VOLUME ONE - THE HAMMER OF GOD
- THIS GUIDE CONTAINS SPOILERS!
John Brown, SJ - Kenneth More
The Father Brown Stories by G.K.Chesterton
Advisor - Michael Voysey
Music - Jack Parnell
Cameraman - Tony Mander
Editor - Mike Nunn [#1], Glen Cardno [#2.4]
[#3,5 - uncredited]
- Ian Fordyce
These five episodes are on The
Hammer of God and Other Stories DVD
(Acorn - AV9301)
Hammer of God
TX date: 26/9/74
by Hugh Leonard
- Richard Lake
- Robert Tronson
Father Brown is set in the 1920s.
James Bohun and Elizabeth Barnes are indulging in an adulterous affair. As
the Colonel leaves her house, he is seen by Joe, a simple-minded villager,
and Elizabeth's God fearing blacksmith husband, Simeon, who is returning
Brown, a Catholic priest with "a weakness for puzzles", visits
the town, to conduct the yearly mission in nearby Threlford. The
Deveraux is another visitor: she needs a golf club repaired. Father Brown
overhears an argument between Deveraux and the Colonel's brother, the
Reverend Wilfred Bohun, about the use of her garden for the parish fete.
Deveraux cites the Colonel as the reason for her refusal. The landlord of
The Crusader explains to Wilfred that his brother has made Deveraux's
maid, Molly, pregnant, and warns him that Simeon Barnes may also be
gunning for his brother.
confronts his brother, who is unrepentant, even boastful, when they are
joined by the Colonel's wife, Alex. James intends visiting Elizabeth that
night, while her husband is in Greenford, attending a meeting.
Bohun gives Father Brown a tour of his church, and its relics. Father Brown
takes Elizabeth's confession, and tells her not to see the Colonel
that night the Colonel visits Elizabeth again. The next morning Wilfred is
waiting outside the blacksmith's when James leaves, and they argue, before
James breaks off, to torment Joe.
afterwards James is found with his head caved in, in the graveyard, with a
hammer belonging to the blacksmith beside the body. The villagers gather
in the pub, where Doctor Wynn reveals that James was struck by a single,
supernaturally-powerful blow, which had shattered Bohun's iron helmet.
Also, why would the killer choose a small hammer, when there were far
heftier ones at hand?
Barnes is being interviewed by the police when her husband returns. He has
an alibi, and witnesses who will vouch for him. Nevertheless, he is
Deveraux is another suspect - she has arms "as thick as oak
trees". Maybe Bohun was struck down with her golf club? Reverend
Bohun points the finger of blame at Joe, who wouldn't have the reasoning
to pick a larger hammer, and may also have had the strength to strike the
fatal blow. Father Brown admits that the theory fits the known facts.
Brown climbs the spire of the church to speak to the Reverend Bohun,
telling him that such a view can make a man think he is God. He tells
Bohun that he knows that the Reverend killed his brother by dropping the
hammer from the spire, as the Colonel passed below: "you let God's
thunderbolt fall". Father Brown will not tell the police, however,
trusting that Bohun's conscience will make him confess to the crime.
Reverend turns himself in, and Father Brown leaves for Threlford.
James Bohun - Graham Crowden
Wilfred Bohun - William Russell
Barnes - Geraldine Moffatt
Barnes - John Forgeham
- Alun Armstrong
Wynn - Robert James
Palmer - Roger Hume
James Bohun [Alex] - Anna Steele
- Peter Hawkins
- Harry Walker
Deveraux - Anna Wing
- Frederick Hall
William Russell (or Russell William Enoch, as he's more properly known)
starred in several series during the fifties and sixties, most notably in
the title role in Sapphire Films' The Adventures of Sir Lancelot
(1955). He also played schoolteacher Ian Chesterton in the first
seventy-seven episodes of Doctor Who (between 1963 and 1965). An
accomplished stage actor, Russell has been a member of the Royal
Shakespeare Company, the Old Vic and the National Theatre.
William Russell's film roles include
Above Us The Waves (1955), The Great Escape (1963),
Superman: The Movie (1979) and Bertrand Tavernier's little-seen La
Mort en direct (aka Deathwatch, 1980).
