The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries

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The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries
Genre Crime drama
Written by
  • Various
Directed by
  • Various
Country of origin
  • United Kingdom
Original language
  • English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes9 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
  • George Gallacio
  • Raghav Shome
  • Diana Kyle
  • Michael Bartley
Production location
  • United Kingdom
Running time90 minutes
Original network
Picture format 4:3
Audio format Mono
Original release23 December 1990 (1990-12-23) 
29 August 1994 (1994-08-29)

The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries is a British detective television series, broadcast on BBC1, which was adapted from nine of the novels by Dame Ngaio Marsh, featuring the character Chief Inspector Roderick Alleyn. The pilot episode was shown in 1990, with Simon Williams playing the part of Alleyn. Two series followed in 1993 and 1994, with Patrick Malahide replacing Williams in the title role.



In the pilot episode, the character of Alleyn was played by Simon Williams. William Simons was cast as Alleyn's right-hand man and "Dr Watson", Detective Inspector Fox, and Belinda Lang starred as painter Agatha Troy, Alleyn's love interest. When a full series finally came to screen three years later, Simon Williams was unavailable, and the role of Alleyn was filled by Patrick Malahide, while Simons and Lang reprised their roles. Over the course of two series, eight episodes were broadcast, each focusing on a separate novel in the series. Both Malahide series were released on DVD in 2007, via Acorn Media. [1] In 2011, Acorn acquired the rights to the pilot, and in 2012, issued a repackaged version of the set containing the Williams pilot. [2] This set was also released in Australia. [3] Unlike the original novels, whose first story takes place as early as 1934, after World War I, the pilot and thus all subsequent episodes take place after World War II, with "Artists in Crime" being set in late 1948.



Pilot (1990)

Episode #TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal airdateYear of Source Novel
1"Artists in Crime" Silvio Narizzano Trevor Bowen 23 December 1990 (1990-12-23)1938
After an artist's model dies in a suspicious incident, Alleyn and his down-to-earth assistant Fox investigate. Matters get complicated with a houseful of suspects, blackmail, another death, and Alleyn's growing attraction to the painter Agatha Troy.

Series 1 (1993)

Episode #TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal airdateYear of Source Novel
2"A Man Lay Dead" Sarah Pia Anderson Barbara Machin18 April 1993 (1993-04-18)1934
Alleyn cancels his holiday with Troy to investigate a murder connected to a stolen chalice, but he's called when a second murder occurs at uncle's estate.
3"The Nursing Home Murder" Silvio Narizzano Kevin Laffan 25 April 1993 (1993-04-25)1935
A member of Parliament who has taken controversial stands on Palestine and A-bomb development is murdered during a routine appendectomy.
4"Final Curtain"Martyn Friend Hugh Leonard 2 May 1993 (1993-05-02)1947
An egotistical Shakespearean ham actor gathers his dysfunctional extended family in his mansion on his 75th birthday for the reading of his will.
5"Death at the Bar" Michael Winterbottom Alfred Shaughnessy 9 May 1993 (1993-05-09)1939
During a display of dart throwing in a Cornish pub a man's hand is impaled by a dart, and he dies shortly afterward from cyanide - although no one can explain how.
6"Death in a White Tie"John WoodsKen Jones16 May 1993 (1993-05-16)1938
Alleyn enlists the help of his friend Lord Robert "Bunchy" Gospell to uncover a society blackmailer. After Lord Robert is killed, a murder hunt follows among the world of titled heiresses, gamblers and adulterers.

Series 2 (1994)

Episode #TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal airdateYear of Source Novel
7"Hand in Glove"Martyn FriendKen Jones10 January 1994 (1994-01-10)1962
A divorced and disliked man living in a nobleman's estate is found in a sewer ditch after someone rolled a concrete pipe on his head.
8"Dead Water"John Woods Trevor Bowen 1 April 1994 (1994-04-01)1964
Alleyn's old French teacher, the landlord of an idyllic Scottish island, is receiving death threats because she's blocking its development as a health spa.
9"Scales of Justice" Jim Goddard Cyril Williams29 August 1994 (1994-08-29)1958
The publication of a war hero's memoirs and his dispute with a neighbouring fisherman about poaching leads to a murder.

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<i>Death in a White Tie</i> 1938 novel by Ngaio Marsh

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<i>Overture to Death</i>

Overture to Death is a detective novel by Ngaio Marsh; it is the eighth novel to feature Roderick Alleyn, and was first published in 1939. The plot concerns a murder during an amateur theatrical performance in a Dorset village, which Alleyn and his colleague Fox are dispatched from Scotland Yard to investigate and duly solve.

<i>Colour Scheme</i>

Colour Scheme is a detective novel by Ngaio Marsh; it is the twelfth novel to feature Roderick Alleyn, and was first published in 1943. The novel takes place in New Zealand during World War II; the plot involves suspected espionage activity at a hot springs resort on the coast of New Zealand's Northland region and a gruesome murder whose solution exposes the spy. Alleyn himself is working for military intelligence in their counterespionage division. Marsh's next novel Died in the Wool also concerns Alleyn's counterespionage work in New Zealand.

<i>Swing Brother Swing</i>

Swing, Brother, Swing is a detective novel by Ngaio Marsh; it is the fifteenth novel to feature Roderick Alleyn, and was first published in 1949. The plot concerns the murder of a big band accordionist in London; the novel was published as A Wreath for Rivera in the United States.

<i>Scales of Justice</i> (novel) 1955 detective novel by Ngaio Marsh

Scales of Justice is a detective novel by Ngaio Marsh. it is the eighteenth novel to feature Roderick Alleyn, and was first published in 1955. With a classic 'Golden Age' crime novel's setting, in the idyllic, self-contained, rural English community of Swevenings, the suspects all members of a tight-knit social group revolving around the local baronet and his family, the plot concerns the brutal murder of Colonel Carterette, an enthusiastic fisherman, who is preparing for publication the deceased squire's memoirs, which include the admission that as a high-ranking diplomat before World War Two, the baronet had treasonably put class before country in what has been called the Herrenvolk heresy, and knowingly let a young member of the embassy staff take the blame. The young man in question, who idolised the Lacklander ambassador, had committed suicide and his eccentric father is now the murdered colonel's neighbour.

<i>Hand in Glove</i> (novel)

Hand in Glove is a detective novel by Ngaio Marsh; it is the twenty-second novel to feature Roderick Alleyn, and was first published in 1962. This story finds its way into an upper society party gone astray into the path of precarious murder.

<i>Dead Water</i> (novel)

Dead Water is a detective novel by Ngaio Marsh; it is the twenty-third novel to feature Roderick Alleyn, and was first published in 1964.


  1. "The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries". 14 May 2007 via Amazon.
  2. "Inspector Alleyn - The Complete Series". 18 June 2012 via Amazon.
  3. "The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries - The Complete Series (5 DVD Set) DVD" via Amazon.