Father Brown (2013–…): Season 1, Episode 6 - The Bride of Christ - full transcript

Father Brown is visiting St Agnes convent where he is chaplain when novice Sister Mary Magdalene is poisoned,leading to the father speaking to the convent's vintner Sister Boniface,a fan of detective stories who is keen to help him solve the murder. Then newly-arrived Sister Paul,an austere,dominating nun,is also poisoned and it would seem that she was a secret drinker who ate pear drops to mask the smell of alcohol and was killed by poisoned wine. She had also been the strict warden at a home for unmarried mothers some years earlier. Father Brown and Sister Boniface independently find a link between one of the mothers and a current inhabitant of the convent,but is this the killer? And do the convent's philandering young gardener and his cowed wife know more than they claim?


Sancto spiritu.

In gloria Dei patris. Amen.

Dominus vobiscum.






Amen. ALL: Amen.

I thought I might find you here.

I took it on myself to
make sure the body wasn't disturbed.

Thank you, Father.

Sergeant, secure the scene. And get
the police surgeon down here.

I want a provisional theory
as to cause of death. Yes, sir.

The colouration on the face would
suggest cyanide poisoning.

I think I can take it from here.

Very well, Inspector,
I'll leave it to you.

Wipe your face. Sister
Mary Magdalene is we dare to hope,

in the arms of Jesus. You'd be
better occupied praying for her soul

rather than indulging in unseemly
histrionics. Sorry, sister.

Oh, there's no need for this.
I'll thank you not to pull rank

where the novices are concerned.

This is not the way
we do things here.

Get up dear. Stay where you are!
How dare you flout my authority.

Authority's earned,
I think you'll find.

Sister Bernadette. Go to the kitchen
and get yourself a cup of tea

and something to eat. Quickly now.
You're as white as a sheet. Go.

Inspector, this is our
new novice Mistress.

Sister Paul. She arrived
last week from Calcutta.

Where standards of discipline
were much higher.

Is there any news, Inspector?

The Police Surgeon has
provisionally mooted

cyanide poisoning as cause of death.

We can only assume,
it's some tragic accident.

Sergeant, find out what
Sister Mary Magdalene

ate and drank this morning.
I imagine nothing.

She will have been observing
her fast before Holy Communion.

As were we all.
Then I can only conclude

she must have broken her fast.

A wilful girl with a
streak of rebellion.

Perhaps you have some duties
to attend to Sister.

Do you know of any cyanide
kept on the premise?

Lordy. Tons of the stuff!

You need to speak to our Vintner,
Sister Boniface, she's in the winery.

Nuns making wine?

Our Lord asks for poverty,
chastity and obedience.

He never said anything
about sobriety.

Amen to that.

In that case, if someone would be
kind enough to direct me.

Our Sisters lead sheltered lives
and are unused to laymen.

The presence of a chaperone
would be both reassuring

and appropriate, I feel.

Of course, Reverend Mother.

You know our Chaplin, don't you?

Father Brown.

Tom. Father.

Terrible business.

Inspector Valentine. And you are?
Tom Evans.

Can I ask your whereabouts between
nine and ten this morning?

In the garden.
I'm the gardener.

You live on site?
With my wife.

Does she work at the Convent?

They've enough women
to do their work.

She does their shopping in
the village that's all.

Did you know Sister Mary Magdalene?

I don't talk to the novices.
It would be asking for trouble.

I'll be sending someone
to take a statement

from you both as a matter
of routine. She's in Cheltenham.

Her Mother's sick.
I've told her to stay there.

How is Mrs Evans' Mother?

TB. I'll keep remember them
in my prayers.

One of yours? Lapsed. His wife
attends when her health permits.

An invalid? Heart condition.

I see the nuns are used to the
presence of one layman at least.

The novices are refusing to drink

from the water fountain
in case it's poisoned.

Sister Lawrence says the
kitchen is in chaos.

They're frightened. Or guilty.

No doubt this deplorable incident

will turn out to be some of
their juvenile horseplay.