Russell also played Ted Sullivan in
Coronation Street, in 1992. His character, a sales rep for a sweets
manufacturer, married to Rita Fairclough (Barbara Knox), before dying,
three months later, from a brain tumour. Other TV roles include
Heartbeat (2000), The Black Adder (playing the dying Duke of
Winchester, in The Archbishop, 1983), The Professionals (Involvement,
1980), Shoestring (Private Ear, 1979) and Van Der Valk
actor Graham Crowden (who plays the eccentric Colonel Bohun) has been
acting since the 1950s, and has, at one time or other, been a member of
the National Theatre Company at the Old Vic, and the Royal Shakespeare
Company. His film and television roles are usually guest roles that take
advantage of his enormous charisma (and, perhaps not coincidentally, his
Choice film roles include appearances in
Karel Reisz's Morgan: An Unsuitable Case For Treatment (1966),
Peter Medak's The Ruling Class (1972), Robert Fuest's adaptation of
Michael Moorcock's The Final Programme (1973, a.k.a. The Last
Days of Man on Earth) and Terry Gilliam's Jabberwocky. Crowden
has also appeared in several films directed by Lindsay Anderson: If...
(1968), O Lucky Man! (1973) and Britannia Hospital (1982),
and in a number of ribald British comedies, including Percy, Up
The Chastity Belt and The Missionary (1982). He recently played
Annette Crosbie's husband in Calendar Girls.
TV roles include parts in Doctor
Who (The Horns of Nimon, 1979), The Professionals (Spy
Probe, 1982), Star Maidens (1976), Porridge (as the
prison doctor in No Way Out, 1975),
(The Enchanted King, 1971), Callan (as "The Groper" in A
Village Called 'G', 1970) and Danger Man (That's Two of Us
Sorry, 1965). Perhaps his finest television role, however, is as
alcoholic Doctor Jock McCannon in Andrew Davies' A Very Peculiar
Armstrong (who plays Joe) is probably busier now than at any time since he
began his film and TV career, in the early 1970s. His many notable film
credits include Mike Hodges' Get Carter (1971), Ridley Scott's
The Duellists (1977), Clint Eastwood's White Hunter Black Heart
(1990), Mel Gibson's Braveheart (1995), Tim Burton's Sleepy
Hollow (1999) and Stephen Sommers' The Mummy Returns (2001). He
also played Inspector Teal in the 1997 film version of The Saint,
alongside Val Kilmer.
Armstrong's television roles include the
1982 mini-series of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby
(an adaptation of Trevor Nunn's stage version), Willy Russell's play
Our Day Out (1979), and Our Friends in the North (as Austin
Donohue, 1996). In 2003 alone he appeared in the inventive police series
New Tricks (which co-starred Dennis Waterman and James Bolam), as
Brenda Blethyn's nightclub-owning husband in Kay Mellor's Between The
Sheets, Messiah 2: Vengeance is Mine, and in the TV movie
Carrie's War. Other roles include parts in Public Eye (The
Fatted Calf, 1975), The Sweeney (Stay Lucky, Eh?, 1975),
Porridge (A Test of Character, 1977), Enemy at the Door (playing
black marketeer in Officers of the
Law, 1978). He also featured in three episodes of the popular
American sitcom Married... With Children, which found the Bundy
family visiting the UK (1992).
In 2001 Armstrong was nominated for the
Royal Television Society's Best Actor award, for his role in the BAFTA-nominated
mini series This is Personal: The Hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper (Alun
played Assistant Chief Constable George Oldfield).
Hammer of God is a story in the first collection of Father Brown
stories, 1911's The Innocence of Father Brown.
Oracle of the Dog
TX date: 3/10/74
by Peter Wildeblood
- Michael Eve
- Peter Jefferies
drunken Donald Druce arrives at Cranston Grange at 3am, waking his father,
Brown is the Colonel's house guest (he is researching history in the
Colonel's library). Father Brown's researches are disturbed by the
Colonel's secretary, an American, Patrick Floyd, who is arranging a family
Colonel has refused Donald's request for a loan. His daughter, Janet, is
involved with a French doctor, Henri Valentine, a relationship that does
not meet with the Colonel's approval. The Colonel's nephew, Harry, is a former
policeman who has recently returned from service in Bombay, following some unrest
with the local natives. Floyd and Doctor Valentine are witnesses to the
Colonel's new will.
