Period drama series. When Mrs McCarthy takes over the running of the mobile library, Father Brown discovers a shocking secret.
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I was just...
Even in our most private moments, someone is watching us.
Shall we join the others?
That's lovely, ladies.
One more for luck. This is for the front page, after all.
I can't thank you enough.
With this money, the mobile library service will be able to
deliver a free book to every child in the district.
But the real praise should go to our generous congregation,
who have baked and baked and sold enough cakes
to feed Kembleford ten times over!
Do you mind?
What did I say about upsetting the clients?
Sorry, Mr Cartwright.
Get the kit in the car and stop making a nuisance of yourself!
My apologies, madam.
How's about I do you a discount on one of our portrait packages
by way of compensation?
I can see you'd be a natural in front of the camera.
Not if you were the last photographer on earth.
Father Brown, just a word?
I promised to help with the refreshments.
Oh, it will only take a minute.
Em, I was looking at our lending log, and...
Well, yes, when I think about it, I...
-I may have one or two overdue items.
-One or two?
Little did I know I've spent all this time working alongside
the Great Kembleford Book Thief!
I've been meaning to take them back for weeks.
Huh, codswallop! You are a hoarder, that's what you are.
I only hope you have enough money in your pocket
to cover all those fines.
I thought there might be a discount for the clergy.
Quick! There's been a dreadful accident!
I only popped out to deliver the latest Graham Greene
to Mr Entwhistle. And when I got back...
She's dead, isn't she?
Thank you, Doctor. I'll telephone the surgery if we need you.
Well, Margaret, it seems you're very fortunate.
-I don't know.
No broken bones. And didn't the doctor say you'll be
back on your feet in a couple of days?
Have you remembered anything?
Well... It's all a bit of a blur.
-Ada wasn't hurt, was she?
-She wasn't there when it happened.
It was Miss Rawlins who found you and then called for help.
I've always said that van's a deathtrap.
It's not been serviced in years.
Graham, will you stop going on about it?
And it's just a... It's a silly accident, that's all.
And you're not to worry about the mobile library.
Because I'm going to step into the breach until you're feeling better.
Well, that won't be necessary,
because I will be fine in a couple of...
What you need is a good, long rest.
And in any case, I've always thought I had the temperament
to make rather a good librarian.
It's true. She's often telling me to be quiet.
I'm the only one who can get the van started.
It's a very specific knack.
Well, you're going to have to teach me, then, aren't you?
Well, if you insist. But just for a couple of days.
Make sure she stays in that bed until she's properly recovered.
Ho-ho, you've clearly never tried telling my wife what to do!
-How's Mrs Cartwright?
-Bruised, battered but unbowed.
Glad to hear it.
I was wondering, is it all right if I use the darkroom after hours?
As long as the studio work's finished.
But tidy up after yourself this time,
it was in a right state this morning.
Sorry, Mr Cartwright. I'll leave it exactly as I find it.
-Is he one of yours?
Yes, he's been coming to St Mary's for years.
Well, if you find his brain in your lost property,
do return it to its rightful owner.
What a wonderful word.
Cacoethes. "A sudden urge to do something inadvisable."
Is there any chance you might get a "sudden urge" to give us a hand?
Why don't we stay closed until Mrs Cartwright's better?
And leave the elderly and infirm without the comfort of a good book?
Over my dead body.
And here we have our first customer!
Actually, I'm here to see Miss Rawlins.
I'm working, Lewis.
Later then? We need to talk. It's important.
-Stop by the studio after work?
Mmm. Playing hard to get, eh? I approve.
If you don't mind, it's private.
Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.
It's been one week since my last confession.
God is listening.
It's... I-I've got this secret.
And it's not just me, there are other people involved.
I don't know what to do, I'm so confused.
The Seal of the Confessional is absolute.
You can be honest before God.
Why are you confused?
Well, when Adam first saw Eve, she was naked, right?
-So...was that a sin?
For him to look at her, I mean.
No. He looked upon her in innocence.
-Because the thing is, a little while ago...
Sorry, I can't!
-All right there?
-Oh, can I help you?
-I was looking for something on butterflies.
Can you be any more specific?
Well, I'm quite fond of the more exotic species.
Ah, I meant are you looking for a reference book or..?
Oh, ah - I almost forgot.
I don't understand.
Can I help with anything?
Eh, I was just paying my overdue fees.
He's looking for something on butterflies.
-I'll come back another time.
-Oh, no, it's no trouble.
No, I just remembered somewhere I have to be.
You probably don't remember me, Mrs McCarthy.
How could I forget you, Harold?
