(caption: Inspector Lynley guest stars as Colonel Mustard; Lewis looks skeptical.)
The Dead of Winter: A Cluedo Primer for AmericansNext Sunday’s Endeavour (Prey) is to take place at Crevecoeur Hall, a location already familiar to fans of Lewis. The Dead of Winter is one of the very best Lewis episodes because it is at the same time the most disturbing and light-hearted. Disturbing because his Lordship Augustus Mortmaigne is revealed to be a pedophile who took an interest in the children on the estate- possibly even James Hathaway. Light-hearted thanks to Monty the cat, the antics of DC Hooper, Classic Robbie failing to grasp Laura’s double entendres, and all those Clue references… which are the subject of this post.
Flashback to a young Muffinzelda in high school Latin class: when we learned the verb “ludo,” (play) my teacher shared that our beloved murder mystery board game Clue is really Cluedo in the original UK version. Many such little tweaks were made to the game, so I (a hopeless American) originally failed to appreciate just how many Cluedo references there were in the Dead of Winter.
Sure, I had picked up on Miss Scarlett and that the first murder victim was hit in the head with a candlestick, but it wasn’t until I was in the international foods aisle of the supermarket that I realized that Colman is a brand of mustard in the UK- therefore Colonel Coleman = Colonel Mustard. MIND BLOWN. At that point, I knew that there must be more that I was missing. Most of the following information I gleaned from the following Wikipedia pages:
-the first murder victim in the Dead of Winter is Dr. Stephen Black. In Cluedo, Dr. Black is the murder victim as well, but we know him as Mr. Boddy in the States.
-Dr. Black in Cluedo lives at Tudor Manor; Dr. Black in the Dead of Winter lives at Tudor Crescent.
- Miss Scarlett. ‘Nuff said.
-the aforementioned Colonel Coleman/Colonel Mustard is played by Nathaniel Parker; the Lynley/Lewis scenes are another reason that this episode is one of the best.
-The Dead of Winter’s art historian Professor Pelham sounds suspiciously like Professor Plum.
-The Dead of Winter’s Reverend Jasper is meant to be Cluedo’s Rev. Green. (Jasper being a green-hued mineral). We know him as Mr. Green stateside. According to Wikipedia, “Parker Brothers insisted on the name change as they thought the American public would object to a parson being a murder suspect.” This is funny because it is true. (File under Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone because ‘Muricans won’t get philosophy…)
-More of a stretch: Elizabeth Woodville was known as England’s White Queen during the War of the Roses. The Dead of Winter has a Frances Woodville, who could stand in for Mrs. White.
-Is Mrs. Peacock present in any way? Maybe I missed it!
The Dead of Winter definitely merits a re-watch before Sunday night’s Endeavour episode “Prey” airs. According to Prey’s IMDB page, James Hathaway’s dad Philip is to make an appearance alongside a whole slew of new (old) members of the Mortmaigne family. This is the episode that will tie the Morseverse together, so I can’t wait to see what writer Russell Lewis has in store for us.
No air date for Lewis series 9 or Endeavour series 3 in the US as of yet =( So I’ll be watching the Twitter feed to see your reactions… (Come on, PBS, get it together!)