Brown knows Doctor Valentine by another, more
"distinguished", name (The Marquis de Villon). Floyd claims that
Valentine's use of a pseudonym will invalidate the Colonel's will, and brings it to the
Colonel's attention. Later Floyd hears Janet and Valentine discussing a
murder. Floyd also overhears Donald telling Harry that he suspects that he
(Donald) has have been excluded from the Colonel's new will.
discovers her father, dead, in the Summer house. He's been stabbed in the
back with some kind of narrow blade.
family assemble in the drawing room, airing their various alibis and
probing each other's motives. Inspector Cole questions the Colonel's
solicitor, Traill, the last
person to have been with the Colonel, and notes his
"interesting" tie pin. The police also quiz Floyd, who was
pruning the hedges with shears. Donald realises that the Colonel's dog
howled at the precise moment his master was killed, and then barked at
Traill accusingly. Father Brown dismisses their theory: "...and the
moon might be made of stilton". Janet admits that she knew that she
was the sole beneficiary of the Colonel's new will, but she says that she
would have given it all to Donald.
throwaway remark sparks Father Brown's imagination, and he asks Janet, who
is wearing white clothes, as her father was, to go to the Summer house,
and sit where her father had been sitting. Father Brown ponders the
Colonel's fine collection of walking sticks. They walk along the hedge
that backs on to the Summer house, and Father Brown demonstrates that
someone wearing white could be seen through the hedge and the latticework,
and would have been a sitting target. Father Brown suspects Harry. He
throws the Colonel's ebony stick into the lake, for the dog to retrieve.
It sinks, and the dog returns, howling. Father Brown explains that that's
how Harry disposed of the murder weapon: a sword stick. Harry commits
suicide with a shotgun before he can be brought to justice.
Arthur Druce - Rupert Davies
Druce - Guy Slater
Druce - Richard Heffer
Floyd - Bob Sherman
Druce - Mel Martin
Henri Valentine - Gerard Paquis
Traill (The Colonel's Solicitor) - John Atkinson
Cole - Edward Evans
Constable - Michael Stock
- Ben (Trained by John and Mary Holmes)
dog's name is Nox, which is Latin for night.
Brown makes a reference to his absent associate, Flambeaux
Oracle of the Dog is adapted from the third of Chesterton's
collections of Father Brown stories, The Incredulity of Father Brown.
John and Mary Holmes provided trained
animals for numerous TV productions in the sixties, including Doctor
Who and Z-Cars.
Davies was best known to TV viewers in the sixties as the pipe-smoking
French detective Maigret, in the BBC series which aired between
1960 and 1963. It was a role that somewhat typecast the actor, and one he
would return to again in 1969 for a one-off special, Maigret at Bay.
Remarkably all of the series still survives in the BBC archives.
His other notable roles include appearances
in the original BBC version of Quatermass II (1955), The
Champions (Project Zero, 1969), Man in a Suitcase (The
Man Who Stood Still, 1967), Danger Man (The Actor, 1961)
and H.G. Wells' The Invisible Man (The Locked Room, 1959).
Towards the end of his career he appeared
in several less prestigious productions. He played a vampire-hunting
priest in Hammer's Dracula Has Risen From The Grave (1968), was in
General alongside Vincent Price, and appeared with horror genre
icons Christopher Lee, Boris Karloff, Michael Gough and Barbara Steele in
the kitsch Curse of the Crimson Altar (1968). He also added
gravitas to a couple of films shot in mainland Europe for producer Harry
Allan Towers (The Brides of Fu Manchu in 1966, and Five Golden
Dragons, in 1967). In the Harry Allan Towers films he was essentially
reprising his Maigret character, as he did in the quirky Swedish thriller
The Night Visitor.