I'm very good with faces, and of course we were extremely grateful
for your assistance when Father Brown had his little spot of bother.
It were my pleasure. And may I say how lovely you're looking today?
-What was that?
-It was just a cat.
That's no cat.
Graham. Graham, what are you doing?
You stay up here.
(Graham, you can't do that! You'll get hurt!)
Is someone down here?
There you go, sir.
Thank you, Sergeant.
Why can't people do the decent thing and die at a more sociable hour?
Best time of the day if you ask me, Inspector.
BIRDSONG AND BELLS TOLL
Looks straightforward enough.
Looks like this Lewis lad decides to help himself to some of
his employer's valuables, photographic equipment probably.
Disturbed in the act, he goes to attack and comes off worse.
-Reasonable self-defence, if you ask me.
-If you say so, sir.
I do, Sergeant.
Tell the boys to finish up here and we'll take Mr Cartwright
down the station to make a formal statement.
Any luck, we'll have the paperwork wrapped up before breakfast.
What about last rites, sir? I notice he's wearing a crucifix.
Doesn't necessarily mean...
No, you're absolutely right, Sergeant.
Obviously I'd hate to wake the Padre up so early, but if needs must...
KNOCK ON DOOR
Are the police still downstairs?
Yes, but I doubt they'll be long.
Inspector Mallory told me what happened. How are you holding up?
I am very concerned about Graham.
The inspector said that he was defending himself.
I'm afraid that the shock of this is going to push him back into his...
Well... Less than Christian habits.
By which you mean?
Well, it's no secret that Graham liked a drink.
And I can cope with that.
But it's the gambling that frightens me.
When I think of the life we could have had,
if all that money hadn't been washed down the drain.
Instead I'm living in a flat, above a shop with a leaky roof
and a...rat infestation!
I'll talk to him.
Would you, Father? I'd be so grateful.
The Inspector said that young Mr Ward was burgling,
I'm surprised by that.
I'm not. He was a strange boy.
In fact, I never knew why Graham took him on.
I couldn't see any sign of forced entry.
Well, Lewis had his own key.
Yeah, well, sometimes Graham let him work late on his own projects.
So he could simply have been going home?
Lewis always used the back door at night so as not to disturb us.
If he was in the studio, he was up to no good!
Oh, dear. Come and sit down.
I'm sorry. It's just such a shock.
Were you two...?
Lewis and I went out a couple of times.
Something happened. It's complicated.
Love always is.
Harold. Have you come back for that book?
Actually, it turns out I'd forgotten that I'd already
paid my fine. Brain like a sieve, me.
So I was wondering if I could have my half-crown back?
Eh, well, the fine box is emptied overnight,
to avoid anyone being tempted to break into the van.
Well, in that case, maybe you can recommend something to me.
-What's your favourite book?
Ah. The Song of Solomon - beautiful.
Ada, may I have a quick word?
Lewis wouldn't steal from Mr Cartwright. He wasn't like that.
Was he troubled about anything?
Not that I know of. Why do you ask?
He came to see me yesterday.
-I can't say.
Can you think of any reason why he might have been
in the studio last night?
I wish I could be more help, Father, but I've got to get back to work.
A quiet little mouse, isn't she?
Who'd have thought she'd be
romantically involved with a criminal?
I've known Lewis since he was a little boy.
He was not a burglar.
Have you checked his photographs?
From what I saw, he never went anywhere without his camera.
If something untoward was going on, he probably took a picture of it.
-Graham! Is that you?
No, it's Father Brown.
Erm, I left my stole here.
Have those officers gone yet?
Yes, I believe so.
Shall I make you a cup of tea?
That'd be lovely.
I'll put the kettle on then.
Thank you, Father.
Thank you for your cooperation. Can't have been very pleasant.
I'm more concerned about the lad's family. Have they been informed?
I can put your mind at rest there, sir.
He was an orphan.
Do you need someone to drop you home, sir?
No, no, thank you. The walk will do me good.
Right you are.
Hopefully we shan't have to bother you about this any more.
Kembleford Police Station?
Oh, right. And your name, sir?
Oh...you poor boy.
SHOP BELL JINGLES
I didn't know you were still here, Father.
I was going to make Mrs Cartwright a cup of tea. Would you like one?
That's kind of you to offer, but I'll do it.
Why don't you get off?
No doubt you've got better things to be doing?
Erm, I'll pop back later, see if you're both all right.
Now, I have transferred the £12, two shillings and sixpence...
What on earth are you doing?!
-Making a darkroom.
-Oh, yes, of course you are(!)
These are all the books they had on amateur photography.
I'm sure they'll be fine.