It's far too early to speculate.
Sloppy discipline stems

from poor leadership,
which is hardly surprising

given the character of
some in charge here.

I didn't come all the way from India

to find myself subordinate to my
spiritual and moral inferior.

And if that person has
atoned for their sins?

Covered up more like.

The Order may be appraised,
but I wonder

if the Diocese is aware
of their transgressions?

In which case, maybe his Grace
should be informed immediately.

Before another novice is poisoned.

You do as you must, Sister.

Oh, I will. Make no doubt of that.


Hello? Thank you. Yes.
Yes. Put him through.

Sister Mary Magdalene's father.

I wish you luck explaining this one.

I won't let you destroy St Agnes.

And what exactly are you going
to do about it?

Whatever I have to.

Sister Boniface.

Father Brown. I suspected you
might be on the case.

Father Brown is
present as chaperone.

He has no part in this
investigation. Righto.

Inspector Valentine.

Interesting choice of
reading matter, Sister.

Oh, no disrespect to poor
Sister Mary Magdalene,

but I couldn't help notice
the appearance of the corpse,

and thought a spot
of research in order.

With the help of Miss Christie.

Do you think it was cyanide
poisoning, Father Brown?

I am making no assumptions at this
stage in the investigation.

A puzzling case.

I expect you'll be only too glad
of Father Brown's help.

Like Lord Peter Wimsey
and Inspector Parker.

Sister Ignatius! Sister Ignatius!
How dare you run in God's house!

Question. With cyanide being
such a fast acting poison,

Sister Mary Magdalene
must have ingested it minutes

before she entered the
chapel, but how and where?

Potassium ferrocyanide.

We use it to remove copper
and iron particles

left in the wine by
bentonite and metals.

There's enough to kill half of
Gloucestershire. Twelve bottles.

Or should that be eleven?

It appears you have a
cuckoo in the nest.

Similar to the naked eye

but it's tetrasodium

or sodium ferrocyanide.

Bravo, Father. Your reputation
clearly isn't exaggerated.

Is it toxic?

Relatively non because the CN
ions are bound to the FE.

If you don't mind.
Maybe you could...

And chaperone silently.

May God find you the grace
to make yourself worthy.



Who has access to
the chemical stores?

We don't keep things under
lock and key here.

Ours is a community of trust.


Gossips are sinful. Saint Paul lumps
them with murderers and God haters.

Although I've always thought that
was a little harsh. Father?

May I? Yes.

It doesn't count as gossip if it's
pertinent to a police investigation.

Right. Well, Sister Abelard found
anomalies in the stock take.

She assumed it was a mistake

but I thought - how peculiar?
Sister Abelard never makes mistakes.

Double first in maths.
Brain like an adding machine.

We call her Sister Abacus.



Who's responsible for this?
Me. On my orders.

You tampered with a crime scene.

I put the sensibilities
of our Sisters first.

Clear the scene. Organise a search
of the body and surrounding area,

and take statements from everyone.
Yes, sir.

And Sergeant, get the police
surgeon back. Yes, sir.

And Sergeant...stop these bells!

What are you doing?

Oh! Sister Paul's relatives
need to be informed.

So I'm looking for some
personal information.

That's down to me, I think.

Yes. Yes, of course,
Reverend Mother.

What happens now, Inspector?
A search of the convent. All of it?

Starting with the deceased nun's
cells and Sister Paul's office.

Is that really necessary?

I've two suspicious deaths.

Anything less would be
grounds for my dismissal.

No-one here has anything to hide.
Oh, we all have something to hide.

Several things, in my case.

I'm sure we'll manage to conduct
ourselves appropriately.

Father, Sister Mary Magdalene,
would you say she was a looker?

Holy Mary Mother of God,
pray for us sinners.

She was a Bride of Christ. Without
wrinkle or blemish of any kind.

I'll take that as a "yes." I don't
think I like what you're implying.

I told you to stay put.
You're making a show of yourself.

They seem an ill matched couple.
And while the cat's away.


Well you excuse me Inspector?

Of course.
I'm sure I can manage.

We just heard the news. Holy Mother.