His final film role was in Pete Walker's
delightfully squalid Frightmare (1974). He died in 1976, aged 60.
With Davies' episodes of Maigret
getting very little exposure in the last couple of decades, it seems
likely that his most enduring role will, ironically, be one in which he's
never seen: he provided the voice for Professor Ian McClaine in Gerry
Anderson's 1968 puppet series Joe 90.
Richard Heffer joined the Bristol Old Vic after leaving university with a
MA Hons degree in English Literature and Language.
His dashing good looks and natural charm
landed him a string of prominent film and television appearances during
the seventies, including starring roles in Colditz for the BBC
(1972, as Captain Tim Downing), and
Enemy at the Door, for LWT (1978-1980). He also made notable guest
appearances in two episodes of Survivors (as Jimmy Garland in A
Beginning and Garland's War, 1975), in Jason King (A
Royal Flush, 1971) and in Department S (Spencer Bodily Is
Sixty Years Old, 1970).
Appearances since then have been more
sporadic, but include the 1992 wartime drama Bomber Harris, the
Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense TV movie Czech Mate (1984)
and the 1998 series Children of the New Forest.
Curse of the Golden Cross
TX date: 17/10/74
by Hugh Leonard
archaeologist Professor Gerald Smaill is exploring a cave system in Crete.
A mysterious voice accuses the Professor of stealing a golden cross, which
display in a museum in England. The voice warns the Professor that he will
months later, on a cruise ship that's just leaving the Bay of
Biscay, the Professor confides in Father Brown, who tells Smaill that his
life may well be in danger: "There's no man more dangerous than one
who thinks he knows the will of God". Smaill shows Father Brown a
piece of paper with a fish design: a sign that the killer is on board ship
with them. Smaill is returning to England to investigate the discovery of
a mummified body in a church crypt, which was apparently found with a gold
cross identical to the one the Professor found in Crete. Their fellow
passengers, including a travel writer, Leonard Smyth, and an American
private detective, Paul Tarrant, have read about the discovery in The
Times, rattling Smaill. It seems that the Professor's wife, Helen, is
having an affair with the Professor's recently-fired assistant, John
Godfrey, who is also onboard.
party arrives in England, where they lodge at the Cliff Edge Hotel, Dulham. They receive an invitation
from the vicar, the Reverend John Walters. They are joined by Boon, a Daily Record
journalist. The Professor receives a
threatening letter, warning him that if he touches the cross he will
dinner the Reverend Walters tells his guests about the excavation, and
confirms that there is indeed a golden cross, which is apparently cursed:
no-one has yet had the courage to move it. Walters tells them about the
history of the cross, which has brought bad luck to everyone that has owned
Reverend's guests enter the tomb, except for Tarrant, who decides to stay
in the crypt. Smaill examines the corpse, and the cross. As soon as he
touches it, there's an accident - the coffin lid slams shut - and Smaill
is wounded. Reverend
Walters is scared out of his wits, and, demented, throws himself off the
edge of the cliff.
Brown realises that Tarrant is snooping on Godfrey, possibly employed by
Godfrey's wife, suspecting his affair with Helen Smaill.
Brown reveals that Reverend Walters was murdered. He realises there's a flaw in
the Reverend's stories about the discovery, however, and visits the tomb, where he
finds Walters alive: he concocted the story to lure Smaill into a
trap. In fact "Walters" is an impersonator - the real Walters is
the body in the tomb - and "Walters" is Smaill's stalker.
"Walters" threatens Father Brown, who is rescued by the timely
Gerald Smaill - James Maxwell
Rev. John Walters - Peter Copley
Diana Wales - Sarah Lawson
Smyth - Geoffrey Chater
Smaill - Gwyneth Powell
Godfrey - Peter Penry-Jones
- Stanley Lebor
Tarrant - Lawrence Trimble
- Hector Ross
- Ronald Mayer
Guide - Bella Emberg
Curse of the Golden Cross was one of the two episodes of the series
that were commercially released on VHS. It appeared on Action Classics
- Volume 3, an ITC videotape released in March 1994.
