Friday, March 7, 2014

Have His Carcase, Lord Peter Wimsey, Anglophile Friday

Three of the Dorothy L. Sayers 'Lord Peter Wimsey' novels, set in the 1930s England, were made into movies in the late 1980s, starring Edward Petherbridge and Harriet Walter (both Shakespearean actors). In the book, 'Strong Poison,' Harriet, a mystery writer, had endured a harrowing murder trial, having been accused of poisoning her ex lover. In the end, she was acquitted, thanks in part (in great part) to the indefatigable super sleuth Lord Peter Wimlsey, aristocratic, witty, and ... persistent in his attempts to persuade Miss Vane to marry him.

No deal. She decided that what she needed more than to get into another relationship was to head out to the West Country to clear her head, try to forget the past hideous months, and begin work on her newest novel, 'The Fountain Pen Mystery.'

 Harriet, backpack and sensible shoes, 
walking along the coast of The West Country

But where is that coastline in the photos?
Where was Have His Carcase filmed??

I have been wondering that ever since I saw the movie.  Wouldn't it be fun to discover the location and walk along that coastline.

 Harriet Vane
'whilst working on the plot of her latest novel...'
Harriet closes her eyes to think, and like most of us, soon falls asleep.

Many times I've looked at various sites on the internet, trying to find the answer to my question, but all was in vain (get it? Vane.)

When Harriet awakens, she hears vultures (or some bird of prey), and looks up to see them circling overhead. She also notices that the tide is coming in, and eventually discovers a man, presumably asleep, on [Flatiron] rock. In an attempt to wake him so that he doesn't get trapped by the tide, Harriet climbs the rock and discovers much to her horror...a bloody body whose throat had been cut.

NOTE:  In response to Vee's comment below, the only blood shown is in the few seconds that we see the body on the rock and then much later in the movie when Lord Peter, Bunter, and Harriet are reviewing the sequence of events. Only a few seconds, and you can always fast forward through that. I don't like to see blood either. :-) 

 Harriet Walter, doing the best job I've ever seen 
of someone being totally repulsed by a horrid sight.
You've got to watch this to believe it.

With the tide coming in and no other options available to her, Harriet takes photos of the body, tests one of the shoes against a footprint on the rock (or beach), and picks up a straight-edge razor that was near the body,

 Harriet Vane, hands spattered in blood

and manages to pull a glove off one of the hands. These items she puts into her backpack (I'm sure the Brits have a better word for it, like satchel or something,) and heads down the road to find the nearest place where she can telephone the London newspaper (to give them the scoop on the bloody body on the beach, and get a little promotion for her new novel at the same time)...and the police.

Lord Peter and Harriet Vane
Back at Flatiron Rock, the scene of the crime.

 Lord Peter, Bunter (his valet) and Harriet Vane,
wondering why the expensive razor of a prominent barber (Endicott)
would be found on a bearded man who wore shabby footwear and couldn't afford a new hat.

Having Tea at The Resplendent in Wilvercombe

You'll have to watch the three movies, 'Strong Poison,' 'Have His Carcase,' and 'Gaudy Night,' if you want some seriously good mysteries. All the Lord Peter Wimsey books by Dorothy L. Sayers, and there are several, make great reading. But if you enjoy great costuming, as I do, track down the DVDs.

I got carried away in the telling of the tale.  The whole point of this post was, that after searching for what seemed ever - to find the filming location of 'Have His Carcase,' I discovered it just the other day, online.

On a site called, VulpesLibris  in an interview with Edward Petherbridge, he mentions, "It was the end of a happy collaboration; the early mornings in muddy car parks on location near Lulworth Cove for Have His Carcase..."

And, coincidentally, I had just recently heard of Lulworth Cove for the first time. Last week, Mike Biles wrote about Lulworth Cove on his blog. So now, if anyone else wanted to know where Have His Carcase was filmed, it was at Lulworth Cove in Dorset. And if you want some great photos and a fun and witty post, find it at A Bit About Britain.

Mystery solved. Finally.

As for Have His Carcase, you'll have to read (or watch) it yourself to see how it ends - and for the sheer pleasure of hearing Lord Peter talk 'piffle.'

