A pet cemetery, a mysterious millionaire, a repressed butler… All the ingredients are there; indeed this is the earliest episode of The Avengers that would get remade – under the title The £50,000 Breakfast, with Mrs Peel in the fifth season. It’s a good story, if not a great one, with a with plenty of eccentricity, Steed getting to show off his wine tasting skills, and an oddly melancholy strand involving a failing joke shop run by a woman who is first widowed and then murdered.
It’s also the first appearance of John ‘Fraser’ Laurie, who will be back in three further Avengers guest roles. It’s not quite my favourite of these, but Laurie is always excellent value. (Frederick Jaeger will be back a couple of times too).
There’s even more friction in this one: Cathy’s opinion of Steed’s morals is so low that he starts to wind her up – claiming he will tell a man’s wife she is a widow in order to find out more about what he’s been up to.
We discover some more of Cathy’s interests: she is a photographer and an ornithologist. But just as she made a faux-pas at the stamp auction in The Mauritius Penny, her surprise that people spit the wine out she reveals the this not her thing (she leaves for an early night).