Vic-trained character actor Peter Copley (The Reverend John Walters) was
born in Bushey, Hertfordshire in 1915.
He cropped up in
many British TV series during the 60s and 70s. His
memorable appearances include playing the pragmatic Doctor Bronson in the
opening episode of Survivors (The Fourth Horseman, 1975),
Doctor Warlock in the Tom Baker Doctor Who story Pyramids of
Mars (1975), and two roles in The Avengers (in The White
Dwarf, 1963, and All Done With Mirrors, 1968). He also appeared
in The Saint (The Sign of the Claw, 1965), Danger Man (Yesterday's
Enemies, 1964), three episodes of the BBC science-fiction anthology
series Out of the Unknown (Stranger in the Family, 1965, Immortality
Inc, 1969 and Taste of Evil, 1971), The Champions (Project
Zero, 1969), Doomwatch (Burial at Sea, 1970), Department
S (Death on Reflection, 1969), Callan (The Carrier,
1972), Tales of the Unexpected (There's One Born Every Minute,
1981), Hot Metal (Religion of the People) and One Foot in
the Grave (The Eternal Quadrangle, 1990). His film roles
include the Beatles movie Help! (1965), the Hammer version of Quatermass
and the Pit (1967), Hammer's Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969) and
Spielberg's Empire of the Sun (1987).
Powell (who plays Helen Smaill) is known to an entire generation of young
adults as Bridget 'The Midget' McClusky, head teacher of Grange Hill,
between 1981 and 1984. and again between 1986 and 1991.
She's also appeared in Public Eye (Unlucky
For Some, 1975), The Gentle Touch (as DI Mary Woods in Dany
in 1982 and The Conference, in 1984), and as Kitty Rayford in
three consecutive 1997 episodes of A Touch of Frost (Penny For
The Guy, House Calls and True Confessions).
Curse of the Golden Cross is a story in Chesterton's 1926 collection
of Father Brown stories, The Incredulity of Father Brown.
Eye of Apollo
TX date: 17/10/74
by Hugh Leonard
- Peter Jefferies
Brown's friend Hercule Flambeau has just moved into a brand new office, in
the same American-style building as a secretarial agency run by sisters
Pauline and Joan Stacey. Flambeau is visited by Father Brown. As they
leave they encounter another tenant, the charismatic be-robed pagan sun
worshipper, Kalon, a self-styled "priest of Apollo". Flambeau
has a client: the Stacey's blind aunt, Miss Ammerley, accompanied by her
aide, Thurston. She tells Flambeau that she has bequeathed her wealth to
the industrious Pauline, but is worried his nieces has fallen under
Kalon's influence. She is alarmed to find them under the same roof.
Ammerley hires Flambeau to investigate Kalon.
fiancee, Gerald Lloyd, pleads with Pauline for money to invest in his plan
to make a new kind of radio valves.
has discovered Kalon's real name - Arthur Stapleton - a con-man who
recently served in prison, a fact he admits to Pauline over dinner.
Brown, returning after a three week retreat in the country, visits Kalon,
as "one professional to another". As Kalon carries out his daily
noon worship a scream rings out. Pauline is found dead at the bottom of
the lift shaft.
Corliss, believing the death to be an accident, questions the various
tenants, and establishes where everyone was when Pauline died. Only
Thurston, who was visiting Flambeau (who was at lunch), is unaccounted
for. Father Brown, suspecting murder, directs the Inspector to an
un-posted legal document: a new will drawn up by Pauline, and witnessed by
Joan and Gerald. Kalon tells the Inspector that he had refused Pauline's
money, but had agreed to be the beneficiary of Pauline's will.
and Thurston arrive to dispute the validity of Pauline's will, claiming
that if she did commit suicide, she was not of sound mind. Corliss arrives
with the unopened will. Thurston is allowed to read it, but most of the
text is unreadable, as if the ink had run out. Unless the will is proved,
Joan will inherit her sister's money, a solution that satisfies Ammerley.
A chance remark ("In poor Pauline's eyes money was valueless")
prompts Father Brown to realise that there are, in fact, two crimes,
committed by two criminals.