What a thing. And in a
convent of all places.

Dreadful, Mrs McCarthy.
And who do we have here?

My godchild. I'm in loco parentis
while mother's in hospital for...

..for ailments you
needn't worry about.

A proper little bruiser. And what's
your name my fine young fellow?


Hebrew for beautiful.

Well, well, well. What have we here?

Look's like we've got secret lush.

Get that to the lab please,

And you better find me Father Brown.
Yes, sir.

What are you doing?

Hello, Father.
I know what you're thinking.

The murderer returns to
the scene of the crime.

Is that a confession,
Sister Boniface?

Ha! Very good, Father.

Fact. Sister Paul was in full sight
for ten minutes before she died

giving Sister Ignatius a record
tongue lashing by all accounts.

But like Sister Mary Magdalene,

the police found nothing to explain
how she ingested the poison.

A conundrum.

In Death In The Clouds,

Madame Giselle was murdered
with a poisoned thorn.

Dipped, as I recall, in the venom of
a South African boomslang snake.

A poisonous species rarely
found in the Cotswolds.

You are well read, Father.
I do love a mystery.

On the subject of which,

Inspector Valentine would like you
to make an identification.

You confirm these as the items
missing from the winery?

Yes. I expect you need to take
a statement from me.

And fingerprints?

In due course.

We may have found our motive.

Sister Mary Magdalene discovered
Sister Paul's alcoholism

and theft and was poisoned
to keep her quiet.

And then she poisoned herself?

And then...

..unable to live with the guilt,
took her own life.

After finding time to berate
Sister Ignatius for ten minutes

before she committed suicide.
And how was the poison ingested?

The only items found on
the body were -

reading glasses, handkerchief,
keys, notebook, pencil,

ball of string
and a Swiss army penknife.

I took notes. Very thorough.

No doubt the post mortem will
shed light on the matter.

Alcoholism and petty theft -
a motive for murder?

To compound venal sin with
so heinous a mortal sin?

Followed by suicide.

BOTH: The ultimate mortal sin.

If you'll allow the police to get
on with their investigation,

I'm sure things will
become clear in due course.



Now look what you've done.
Takes a man to wake a baby.


I wondered if you'd like me
to include your mother

in prayers for the sick
at mass on Sunday? Thank you.

In we go.
I'm in awe of your industry.

Mrs Evans is the star of my
African knitting circle.

Now nothing awry there,
and fed an hour ago.

So it must be teeth.

I have a teething bar
somewhere in my handbag.

He wants his mother.
It's a girl.

Any news from the police, Father?
I'm afraid they left none the wiser.

Shush. I'm here.

Who's that?

She is my godchild.

I'll be wanting my tea.

And were you acquainted
with the dead nuns, Mr Evans?

She's a weak heart. I'll thank you
not to upset her with all this talk.

Anyway. It's their own fault.

All them chemicals left lying
around in the winery.

Didn't I say it was an
accident in waiting?

Poor woman. All that knitting.

When anyone can see she's desperate
for one of her own. God willing.

She'd be better off with
a willing husband.

I'm not one to gossip, Father.

Lady Felicia's cousin, Lord Compton,
had to let him go

on account of "trouble"
with the housemaids.

And the scullery maids. Oh, and the
dairy maids, I shouldn't wonder.

If Mother Augustine hadn't
taken Christian pity on them,

they'd be in the workhouse.
No wonder he's lapsed.

Wouldn't dare show his face
in church again.

These thy gifts, which we are about
to receive from thy bounty.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

ALL: Amen.

My compliments to the Chef.

This can't go on much longer.

Let us pray that the police
find a solution.

That this was nothing more than
a tragic accident.

Of course it was. Who would want
to kill that poor sweet girl.

Or Sister Paul.

Most of the novices,
they couldn't stand her.

She found our postulants lacking in

the humility of their
sub-continent counterparts.

I never had her down as a lush,

but it explains those wretched pear
drops she was for ever sucking on.

Now we know. It was to mask
the alcohol on her breath.

There's enough unseemly
tittle-tattle flying

around without us
adding to it.