All photos in this post are from the BBC DVD of Have His Carcase, except for the one below, which was from the UK Telegraph.

By the way, Downton Abbey fans would recognize Harriet Walter in another recent role she played, that of Lady Shackleton.

Lady Shackleton and the Dowager Countess
at Tea


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Denise said...

Very interesting.

Pamela Gordon said...

This sounds like a wonderful series to watch. I love British movies and dramas. They do them so well don't they? Have a wonderful weekend.

Primitive Stars said...

Morning, I also find this series very interesting, beautiful scenery, Blessings Francine.

Vee said...

Oh you make me want to find them...though I am not much for mysteries nor blood. I enjoyed the discussion about learning the location...gotta love serendipity.

Anonymous said...
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Lynn Blaylock said...

You've gotten me interested in these stories..Blessings!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I love mysteries, too! How interesting and this actress is also in Sense and Sensibility. She is GOOD! Love this post! I want to see more...and know more now! Hugs!

Lady Linda said...

How fun is this!!!! What a great and interesting blog post.
How are you doing this week?
Thinking about you.

podso said...

There's always something interesting on your blog. Now I want to track them down. Have a good weekend.

Noelle the dreamer said...

And the answer is...RUCKSACK (sorry, not sure where this part of the coastline is!)
Any pains these days?

camp and cottage living said...

Thank you for the detailed review of the Lord Peter Wimsey mystery.
Tim and I are always looking for good, clean mysteries we can buy or watch.
You mentioned Campion the other day. We have viewed them and I think you would like them too. Not as good as the books, of course. But what usually is?

Terri D said...

I always enjoy the movies, shows, and books that you recommend. I have actually read Dorothy Sayers' mysteries before, and enjoy them. I'll make not to look for the movies on Acorn TV. So glad you finally solved your own mystery!!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Just fascinating, Judy! You are quite the sleuth!



Heide at ApronHistory said...

Mandy and I love Lord Peter! We have read, watched and listened to his mysteries. I will never forget listening to The Nine Tailors read by Ian Carmichael, gives me goose bumps just thinking about it!

Heide at ApronHistory said...

Oh by the way, I think backpacks are called rucksacks, haversacks or knapsacks in England.

Rose said...

Hello Judy,

I was so pleased to find your blog about 'Have His Carcase' as I too had wanted to know the exact location of the beach. I once searched and found the answer but of course I didn't make note of it and when looking again could not find it. I have been to Lulworth Cove and after reading your blog I searched maps and nearby beaches online and thought it might be a neighbouring beach as Lulworth doesn't have the huge rocks seen in 'Have His Carcase'.

I do know and have been to the location for the exterior of the 'Resplendant Hotel' which I came upon by chance in Sidmouth, Devon. It is on the sea front and known as 'The Belmont'

I was about to post on this site when just this week the BBC showed a new adaptation of Jamaica Inn starring Jessica Brown Findlay (Lady Sybil in Downton Abbey). IMDB lists several filming locations in Yorkshire but not the beach scenes where the smuggling and ship wrecking happens.

As soon as I saw the huge rocks coming out of the sea, referred to as the Grinders in the programme I knew this was THE BEACH from 'Have His Carcase'. I may not have been so aware had I not seen the photo on your blog showing them in the background behind Harriet Vane.

The location is Holywell Bay, near Newquay in Cornwall and those huge rocks are known as Gull Rocks.

However THE ROCK where the body lay was not seen but a bit of googling found that it was known as Pinnacle Rock. There are photos online from the 1930s and 1960s showing he same rock being much taller at one end. By 1987 this had obviously eroded.

I am as sure as I can be that we have now got the correct location but would appreciate your views.

Best wishes


Cranberry Morning said...

Rose, please send me your email address so we can discuss this further. How fun that you have made this discovery! And I've never heard of Jamaica Inn, but will check it out. When I tried to reply to your comment, you show up as a 'no-reply blogger,' and when I clicked on your name, it took me to your profile, but there was no information there.

howell williams said...

Hi, this has nothing to do with locations,but my cat is the spitting image of your lovely cat,whose name is llewellyn. welsh you know.(named after the last prince of wales. best regards howell.


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