Is anybody going to tell me what is going on?
I found a box of negatives hidden in the darkroom.
And I saw Lewis Ward holding them the day before he died.
Erm, if you don't mind, ladies.
And please, do not open the door until I ask you,
lest the light shine upon the darkness.
MRS MCCARTHY SIGHS
How long does all this take?
-But they're not wearing...
-You have to inform the police.
Lewis is dead, and the girls in these photographs won't thank us
for exposing them.
By the looks of it, they're quite used to being exposed.
Being exploited, more like.
Do you think this has anything to do with his death?
Lewis Ward, the pornographer. Well, he certainly kept that quiet.
Well, he's hardly going to shout it from the rooftops.
Why didn't he shout?
-No, I mean...
Mr Cartwright said that he shouted out to ask who was there.
Why didn't Lewis reply?
Isn't it obvious? Because he was up to no good!
But Lewis didn't have anything of value on him.
Mr Cartwright said he was crashing around like a drunken rhinoceros.
That's hardly the actions of a burglar.
Perhaps he wasn't very good at it.
Maybe Lewis went into the studio looking for help.
He didn't reply because he couldn't.
What do you mean, "couldn't"?
Perhaps he was already dying.
We know what killed him, Padre!
-It was made of willow.
-Are you certain?
There's only one way to settle this, isn't there?
Is that Dr Symonds?
Inspector Mallory, Kembleford Police.
Do we have a confirmed cause of death on Lewis Ward yet?
Signs of respiratory failure, lockjaw, frothing at the mouth.
-Yes, thank you, I know what the symptoms are!
Why would somebody have wanted him dead? He was a nobody.
I should tell you that Lewis Ward...
..was in possession of photographic negatives
-It's the first I've heard of it!
Where are these negatives now?
I destroyed them.
You did what?!
Like you, at first, I believed his death to be an accident
and I saw no gain in publicising activities
that would only soil his reputation.
We shall continue this discussion.
For now, my priority is catching his murderer.
And if he was distributing the photographs,
I very much doubt he was doing it alone.
Have you any idea who his accomplice might be?
If someone was selling dirt in Kembleford,
there's only one name that springs to mind.
Just hope he isn't blind drunk already.
So, which one of you discerning gentlemen will be going home
with this high-quality timepiece?
Stolen, is it, 'Arry?
Of course not, Inspector. I wouldn't deal in stolen goods.
What do you think, Sergeant?
This particular item once belonged to my very own uncle.
So you'll be able to tell me his initials then?
Who in turn was given it by an old army friend.
Can't recall his name.
Luckily for you, I'm not interested in dodgy watches today.
Then how can I help you, Inspector?
Looking for a present for Mrs Mallory?
I want to talk to you about photographs.
Not really my area of expertise.
Now...if you don't mind, I was just having a drink with my friends.
Why don't we discuss this down the station, 'Arry?
I'm sure you'd love to assist us in our enquiries.
-I'm here to see Harold Slow.
-Oh! Why didn't you say so?
Just, give me a minute, Father.
Padre. I had a feeling you'd be back.
Blind 'Arry is not capable of murder.
Yet we searched his malodorous residence
and found two photographs featuring young ladies.
These young ladies were both noticeable
for their complete lack of clothing.
-So what did he say?
-Claimed he'd never seen them before.
Of course, he also said that about the three Kilner jars
of moonshine, the half-dozen ladies' purses and the garden gnome
that went missing from Councillor Boothby's front porch last week.
If you're here to take his confession, you might be a while.
FATHER BROWN SIGHS
Father! Decent of you to pop by.
The inspector told me about the photographs they found in your barn.
Look, Father, you know full well I had nothing to do
with that young lad's death.
As for the photographs...
..well, not everybody has taken a vow of celibacy.
But they was purely for my personal pleasure.
Did Lewis Ward sell them to you?
Nah. Never even met the lad.
Only knew his face from seeing him around town
pointing his camera at everything.
Last time I saw him was a couple of days ago.
He was having a barney with that tweedy girl
from the library.
-Sounded like she was breaking up with him.
Well, he's saying, "I'll do whatever you want, you can trust me."
And she's not that sure.
So he's like, "Of course I still want to be with you",
and she says, "Well, I don't know. Everything's changed."
And he's like, "What, because of a few stupid photographs?"
And so she says, "Sorry."
And he's, "Oh, please, Ada, I love you!"
And he's left there, devastated.
Did you hear anything else?
Sorry, Father, you know I'd help you if I could.
Answer me this.
If a Kembleford gentleman wished to purchase photographs
of a...titillating nature...
..where would he go?