And before Calcutta.
Where was Sister Paul?

Haven't a clue.

Who's there?

Sister Boniface?

Father Brown?

What are you doing here?

Same as you, I shouldn't wonder.
Have you found anything?

Sister Paul liked things spit spot.
Military precision.

Rather. Except here.

Something's out of kilter.

This is the shrine at Lourdes.
I'd know it anywhere. But look.

BOTH: St Bridget's, Gloucester.
Christmas, 1940.

What can this mean?

The killer is trying to
cover their tracks.

Sadly more and more parishioners are
requiring your discrete services.

I blame the war. Not least
for the Americans.

Their so called youth culture
and Devil's music.

None of that here, I assure you.

A programme of hard physical labour,

combined with reflection
and repentance.

I expect Mrs McCarthy gave you
the news from St Agnes?

Sister Paul was Warden here for
nine years. A fine woman.

Warden. Of course.

The Mothers nurse them
for six weeks.

Then the infants are removed to good
Catholic families,

and the girls released
back into society. Purged.

Free from the stain of sin.

Our Lady was a single mother once.

Which is why God sent Saint Joseph
to make an honest woman of her.

These girls have no hope
of divine intervention.

I hope you're impressed
with what you've seen?

I can't lie to you, Warden.

I have yet to see a ship more
tightly run than this.

Thank you, Father.

If you would like to wait in there.

What are you doing? I told you not
to get involved! Stay out of it.

I said to stay in the cottage.
Now go!


Skates on Sister. Late for vespers!

Forgive me Lord.
I'm only borrowing it.

Oh, I'm sorry to have
kept you, Father.

Here's a familiar face.

Call on me at his
earliest opportunity.
Thank you, Mrs McCarthy.

Why aren't you at vespers?

I lost my rosary, Reverend Mother.

I think I might have it dropped
yesterday when I was here...

..with the police. Bingo.

Be sure to give thanks
to St Anthony.

I thought that might be you.

I heard what Susie had planned
for your dinner,

and well, I took the precaution.

Angel and saint rolled
into one Mrs M.

And how did you find
St Bridget's, Father?

Truth be told, unsettling.

Word is, Sister Thomas Aquinas
provides a fine service.

The separation of mothers and
their children defies nature.

Surely better if society found
ways of keeping them together.

Nonsense, Father. Those girls
are moral degenerates.

Unsuitable to bring up
good Catholic children.


I think it's going to be
a long night, Father.

Perhaps Joyce was right,
she misses her mother.

And Sister Boniface
telephoned with a message.

Sometimes I feel like the telephone
exchange than the Parish Secretary.

Now Father, have you room there
for another dumpling?

What man could resist
your dumplings, Mrs M?


The message. Was it important?

Oh, too mysterious to relay
over the telephone.

She wants you to call in on her.

At your earliest convenience.

Ah. Nothing urgent then.


Hello? Who's there?



A cart of black darning wool
for Sister Cyril,

oh, and her usual denture cream.

Morning all.
Father. Morning, Father.

Sister Luke wants two bars
of Lifebuoy soap.

But only if they're on special offer.

Joyce Evans is indisposed,
so I volunteered

to collect the Sisters' shopping.

And, erm, that's the lot, Mr Boot.
Right you are, Mrs M.

Sister Paul won't be needing her
usual pear drops. God rest her soul.

And all on the St Agnes account.

I'll see you anon.

I'll see you at
choir practice I hope?

Yes, at..? Four?

Four. Splendid. You can count
on my presence.


Turf please...

..and a quarter of pear drops.

Off you go! Any luck?

No, sir. Well, get back in,
and look again. Yes, sir.

I can't find him anywhere, sir.

Will no-one rid me of this
turbulent priest?

And don't take me literally.

Never mind.
Something happened?

Sister Boniface was
attacked last night.

Tell me she's not dead.

Voluble as ever.
She see her attacker?

No, but I'm keen to speak to the
gardener when he turns up.

Tom? Turns out our man has
a criminal record.

Three counts of soliciting.
It doesn't make him a murderer.

