Writer Frances Fyfield uses the manuscript of Dickens's last, unfinished, novel to work on the mystery of what happened to the book's eponymous hero, Edwin Drood. First broadcast: BBC Radio 4, 19 January 2012.
"This is NOT the Dickens story!"
In a huge old schoolhouse by the sea, full of precious paintings, Thomas Porteous is dying. His much younger wife, Di, holds him and mourns. She knows that soon, despite her being his sole inheritor, Thomas' relatives will descend on the collection that was the passion of both of their lives. And descend they do. The two needy daughters, who were poisoned against their father by their defecting mother, are now poisoning themselves. The family regard Thomas' wealth as theirs by right, with the exception of young Patrick, who adored his grandfather and is torn between his parents and Di, the interloper.
Young, rich widow Diana Porteous has inherited a vast collection of paintings, but she feels without purpose again. Then her beloved stepgrandson comes up with the idea for an exhibition of portraits with the title A Question of Guilt. It starts as a joke, but soon they are preparing the huge wine cellar of the old schoolhouse by the sea, in spite of those with misgivings as to its suitability.
A year after her husband's death, young widow and art collector Diana Porteous listlessly roams the beach near her home. Her friend and agent Saul takes action, introducing her to his stylish, anarchic sister, Sarah, to pep her up. They plan that Di should rediscover her talents as a thief, as well as art expert, to recover stolen paintings - and begin with Steven, the neighbour's son, who is amassing works of art in a strange building in London, including work stolen from his mother.
Returning for a seventh season, crime writer Frances Fyfield once again explores the tales and tribulations revealed in the hand-written music manuscripts of some of the greatest works of classical music. In these four episodes, she looks at the scores for Mozart's Don Giovanni, Sir Hubert Parry's anthem "I Was Glad", Handel's Firework Suite, and Berlioz' Symphonie fantastique.