And here's me thinking you're a respectable man of the cloth!
Do you want to stay in here all night?
Help me discover the truth and you might make last orders.
All right, I'll tell you.
On one condition.
There is no way I am stepping out with that foul-mouthed vagrant!
Perhaps he has hidden qualities.
Then they are very well-hidden indeed.
It would only be a stroll along the river.
And he's promised to be the model gentleman.
He can behave like Saint Francis of Assisi - it is not going to happen!
I may have already accepted on your behalf.
Well, then you can unaccept!
I can't, he's already given me the information.
Please, Mrs McCarthy...
..consider this an act of charity.
Well, I hope that information was worth it,
because you are never, ever going to hear the end of this.
Blind 'Arry said he got the photographs
by going to the mobile library...
..putting half a crown in the fines box,
and asking for a book.
I'm guessing it would be under natural history.
Or it could be here in the returns trolley.
Ah. There it is.
Oh. "The Lepidopterist's Companion."
Yes. And that's what it is - a book about butterflies.
It's been taken out dozens of times in the past few months.
Either there's a glut of lepidopterists in Kembleford
or there is something strange going on.
Look, it's always returned within a day or so,
sometimes even on the same day.
Do you think someone was hiding the photographs inside it?
Was Lewis pressurising you into selling the pictures?
I don't know what you're talking about.
You've lost me.
I know that the photographs were distributed via the mobile library.
Perfect, really. It can travel without suspicion.
And if men come and go with large books...what of it?
Father, please, I'm tired, I want to go home.
If Lewis was making you...
So why can't you stop sticking your nose where it isn't wanted?
-..he had naked girls in my studio?
-It would seem so.
Never knew he had it in him!
So...where are these negatives now then?
Erm, they're destroyed.
Did you ever notice anything suspicious going on
in the mobile library?
Well...Ada was the one who served the customers.
I was busy with the administrative side of things.
But if what you're saying is true, we have to inform the police.
Hold on! If these negatives have been destroyed,
perhaps we're better off sweeping the whole thing under the carpet.
But, Graham, if Lewis was poisoned,
maybe an angry boyfriend or father could've found out
they'd taken pictures of his girl and wanted revenge!
The same thing had occurred to me.
Sorry to barge in. Door was open.
Constable, make sure the padre stays up here, out of the way.
Do you mind telling me what is going on?
-Got a warrant.
We had an anonymous tip-off from a woman saying you offered
her money to pose for you in her birthday suit.
We're here to search the property for evidence of activities
in contravention of the Town Police Clauses Act 1847, Section 28.
..and of murder.
Do a lot of your customers have their portrait taken
in this sort of thing?
No! Where did you even find that?
Stashed in a little cubby hole in your storeroom.
And the photographs in our possession,
which I perused purely for investigative purposes,
were taken in front of your distinctive backdrop.
-Lewis must have taken them, I...
-Yes, I'm glad you mentioned him.
Because I got to thinking -
what if this Lewis lad was just the assistant after all?
Perhaps he was angling for a bigger cut, threatening to go to
the authorities, so you thought it best to poison him.
After that, you hit him round the head
with a cricket bat to make it look like you'd disturbed a burglar!
No, that's not what happened.
Found this in a box on the counter, sir.
-I won that on the horses.
I only hid it so the missus wouldn't find out.
You see, we did some digging into Lewis' financial situation.
Turns out that for the master of his own empire of obscenity,
he was surprisingly skint.
look like you're doing all right for yourself.
I take it Blind 'Arry's been released?
Pending further enquiries.
Here you go, Father.
Thank you, Sergeant.
CELL DOOR SLAMS
Wasn't sure if you'd come.
It's been so long since I showed my face in church.
Many return to religion in times of crisis.
I'll be honest, Father, it's your help I need, not God's.
Would you go and see Margaret and make sure she knows I didn't do it?
I've been enough of a disappointment to her over the years.
-I doubt that's true.
-Of course it is!
Never lived up to my early potential, did I?
She thought I was going to be this successful photographer,
but things didn't quite work out.
Still, I can't bear her thinking I'm capable of murder.
Do you know anything about the photographs?
That weren't me either.
Lewis must've taken them, but that Inspector won't believe me!
How am I going to cope in prison?
I can't even get to sleep without a mug of Margaret's cocoa inside me!
Please. Please, Father...
Yes. Yes, I'll speak to her.
How many more of these horrid pictures do I have to look at?
We need to prove who took these photographs.
Each of those girls is a potential witness.
And you DID say you're very good with faces.
Yes, well, it's not the faces that bother me.
And in any case, it's almost impossible
to recognise someone when they look so...