It makes him quite the ladies man.

Surrounded by temptation
in a place like this.

That's quite a leap, Inspector.

You have a pure heart
Father. Unlike me.

If Sister Mary Magdalene confessed
the affair to Sister Paul

Tom would lose his job
and his livelihood.

More than a motive for
double murder, don't you think?

Unless of course you
know something I don't?

One in particular, who has hidden
her heinous character,

and concealed transgressions
of so serious a nature

that I can only assume the
diocese has no knowledge of them.

It ends there. And
the photograph's gone.

I asked Sister Abelard to
check and it's vanished.

Someone from Sister Paul's past

clearly didn't want to
be recognised.

Sister Paul. All paths
lead to Sister Paul.

But what of Sister
Mary Magdalene?

Pure and unworldly. On
the cusp of holy union.

In a state
of spiritual grace.

In Sister Paul's office, five
minutes before she died.

Are you sure? According to Sister
Luke, Sister Mary Magdalene

took a funny turn before
the service. Low blood sugar.

Known fainter at mass. Anyway,
Sister Luke didn't want her keeling

over at the altar,
so sent her off for a sit down.

And guess whose office is
right next to the chapel?

Surely it must be connected?

Of course. That poor innocent girl.

You know something, don't you?
Of course you do.

I must go.

Good luck.

Ah, Father Brown.

It's good to have your reassuring
presence back with us.

Apologies for yesterday's absence.

Business in Gloucester.
At St Bridget's.

I hear it has an
excellent reputation.

Surely you'd know so.

As you yourself were there,
when Sister Paul was Warden.

I didn't deny it.
You lied by omission.

The question is - why a
woman of your integrity

would do such a thing?
You don't have to explain yourself.

With all due respect, Father,
you are not the police.

No, but I believe the
key to these murders

lies within the walls
of St Bridget's.

If you're concealing anything,
I urge you to reveal it now.

I lied to hide my sin.
The worst sin of all.

No! I'm an adulteress.

I betrayed our Lord
with a mortal man.

Years ago. A moment of madness.

He was a doctor at St Bridget's.

He brought me no happiness.
Only grief and immeasurable loss.

You confessed your sin
and made atonement.

Yes, in their mercy both God
and my superiors in the order

welcomed me back to the fold.
Then Sister Paul arrived.

All holier than thou
and righteous spirituality.

Threatening to destroy you.

Someone had to stop her.

You killed her?

No! Although I was tempted.
Horrible woman.

God rest her soul.

You stole the letter
she wrote to the Bishop?

I'm not ashamed.

You're five times the
woman she would ever be.

You shouldn't have done
that. My sin is not yours.

I'm sorry.

No, actually, I'm not.

I couldn't stand by and watch her
ruin you and St Agnes with it.

I'm not worthy of your loyalty.

Fiddlesticks. You're the best
Reverend Mother we've ever had.

Don't you agree, Father?

The police are looking for you, Tom.

Sister Boniface was attacked
last night. I wasn't here.

Where were you?

None of your business. I'm not
answerable to you or your God.

He was with a woman.
Be quiet.

She gives him what I don't.

So you couldn't have attacked
Sister Boniface.

I haven't attacked anyone,

and before you ask,
I didn't kill anyone neither.

I believe you.

I see a man trying to
protect his wife.

I never go to the convent.

No, but you do the Sisters'
shopping in the village.

Rather dusty, I'm afraid.

I liberated them from
Sister Paul's horde.

I'm sure she wouldn't have
wanted them to go to waste.

And I am rather partial to
a pear drop.

What game is this! Red or yellow?

See I don't think it really matters.
I think they both taste the same.



Are you trying to give
her a heart attack?

Coming here with your fancy
theories and silly tricks.

What I couldn't comprehend,
was why Sister Mary Magdalene?

She wasn't the intended victim.
Don't listen to him.

It was a recent arrival.
Someone from your past.

Someone from St Bridget's.

Never heard of it.
You're lying.

"Male baby in good health.

"Mother, J Purvis. 19 years old.

