If you’ve been hankering for more mysteries since Inspector Lewis and Endeavour ended, hold tight, because a new one is coming to PBS… and it’s a classic.
A 21st century version of the 1930’s mystery, The Lady Vanishes, is headed to Masterpiece: Mystery! this weekend. As with earlier versions, most notably the 1938 Alfred Hitchcock feature film, this made-for-TV movie is adapted from the 1936 suspense novel The Wheel Spinsby Ethel Lina White.
It stars Tuppence Middleton (Inspector Lewis, Spies of Warsaw) as beautiful and wealthy young socialite Iris Carr, whom we meet while she’s frolicking with friends while on holiday in the Balkans. The group soon departs, but sans Iris, who stays on alone for a bit of hush and calm.
At the train station for her return to London, Iris’ serenity in the countryside is shattered by the hustle and bustle of other travelers and dizzying heat, and she passes out. When she comes to, her head is pounding, the train is leaving, and a porter helps to rush her aboard.
Feeling stifled by the heat and cigarette smoke and looking very much worse for wear, Iris finds little comfort in her compartment mates from Croatia, including the aloof Baroness and her cadre.
The exception is Miss Froy (Selina Cadell, Doc Martin, The Amazing Mrs Pritchard), a pleasant, if not chatty, older Englishwoman, with whom Iris has tea. It’s a short-lived cuppa, though, as Iris is still reeling from the effects of having fainted.
When she awakens from a nap to ease her aching head, Iris finds Miss Froy is missing. Atypical as it is for the usually self-absorbed socialite, she goes in search of Miss Froy.
It is during this quest that she meets young Englishman Max Hare (Tom Hughes, Silk, Page Eight) and his Oxford professor (Alex Jennings, Cranford, Whitechapel), both of whom befriend and try to help Iris locate the missing woman.
But with fellow passengers denying that Miss Froy was ever there, and the Baroness’ doctor diagnosing Iris as suffering from sunstroke, Max and the professor have doubts as to the existence of the supposedly missing woman and to Iris’ sanity.
Is Iris delusional and mad? If Miss Froy had been there, why would a train full of people, mostly strangers to each other, conspire to deny it?
The plot thickens, and this stylish adaptation of The Lady Vanishes costars a number of familiar British TV faces, including Stephanie Cole (Doc Martin), Keeley Hawes (Upstairs, Downstairs), Gemma Jones (MI-5), Sandy McDade (Lark Rise to Candleford), Julian Rhind-Tutt (The Hour), and Pip Torrens (Law & Order: UK).
The Lady Vanishes premieres on Masterpiece: Mystery! on PBS this Sunday, 18 August, at 9PM Eastern (check your local listings).