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Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Murder Of Sherlock Holmes (1984)

A recent small town widow (Angela Lansbury) writes a murder mystery to pass the time. Without her knowledge, her nephew (Michael Horton) submits the novel to a publishing house. To her surprise, the book becomes a huge best seller and she finds herself an instant celebrity. When her publisher (Arthur Hill) invites her to his posh country estate for a costume party, things turn ugly when a murdered body turns up in the pool and she finds that writing about murder and confronting a real murder is a very different thing. Back in the "old days", TV networks would make full length movies as either a pilot (if it got ratings, it got greenlighted) or a way of introducing a forthcoming TV series. THE MURDER OF SHERLOCK HOLMES heralded the introduction of Lansbury's Jessica Fletcher and the show that followed MURDER SHE WROTE ran for 11 years! As expected, the telefilm plays out like an extended episode of the show but the extra length allows time for a little more character developments like the mutual attraction between the author and her publisher that appears headed for a romantic involvement. As for the mystery itself, it's cleverly done and Lansbury's Fletcher is such an ingratiating presence (like a more sophisticated Miss Marple) that it's quite easy to see why viewers were entranced for 11 years. Directed by Corey Allen (he played James Dean's rival in REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE). With Andy Garcia, Anne Francis, Brian Keith, Ned Beatty, Raymond St. Jacques, Richard Erdman and Billie Hayes.

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