"Five foot six. Brown hair.
Blue eyes.

"Birth complications.

"Postpartum cardiomyopathy."

He had a name. Our son had a name.

Must have made you very angry.

Is that why you killed Sister Paul?

No! Yes.

All those chemicals lying round the
winery. An accident in waiting.

All it needed was a helping hand.

A life for a life.
You must miss him very much.

He's here. I've seen him.

Oh, dear. I had every
intention of returning that.

Now where's your proof?

I don't wish to prove anything.

I want you to confess your sin
and receive God's forgiveness.

My sin. He didn't know.
You told him what you'd done?

And you tried to protect her by
removing the poisoned sweets

from Sister Paul's body, and
planting the cyanide in her office.

I suppose that's where
you saw the photograph.

I'd like to see you prove it.
There's no escaping God's justice.

I abandoned your God when
he abandoned me and mine.

But your wife hasn't abandoned him.

Don't say another word!

Thomas Evans, I'd like you

to accompany me to the
station for questioning.

Starting with a full account of
your whereabouts last night.

I was gone all night,

and I've got an alibi to prove it.
Save it for the station.

Please, Father. My wife.

Blessed peace, at last.

Sweet Jesus!

Abigail! Abigail!

Father, she's gone. I left
her for five minutes,

just to take the shopping in

and when I've come out,
she's disappeared.

Oh, holy God, who would want
to take a baby?

Don't panic, Mrs McCarthy.


Bless the Lord, Mrs McCarthy. He
gave her those lungs for a reason!

Shush. You're all right. I'm here
now...get away from me!

You give that baby back right now!
I won't let you take him!

I'll die first.
I swear I'll kill us both!

That's not your baby, Joyce.
Your baby was born at St Bridget's.

Sinners and harlots, pray for us.

You were frightened. And very alone.
What happened to your child, Joyce?

Now sign it. My child has
a Father. Thomas Evans.

He's a Private in the Glosters.
He's a prisoner of war,

who didn't see fit to make an honest
woman of you before having his way.

I have a right to...
You have no rights.

Forfeited when you succumbed
to evil lust

and contravened the laws of
God and society. Now sign it.

Evil bitch.

I'll die before
I sign away my child!

You gave birth to a boy.

His name is Daniel.

Joyce, what happened to your child?

She stole him.

Please, No! Please, No! Please, No!
Get her.




Calm down.

Where are you taking me? No!

She locked me up with lunatics.

For my own good. A moral degenerate.

I'm so very, very, very sorry.

I wanted to wait till
we were married,

but he went on and on the night
before he went to war.

Said he needed something to remember
in case he didn't come back.

He did come back for you.

He made me an honest woman,
but I couldn't be a wife...

..stand his touch.

He looks just like him.

I'm not sorry I killed her.

Sweet baby Jesus.
Now she's the murderer!

She stole my baby.
A life for a life.

A life for two lives.

Sister Mary Magdalene
was someone's child too.

She was faint from low
blood sugar.

Sister Paul was the
intended victim all along.

For that I deserve to burn.

Will I go to hell, Father?

I wouldn't be worrying
about just that now!

Certainly not. God is
forgiving and loving.

He won't stop crying!

She's crying because she wants
her mother, Joyce.

Give her back. There've
been too many lost children.

This isn't my baby.


Forgive me.

Poor soul.

She paid a terrible price
for one act of love.

As did I.

I ask only that you'll allow me
to inform the Bishop myself.

I ask only that you'll do
no such thing.

St Agnes' convent has
been through enough

without losing the
rock that is its foundation.

Excuse me.

What will happen?

We're charging him as an
accessory. As for his wife,

that's out of my jurisdiction.

You cannot blame yourself.

I thought murder was exciting.

In reality, a tragic
and sordid business.

Nothing at all like one of
Miss Christie's novels.


Father. At least he isn't any worse
the wear for his experience.

Quite the lungs on him.

It's a...never mind.

Abigail Mary, I baptise thee in
the name of the Father,

the Son...


HE SHOUTS: ..and the Holy Spirit.


Amen. Amen.