Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Seven Dials Mystery

Cheryl Campbell as Bundle Brent.
Premise:  In the late 1920s, a group of affluent young people are staying at a country estate called The Chimneys when one of them is found dead in his bedroom. Although the incident is ruled "death by misadventure," Gerry Wade suspects that his deceased friend was the victim of foul play. However, before Gerry can provide details, he is murdered. With his dying words, he tells Eileen "Bundle" Brent: "Seven Dials...tell...Jimmy Thesiger." Bundle relays the message to Jimmy and, together with their mutual friend Bill Eversleigh, the trio embark on uncovering the truth about a secret society known as The Seven Dials.

Running Time: 132 minutes.

Status:  The Seven Dials Mystery was originally broadcast in 1981. It was released on DVD in 2004, but is now out of print. It can be streamed in the U.S. on Acorn TV.

Production Notes:  Agatha Christie wrote The Seven Dials Mystery in 1929 as a sequel to The Secret of the Chimneys (1925). Both novels featured the characters of Bundle Brent and Bill Eversleigh. London Weekend Television (LWT) mounted its TV adaptation in 1980 when its earlier mini-series of Christie's novel Why Didn't They Ask Evans? became a ratings hit. When The Seven Dials Mystery likewise garnered a large audience, LWT launched Partners in Crime, a TV series based on Dame Agatha's Tommy and Tuppence novels. James Warwick, who played Jimmy Thesiger in Seven Dials, also starred in Why Didn't They Ask Evans? and Partners in Crime.

Our Review:  The Seven Dials Mystery is an entertaining romp bolstered by the effervescent Cheryl Campbell as Bundle Brent. Whether sleuthing with Jimmy Thesiger or flirting subtly with the reserved Bill Eversleigh (Christopher Scoular), she keeps the plot perking along once she's introduced. The opening scenes without Bundle are a bit plodding, though, and there's no reason for the running time to exceed 100 minutes. While the story may not rank with Agatha Christie's best, there's a well-disguised twist at the climax and John Gielgud provides some dry humor as Bundle's father. The Seven Dials Mystery also affords James Warwick with one of his best roles. He's much more effective here than in Partners in Crime, perhaps because Cheryl Campbell makes for a better partner.

Grade: B+.


  1. My favorite moments in the film are the ones featuring Lady Coote. And also the ones featuring Sir John Gielgud as the Marquis of Caterham. His insult at the very idea of someone dying in his house is a joy to behold. Cheryl Campbell is also a delight.

  2. Cheryl Campbell has recently become a fave in our household. In addition to SEVEN DIALS, she was wonderful in CALL THE MIDWIFE and we're currently watching her in WILLIAM AND MARY (I missed the cast listing and didn't recognize her, but thankfully my wife did).