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The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax 

A headstrong but titled suffragette slips into the power of a murderous con artist.


John Madden


Arthur Conan Doyle (by) (as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), T.R. Bowen (dramatised by) (as T. R. Bowen)


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Episode complete credited cast:
Jeremy Brett ... Sherlock Holmes
Edward Hardwicke ... Dr. Watson
Cheryl Campbell ... Lady Frances Carfax
Julian Curry Julian Curry ... Albert Shlessinger
Mary Cunningham Mary Cunningham ... Miss Calder
Jack Klaff ... The Hon. Philip Green
Nicholas Fry Nicholas Fry ... Hotel Manager
Michael Jayston ... The Earl of Rufton
Anthony Benson Anthony Benson ... Vicar
Rosalie Williams ... Mrs Hudson
Anthony Schaeffer Anthony Schaeffer ... Bank Official
Margo Stanley Margo Stanley ... Woman in Undertakers


While on holiday, Dr. Watson makes the acquaintance of Lady Francis Carfax, a single and independent-minded woman, who is staying in the same hotel. She has been frightened in the extreme however with the appearance of a bearded man whom she obviously knows. Watson has been recounting this tale to Holmes by letter who immediately realizes the lady is in grave danger. By the time he joins Watson at the hotel however, Lady Carfax has vanished. Prior to her disappearance the bearded had reappeared at the hotel and she had argued with her brother about her financial situation. As Holmes learns about her finances, he realizes there is a very good reason why someone might wish to take advantage of her. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

21 February 1991 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Granada Television See more »
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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


One of the few episodes with genuine narration. See more »


The corpse breaths and swallows. See more »


[first lines]
Dr. Watson: [narration: Holmes is reading a letter from Watson] My dear Holmes, today I walked fourteen miles across rough terrain, and hardly a twinge from either my leg or my shoulder. The landscape is as handsome as it is reported. I still entertain the hope that I can prevail upon you to join me. I appreciate, of course, that the beauties of nature mean little to you, but I believe you would have found some of the guests at my hotel most intriguing.
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Crazy Credits

Credits run during a hold on Lady Frances and Green, instead of showing Paget illustrations from the story. See more »

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User Reviews

Lots of Twists and Mysterious Turns
14 February 2014 | by HitchcocSee all my reviews

This is another episode featuring the "new" woman in England. Sadly for Lady Carfax, there are those who would do her harm. Rather than seek out help, she decides she can go it alone. Fortunately, Watson has become an observer, fascinated with this strong woman, and he lets Holmes know that something is amiss. This sets the wheels in motion since a mysterious character and much talk of money has entered the mix. Ultimately, the men end up at a hotel where Lady Carfax supposedly is hidden. This is where it gets really dicey but it has a really satisfying conclusion. I really liked the episodes where Watson, a very complex character, though he lacks Holmes' acumen, is the one who recognizes when a lady is in danger. Edward Hardwicke is front and center here and does a really fine job. After you have seen the conclusion, try to remember if you have run across it in the past in other mystery settings. Also, do a little history of the mortuary business, particularly when it came to poorer clients.

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