|Original broadcast date:
|(UK) 24 January 1998 on BBC1
|16:9 aspect ratio
Stuart Milligan as Adam Klaus
Peter Davison as Stephen Claithorne
Pippa Haywood as Lorna Claithorne
Meg Davies as Emma Lazarus
Gavan O'Herlihy as Hal Drucker
Mark Caven as Tom Terici
Frankie Park as Tess
Jimmi Harkishin as Gary Lobo
Martina Laird Bridget
Justin Alexis as Nathan (Bridget's son)
Keith Morris as a Waiter
Christopher Adamson as The Stalker
View guest cast
Maddy Magellan is at home. Her alarm rings, the radio kicks in, and the phone starts ringing. Still she doesn't want to get up. Killing the alarm, the radio, and then the phone, she goes back to sleep. Cue a tape player which starts up with Maddy's voice daring her to go back to sleep! Left with no choice she eventually gets up, the sound of her bashing saucepan lids on the tape becoming too annoying.
As she gets up her front door bell rings. It's Stephen Claithorne, a man who has heard of Maddy's fascination with mysteries. He tells her of a murder which took place the night before at his home in Oxfordshire. His mother-in-law - Emma Lazarus, a famous author of horror fiction, was shot and the killer appears to have disappeared into thin air.
Although he never really got on with his mother-in-law due to her views on God, he wouldn't wish any harm to her. Emma had re-married and moved to the states, so Stephen and his wife Lorna never saw her that often.
On the night of the murder Stephen wasn't at home, he had been called by the Bishop for a little pep-talk. His wife, Lorna, Emma and her second husband Tom Terici were returning from a costume party for Halloween. Tom is dressed as a skeleton, Lorna as a longhaired white witch and Emma is the bride of Frankenstein. Emma's bodyguard Hal Drucker is driving the car home when they pass a man. He is an American fan of Emma's who has flown over to see her. Hal is worried as he's been standing on the road side since they left for the party, and the fact that it's raining doesn't seem to bother the strange man. They had left the party early due to Emma having a very bad headache.
Emma asks Hal to take some pictures of them (Lorna, Tom, and Emma) for the family album. They are taken in front of a set of French doors, which blow open giving them all a fright. Hal recommends making doubly sure that all doors and windows are locked as he has a funny feeling in his gut. He then runs out to the car to put it away in the garage.
Meanwhile, Emma is getting ready for bed. As she removes her jewellery, someone in a skeleton costume comes into her room and shoots her. Lorna rushes upstairs to find her mother dead. As Hal rushes into the house, drawing his gun, Lorna is grabbed from behind by the murderer. Lorna tries to escape but is knocked unconscious, the murderer then orders Hal to drop his gun and bring the car round, leaving the keys in the ignition. As Hal gets out of the car, he sees Tom stagger out of the French doors in just his underwear and rubbing the back of his head.
Before the killer can get away, Hal runs back into the house to retrieve his gun. He then shoots two of the tires, making the murderer's get-a-way impossible. The murderer then starts to back into the garage with Lorna still over their shoulder when a police siren is heard, ignoring Hal's cries of "put her down!". The murderer then dumps Lorna on the floor, and closes the garage door from the inside (it's an automatic door). The building is then surrounded by police, but after fifteen minutes nothing is heard from the killer. The police then open the garage door to find only Lorna lying on the floor, the killer is not to be found. The garage itself is made of stone with a concrete floor, and has no way in or out besides the automatic door. There are motion detectors which turn on lights all the way around, so the killer could not have escaped without someone seeing them.
After hearing the story, Maddy phones Jonathan for advice, but he is less than enthusiastic, "Do me a favour, I grew out of vanishing skeletons before I was into long trousers. If ya gonna kill someone on Halloween, you'd think they'd come up with something more original than that!" is his reply.
Jonathan's attitude is explained by the fact he is not at home, but at Adam Klaus's home. He had a late night, and has a ninety minute TV special to go through this morning. To make matters worse, Adam has brought home a stripper called Bridget who likes to sing opera while men remove her G-string. Before Jonathan can say anything about the stripper, who is having a bath, another woman enters the house using a key, and calling for Adam. She's an air stewardess who's flights have been cancelled, so they can have their weekend after all! Adam promptly persuades Jonathan to get into the bath with the stripper, and pretend she's his girlfriend!
Meanwhile Maddy has gone to the scene of the crime, and is feeling around the garage. As she stands on a bucket to see what is on a shelf her foot falls through the bottom, sending her and the shelf contents flying. Luckily for her the paint tins it held are empty, unfortunately she lands on a hacksaw! Maddy then tries to ask Lorna some questions, but all she gets are garbled responses as she is still upset over her mother's death.
As Tom leads Lorna away, and Stephen goes to make some tea, Maddy notices a pool of water in the corner of the garage. Hal then comes along and informs her one of the police dogs peed there. She promptly wipes her hand on a loose rag! Hal then tells Maddy of the crazy fan Emma had who started writing to her, but never signed his name, only "your devoted servant always". Hal clearly believes this fan is responsible for the death of Emma Lazarus.