Brown, Flambeau Inspector Corliss and Joan visit Kalon. Brown reveals that
Pauline's eyesight had failed, and that she was seeking therapy from
Kalon's curative preaching. Kalon had persuaded Pauline to write the new
will, but Joan, the only other person who knew Pauline's secret, had
deliberately given her an empty pen. Knowing that she had written a new
will, Kalon had left the lift doors open, hurrying her to join him in
bathing in the light of the midday sun. Father Brown explains that he had
always suspected Kalon, because he hadn't even paused in his chanting when
- Dennis Burgess
(Arthur Stapleton) - Ronald Pickup
Stacey - Alison Key
Stacey - Emily Richard
Ammerley - Rosamund Greenwood
- Dudley Jones
Lloyd - Christopher Good
Inspector Corliss - Oliver Ford-Davies
Constable - Ken Halliwell
is equally sneery about Father Brown's religious beliefs, calling him
Caiphas. I am indebted to Reverend Father J.T. Zuhlsdorf for an
Caiphas or Caiaphas was High-Priest of the Jews during the time of the
Roman procurator Valerius Gratus, the predecessor of Pontius Pilate, about
AD 18. He was and removed from that office by the procurator Vitellius
after he took charge n AD 36.
this period the famous Annas, father-in-law of Caiaphas (John 18, 13), who
had been high-priest from AD 6-15, exercised great influence through his
son-in-law Caiaphas over Jewish affairs and in particular at the trial of
The Eye of Apollo features in the
first father Brown collection, The Innocence of Father Brown.
character of Flambeau is an important one in the Father Brown novels, but
is very casually introduced in this episode. In this episode he appears to
be no more important than any of the other single-episode characters.
Pickup (who plays Kalon) possesses one of the most distinctive voices in
the business, which has no doubt contributed to his a successful career
which now spans five decades.
He made his television debut in 1964,
playing a physician in the Doctor Who story The Reign of Terror,
alongside William Hartnell as The Doctor. Since then he's appeared in
dozens of series, guesting as well-spoken villains, dodgy politicians, and
landed gentry of all descriptions. Memorable appearances include playing
Barrymore in the Jeremy Brett version of The Hound of the Baskerviles;
Sir Antony Villiers in an outstanding episode of Bergerac, Burnt;
and as Richard Browning in Dennis Potter's 1994 Performance play
A Message For Posterity. He also provided the voice of Aslan the lion
in the BBC's The Chronicles of Narnia trilogy (The Lion The
Witch and the Wardrobe, in 1988, and Prince Caspian and the Voyage
of the Dawn Treader and The Silver Chair, in 1989).
Three Tools of Death
Adapted by Hugh Leonard
Designer - Richard
Father Brown has been participating in a BBC radio programme called
Straight Talking About the Afterlife, along with a jovial, teetotal
Scottish philanthropist, Sir Aaron Armstrong.
Father Brown visits Armstrong the next
morning, seeking funds for a school for deaf children. As he approaches
the house he hears gunshots. Father Brown, the milkman, and Sir Aaron's
wife, Lady Armstrong, discover his body in the garden. They are joined by
his bloodstained daughter, Alice. A shadowy figure slips quietly away.
Fifteen thousand pounds worth of bearer bonds are missing.
Brown tells Chief Inspector Gilder that he
suspects that Sir Aaron had been bound and thrown from the attic window.
Indeed, there are signs of a struggle. Father Brown points out that there
are several possible murder weapons at hand, and yet Sir Aaron died from a
fall? Father Brown finds six bullets embedded in the floor. Sir Aaron's
secretary, Irishman Patrick Royce, and Lady Armstrong join the
investigation. Sir Aaron's devoted manservant / bodyguard, Magnus, is
Royce tells father Brown how Sir Aaron
helped him, when he was a broken-down drunkard. Later, Lady Armstrong
tells Father Brown that Royce had cleverly manipulated himself into Sir
Aaron's employ, and had become romantically involved with her
step-daughter, Alice. Three weeks ago, Royce had asked Sir Aaron for his
daughter's hand in marriage, but Sir Aaron had responded by firing him,
and telling him to come back in three years' time, in order to test his
new-found sobriety and the strength of his character. Royce was a week
away from serving out his month's notice.
