Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Place of Execution

Masterpiece Theater (PBS) has been airing a two-part film adaptation of A Place of Execution, a novel by Val McDermid, an award-winning British mystery writer.

Both the novel and the movie share a dual plot structure. One plot focuses on the murder investigation as it played out in real time in 1963, while the second plot re-examines the investigation in the present day. One character, George Bennett (the investigator from the original crime) becomes the bridge between the two plots and the two eras. Ms. McDermid's story--on the page or on the small screen--is a multi-layered tale about perception and reality, and it is a fascinating study in psychological suspense. Here is a synopsis of the storyline courtesy of PBS:

Modern-day London: Journalist Catherine Heathcote is making a documentary about Alison Carter, a schoolgirl who vanished from the English village of Scardale in 1963, sparking a major police hunt and making a hero of investigating officer George Bennett.

When George hastily withdraws his cooperation, Catherine is devastated and sets off for Scardale to demand an explanation, accompanied by her rebellious teenage daughter Sasha. As she tries to salvage her documentary, Catherine uncovers new information — but the truth may indict George, the man she so highly admires. A tragic turn of events threatens to silence Catherine's inquiry entirely.

1963: In his first missing person investigation, George Bennett carefully pieces together a case against one of Alison's family members. Incriminating evidence offers a strong link to the apparent murder scene. But under intense questioning, the suspect is unnervingly calm and unwavering — repeatedly claiming innocence.

For a limited time, PBS is enabling viewers to watch the film adaptation online. Part One is available for viewing now. Part Two will be available starting on November 9th. Log on HERE to learn more and tune in.

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