Inside the house, Maddy looks at the photographs Hal took on the night of the murder, while Tom goes over what happened to him. The French doors blew open as the frame is slightly warped, he went to get a hammer to fix it, when he was struck from behind and knocked out, he didn't even hear the gun shot. Maddy asks to take the photos away with her, but Lorna protests, she doesn't want them leaving the house. Maddy then finds a picture of another man. Tom explains it's Gary Lobo, a man who was helping Emma with her latest books. She was writing her autobiographies, one for each of her past lives, right up to present day. Gary Lobo claimed to be an expert in reincarnation.
Maddy then goes and brings Jonathan up to speed on the case at his windmill. The only thing that strikes Jonathan as odd is that the paint tins were empty. After exchanging pleasantries about the benefits of Weetabix, Maddy suggests meeting at the theatre where Jonathan is working to discuss the case further. She's off to visit Gary Lobo in the morning. Jonathan warns her not fall for Gary's rubbish, to which she replies, "credit me with a bit of common sense..."
The following day Maddy is in a floatation tank. Gary Lobo is supporting her neck, keeping her head above water whilst encouraging her to relax and go deeper into the nucleus of her being. Bubbles then rise from the water, and black ink is injected into the water. Needless to say Maddy isn't impressed! They go to lunch, and talk about Emma. Gary tells her the last time he saw Emma was the previous Monday. They talked about life and death, and when Emma left he said he would see her in a week's time. Emma just smiled a weak smile but said nothing. Gary got the feeling she didn't expect to be alive in a week's time.
At the theatre, Maddy fills Jonathan in. Maddy thinks Emma knew her days were numbered and who her killer was. Jonathan then tells her that he knows how the killer escaped from the garage. However before he can tell her, they are interrupted by Bridget, the stripper who Adam slept with. She asks where Adam's dressing room is, then leaves. Jonathan then proceeds to explain the funny story behind Bridget and him in the bath, but when he turns round, Maddy is gone.
Jonathan then finds out Bridget is Blackmailing Adam. She wants to sing in his show, a fifteen minute spot, or else she will go to the papers with details of their one night stand. In the absence of photographic evidence she is planning to use drawings! Adam then gives the task of paying Bridget off to Jonathan. Alas Bridget doesn't want money, and Jonathan can't buy her off. Bridget is in the process of getting ready to go out, but can't find her shoes. This sets Jonathan thinking.
Back at the Claithorne home, Lorna can't sleep. As she goes downstairs to get a glass of water, she hears a noise. The door to the room where her mother's coffin lies waiting for the funeral is open. She walks in to the room to find the coffin open and her mother, decapitated.
The service will still go ahead, but the funeral is postponed, Stephen tells Maddy and Jonathan the following morning. Jonathan finally sees the garage for the first time, and spends a little time opening some of the paint tins. In the bottom he finds some fluff, but says nothing.
Maddy and Jonathan find Lorna visiting a old gentleman, Mr. Snetterton, from the parish who had recently been in hospital having a wart removed. Lorna tells them that he passed away a few minutes ago, But, before he died he said something about the night of the murder. He saw a man dressed as a skeleton climb over his back wall and run away down towards the river.
That night Maddy and Jonathan talk the murder through. The first conclusion they draw is that the skeleton never left the garage. So where did it go? The empty paint tins says Jonathan. Maddy needs more convincing, so Jonathan then asks her:-
"How many people walked into that garage?"
"Two" she replies.
"Walked into that garage."
"One...with one over his shoulder."
"And how much of the one over his shoulder did anyone see?"
It soon becomes obvious that it was Lorna who walked into the garage in the skeleton costume with a dummy draped over her shoulder dressed in her witch's outfit. She was working with the killer. Her knocking out was faked, and when Hal went out to get the car, she and the killer pulled the switch. An electronic mouth piece distorts the voice so it could be anyone in the skeleton costume, no-one would know the difference. The story of Mr. Snetterton then becomes suspicious. Jonathan suggests ringing the hospital in the morning, and find out who removed his wart.
On the day of the funeral, Jonathan and Maddy tell all. Mr. Snetterton had been in hospital to have a wart removed from his vocal cords, so would have been in no fit state to say anything to Lorna. Lorna, faced with this, then confesses that he had already died before she arrived at the house.
It turns out Emma Lazarus was dying. No one knew how long she had left, or how long she could go on pretending with headaches. In the end she had persuaded her husband and daughter to perform euthanasia, but in a style befitting her gothic lifestyle. Tom had killed her, and then swapped costumes with Lorna. The original plan had been to have Lorna drive off in the car, but when that failed they had to improvise.
As to the decapitation, Jonathan and Maddy believe that was performed by the crazy fan who had flown over from the states. A final act of love by a man who would never see Emma again.
The show ends with Maddy clearing up Adam's "Bridget" problem. Whilst Adam, Jonathan and Maddy are having lunch Bridget turns up. Maddy gets up and has a word with Bridget, who then leaves smiling.
"What did you say?" Jonathan asks.
"Just that she'd been used, and all men are bastards. That it would do her singing career no good at all to be associated with such an odiously shallow slime ball. That she'd be better off screwing you for every penny she could get, and the cheque would be in the post!"
Adam laughs and comments that she's such a good liar. Jonathan and Maddy simply exchange knowing looks....