Verdict: 'The Ruth Rendell Mysteries: Volume 2' (the psychological crime dramas as seen on public television) include six adaptations of Rendell's brand of psychological mystery, tales of relative or questionable guilt, stories of truth-seekers who had long been obtuse, thrillers in which murder suspects are in the spotlight because of previously, under-the-radar neurotic tendencies.
All to often the term "psychological mystery" can mean characters who are hard to like or at least easy to lose patience with, especially when their stories go on for two or three hours. There's also the ambiguity factor; you may need a high tolerance for ambiguity as the stories play out with interior conflicts, guilt-ridden angst or strange doings that may not be well clarified...was a murder committed after all, was that strange person real or imagined, are the tortured emotions justified or not?
To my mind, three of the six mysteries in this 'Ruth Rendell Mysteries - Set 2' have ample quantities of ambiguity and quite a few hard-to-like characters ... but I'll let you decide which they are!
Basically, in these six tales of suspense, award-winning writer Ruth Rendell examines the jealousies, betrayals, and resentments that lead to tragedy. A stellar cast brings (mostly) each story off the page and onto the screen with all of the author's delicious irony and intrigue intact.
Included in the set are: "Bribery & Corruption" - Young Nicholas Hawthorne (James D'Arcy) has a crush on a married woman with whom his widowed father has begun a secret affair. Then she winds up murdered; "Front Seat" - Cecily Branksome (Janice Suzman) opens old wounds by nosing into a long - resolved murder in her childhood hometown - to the growing annoyance of her husband Hugh (Edward Hardwicke); "A Case of Coincidence" - When a surgeon's wife turns up murdered in the fens, Inspector Masters (Keith Barron) and Chief Inspector Moore (Ronald Pickup) face increased pressure to bring a serial killer to justice.
"A Dark Blue Perfume" - Newly widowed Liz (Susannah York) rediscovers life and love with a troubled man who has a mysterious past; "May & June" - Since childhood, May Thrace (Phoebe Nicholls) has resented her sister June (Christine Kavanaugh) - especially when they compete for the same man's affections; and "The Orchard Walls" - Sent to the country to escape war-ravaged London, a young girl (Honeysuckle Weeks) discovers the adult world's dark secrets. This is a Full Screen Presentation (4:3) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of a Ruth Rendell biography and Cast Filmographies.