Well, why don't we just develop a few more?
That's one face I definitely recognise.
As I feared.
I know you posed for the photographs.
I'm not judging you.
You must have needed that money very badly.
I was in a lot of debt.
My landlady was threatening to throw me out.
I don't think you would have said yes that easily.
There must have been persuasion.
How did Mrs Cartwright talk you into it?
She caught me stealing from the fines box.
She said if I didn't help her sell the photographs,
she'd report me to the police.
So you started selling the photographs.
And then, when you were involved,
she persuaded you to take the next step.
The night it happened, I tried to back out.
But it was just so much money and...
she has this way about her.
Like you don't have a choice.
I don't really drink.
It'll help you relax.
I've never done anything like this before.
The thought of all those men leering at me...
Makes you feel vulnerable. I understand.
But you're the one who has got the power over them.
They'll pay handsomely for just a glimpse of your beauty.
Do you know, it's not even really you.
Just a shadow on a bit of paper.
So why go hungry when you have the power to put food on your plate?
Make the most of it.
Sorry, Mr Cartwright...
Get out! Get out, you idiot!
Sorry, I didn't...
Lewis and I had not long started seeing each other.
After that, I couldn't look him in the eye.
I knew I'd made a mistake.
Mrs Cartwright said that she'd make sure the photos were
seen by everyone in Kembleford if I didn't keep my mouth shut.
So, her injuries weren't accidental?
Mr Entwhistle says he didn't get a delivery
of Graham Greene's new novel from you that morning.
I didn't mean to hurt Mrs Cartwright.
I-I tried again to persuade her not to show the photos of me,
and she flew off the handle. I'd never seen her like that.
You just quit your mewling!
Those photographs, they belong to me now, and if I want to sell them,
then I will. So you just shut up and do as you're told!
I thought she was dead.
I didn't know what to do, so I went to see Lewis.
He offered to find the negatives and hide them until
we'd decided whether or not to destroy them or go to the police.
So Lewis wasn't involved in taking the photographs?
No. And as far as I know, Mr Cartwright didn't either.
Please don't tell anyone. It'll be my word against hers.
My thoughts exactly.
Mrs Cartwright. What are you doing out of bed?
Tying up loose ends.
SHE LAUGHS SOFTLY
Well, you said yourself, the negatives have been destroyed.
I may have exaggerated.
Without Ada, there's no evidence to prosecute me.
I don't think my customers are going to be
lining up to testify in court.
My husband will go to jail, and I'll sell the studio and move on.
It was you who tipped off the police.
A chance to get rid of the husband you despise.
I have wasted my youth on that pathetic lump of a man!
So he might as well be useful for something!
Anyway...anyone fancy a drive in the country?
Mrs Cartwright! Let us out!
ENGINE STARTS Margaret!
-Where's she taking us?
-You've seen too much!
So I'm going to take you on a little trip out to Buckley's Point,
where sadly, this van's brakes are going to mysteriously fail.
Is that why you put strychnine in Lewis' cocoa?
Because he'd seen too much?
Oh, I'm impressed, Father.
I couldn't trust him to keep it secret.
He was so obviously doolally about Miss Rawlins back there.
Mrs Cartwright! Thought you'd be in bed.
Well, I couldn't sleep, and I heard you working away down here.
So I thought you'd like some cocoa.
That's very good of you.
About what I saw the other night. You and Ada.
You know I won't tell anyone, right?
Not even Mr Cartwright.
I know you won't, dear.
I was going to make it look like suicide.
Victim of a broken heart.
But then that idiot husband of mine
started to play the protective house owner.
What are you doing?
Are you all right back there?
When a butterfly needs to break out of its chrysalis,
it needs to find the weakest point.
I'm not boring you, am I?
Oh, no, you don't!
Perhaps...we should get off the road.
CLICKING AND RATTLING
No! No! Come on!
Ah. Big end's gone.
By the time we got there, she'd already fled the scene,
but it didn't take us long to pick her up.
Turns out that, like the van,
she's not in as good a condition as she once was.
I thought you might need them as evidence.
You said you destroyed them!
Some of them.
So, are you going to take over the mobile library on a permanent basis?
Oh, dear me, no.
I never realised how stressful being a librarian could be.
And in any case, we have a far more suitable candidate.
After what happened, I thought...
Well, you do know it better than anyone.
And Mrs M won't have as much time on her hands now that she's courting.
I beg your pardon?
Half a crown says he stole those flowers from the graveyard.
How delightful to see you again.
When Mrs McCarthy takes over the running of the mobile library, Father Brown discovers a shocking secret lurking among the bookshelves.