One of the most popular of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, "The Blue Carbuncle" is given exciting treatment in this Granada Television adaptation, featuring Jeremy Brett and David Burke in definitive performances as the famous detective and his ally and chronicler, Dr. Watson. The story concerns the disappearance of a gem called the Blue Carbuncle, which is linked to a terrible history of murders, suicides, attacks, and robberies. The jewel's trail leads Holmes all over wintry London and to a decision that stuns Watson in its legal and ethical implications. Tightly woven and cleverly adapted from the page, "The Blue Carbuncle" is a worthy telling of a classic tale.
Just as Holmes is lamenting the state of his investigation practice, a letter arrives from a Violet Hunter (Natasha Richardson), who seeks advice on whether to accept a position as governess at the Copper Beeches, the home of a genuine oddball named Jephro Rucastle (Joss Ackland) and his equally strange family. This fine adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's clever mystery "The Copper Beeches" is absolutely engrossing, and as usual Brett's performance as the famed detective is flawless and true to Doyle's original vision. Burke does his typically stellar work as Watson, and the addition of one great veteran (Ackland) and one talented then-newcomer (Richardson) to the cast is a real treat. --Tom Keogh