Armchair Thrillers Review

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Are you sitting uncomfortably?


Two ITV serials from 1978, doling out suspense and mystery in 25-minute episodes. Rachel In Danger, by John Bowen, has a Scots girl duped by a terrorist who pretends to be the father she’s never met and uses her in a scheme to kill the Queen. It’s gripping, and surprisingly timely, but not a patch on Bowen’s excellent adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s A Dog’s Ransom, which starts with a bitter old git writing anonymous letters and kidnapping a publisher’s poodle, then puts the screws on an upper-class policeman (Brian Stirner) who gets involved in the case and finds himself stalked by a copper (Paul Angelis) who makes Gene Hunt look like Polly Toynbee. Acute observation, clever plotting and ratcheting suspense will keep you watching over six tricksy episodes.