Magnus has submitted himself to police
custody, with the bearer bonds.
Father Brown demonstrates to Detective
Sergeant Merton that it would be impossible to discharge six shots,
closely grouped together, if there had been a struggle for control of a
Magnus returns to the house, claiming that
Lady Armstrong had been unfaithful; Royce wanted Sir Aaron's money; and
Alice Armstrong had argued with Sir Aaron about his decision to discharge
Royce. He says that he found Alice in the attic with a knife in her hand,
when Sir Aaron was killed. Alice admits to being in the room when her
father was killed, but denies hating him, and killing him. Royce admits
that he killed Sir Aaron, after being discovered, drunk. Alice had cut
Royce's hand in the melee, explaining the blood (there were no wounds on
Sir Aaron's body). Father Brown reluctantly leaves, with many questions
Royce asks to see Father Brown, to offer
his confession, in confidence. Royce begins by admitting to "one lie on my
conscience". Suddenly Father Brown refuses to hear Royce's confession,
realising that Royce is trying to ensure his silence, fearing that he is
close to discovering - and revealing - the truth.
Father Brown visits Alice. She tells him
that she heard Patrick arguing with Sir Aaron, and saw him holding the
rope. She grabbed the knife, and cut the rope, injuring Patrick as they
struggled, before fainting. She believes Royce killed her father.
Father Brown has solved the puzzle: Sir
Aaron committed suicide. He had discovered that Lady Armstrong had been
unfaithful, and had turned to alcohol, intending to end his life rather
than have his public facade of cheerfulness cracked open. Royce had
discovered Sir Aaron in the depths of his misery, and had struggled to
prevent the old man from killing himself. Alice had interrupted them,
severing the rope which Royce had secured around Sir Aaron to prevent him
from throwing himself out of the window.
Sir Aaron Armstrong - James Hayter
Patrick Royce - John Flanagan
Chief Inspector Gilder - Anthony Dutton
Lady Armstrong - Anne Godley
Alice Armstrong - Nina Thomas
Magnus - Jacob Witkin
Detective Sergeant Merton - David Morton
Milkman - Keith James
Moderator - Neville Hughes
Duty Sergeant - Cyril Cross
The Three Tools of Death is one of
the stories in the first father Brown collection, The Innocence of
Hayter (Sir Aaron Armstrong) enjoyed an impressive career in films between
1936 and 1972, including a leading role in The Pickwick Papers
(1952, as Samuel Pickwick). He also appeared as Ned and Charles Cheeryble
in Alberto Cavalcanti's 1947 version of Nicholas Nickleby, as the
Commissionaire in Passport to Pimlico (1949), and as Friar Tuck in
two Robin Hood movies: Disney's The Story of Robin Hood (1952) and
Hammer's A Challenge For Robin Hood (1967). He also appeared in a
couple of other Hammer films (Four
Sided Triangle, in 1953, and The Horror of Frankenstein, in
1970), and in the 1970 Tigon horror film Blood on Satan's Claw.
In 1959 he appeared with Kenneth More in
The Thirty-Nine Steps. Hayter played Mr Memory, and More starred as
the dashing Richard Hannay. They'd previously been in two other films
together: the 1950 submarine drama Morning Departure, and the 1946
film School for Secrets.
Hayter's TV roles included a stint in
Are You Being Served (as the bewigged head of the gentlemen's
department, Mr Tebbs), and as Captain Webster in The Onedin Line.
Guest roles included The Avengers episode A Funny Thing Happened
on the Way To The Station, in 1967. He died in 1983.
John Flanagan (Patrick Royce) is also a successful TV script-writer, with
episodes of Doctor Who, Robin of Sherwood, Heartbeat
and Pie in the Sky to his credit.
He's also appeared in two episodes of the
ITC series Thriller (The Double Take, in 1975, and Kill
Two Birds, in 1976), as well as episodes of Secret Army, Man
About The House, and Casualty. He also appeared in a couple of
early episodes of The Sweeney, as Detective Sergeant Matthews.