In a darkened room in an old
country house, a man leafs through a magazine, turning it
deliberately to a page containing an article entitled "Better
Bridge with Applied Mathematics", written by a certain Mrs Emma
Peel. He gazes at the accompanying photograph and proceeds to hack
at it madly with the pair of scissors in his hairy hands, cutting
it into tiny pieces. Watch it Mrs Peel – someone doesn't like
Back at Steed's apartment, Emma
has just rung the doorbell when she hears a cry from within. Steed
has fallen down the stairs and has twisted his ankle badly. As she
is tending to Steed's injury – with a Scotch! – she explains the
reason for her visit. She has received an invitation to the house
of Sir Cavalier Rousicana in Exmoor and had hoped that Steed might
give her a lift down there. Sir Cavalier, a 75 year old recluse,
is a reknowned Bridge player and has asked Emma over for the
weekend after seeing the article she has written.
With Steed incapacitated, Emma
makes her own way down to Exmoor, and tells him she'll be back
after the weekend. After she has left, Steed has another visitor,
George Fancy, who informs him that an old enemy, Max Prendergast,
has escaped from prison in France, and is probably in the country.
Fancy tells Steed to warn Mrs Peel, since she was closely
involved with Prendergast before his capture, but Steed is
confident that Emma will be safe until Monday.
Meanwhile, Emma has finally
arrived at Rousicana Hall, despite losing her way in the fog
around Exmoor. She is greeted by a strange young lady there who
rejoices in the name of Oola Monsey-Chamberlain. She is Sir
Cavalier's ward, and tells Emma that Sir Cavalier is not there; he
is away at a Bridge convention! Since it is too late and foggy to
leave, Mrs Peel has to stay the night in the company of the
rather odd Oola – who confides that Rousicana Hall is simply the
ideal place for a murder...
Mrs Peel is not quite sure how
to take Oola – her mind often seems to be elsewhere and her
conversation jumps from topic to topic without any logical link.
Her surroundings are equally unusual – suits of armour are placed
on guard around the house, and there is an incongruous swivel door
at the top of a flight of stairs. A swivel door with a large joker
motif, making it look like a giant playing card. Oola delights in
demonstrating the door to Emma and spins it round. On the other
side is the Ace of Spades – the death card! Oola leads Emma's
through to the corridor beyond the door, and shows her the room
that she will use for the weekend – a gorgeous room with a four
poster bed. While they are talking there, Oola goes to the
casement window and looks out. She gazes out into the fog, and
there, in the shrubbery, is a large man gazing up at the lighted
Oola leaves to prepare supper
and Emma takes the chance to explore her room. She finds a large
oak chest. She opens it and is surprised to find it full to the
brim with old 78rpm gramophone records. Before she can investigate
further, the dinner gong rings. Emma goes down for dinner. Oola
claims to have received a telephone call from Sir Cavalier, to
insist that Emma start the meal without him, as he will not return
in time for the eight o'clock meal. Mrs Peel is suspicious
however – surely she would have heard the telephone ring?
Dismissing the thought, Emma takes her place at the long table in
the dining room. The playing card theme is continued here – the
place mats all contain the joker motif...
During dinner, Oola receives
another call. A friend of hers in the village has been taken ill
and has asked her to pay a visit. Oola points out – rather
unsubtly – that the village is five miles away, and Emma suggests
that Oola borrow her car to make the journey. Oola gratefully
accepts and departs, leaving Mrs Peel alone in the spooky old
house. As she finishes eating her fish, upstairs, unbeknownst to
her, the swivel door, seemingly unaided, slowly swings round. The
Joker is replaced by the death card. Watch it, Mrs Peel!
Emma decides to investigate the
house and starts off by exploring the rooms on the ground floor.
Suddenly, she hears a bell from the kitchen, rushes in there and
finds a cord still trembling on one of the bells above the
scullery door. Is there someone in an upstairs room calling for a
servant? A cursory glance around the kitchen reveals a
bloodstained knife stuck into the table. Mrs Peel had thought she
was alone. Maybe she isn't after all...
Meanwhile, Oola has been making
no real attempt to leave the grounds, and parks the car in the
fog, out of view of the house. She begins walking back towards
Back in London, Steed discovers
that his fall had not, after all, been accidental – someone has
fitted a tripwire device across his stairs. Steed rings George
Fancy to tell him and starts to link his accident with Max
Prendergast's escape from prison. He gets Fancy to check up on Sir
Cavalier, and to call him back and tell him whatever he can dig up
on the reclusive bridge expert. Steed is sure that Emma is in
At Rousicana Hall, Emma returns
to her room, and finds that things have been moved – subtly, but
moved nonetheless. She takes another look at the gramophone
records in the oak chest, and discovers that they are all the same
– a song called "Mademoiselle". Odd! Things get odder still when a
young man knocks at the front door, claiming that he has run out
of petrol. He refuses to tell Emma his identity, but asks to use
the telephone. "It's like a movie scene," he tells her. "Tender
young girl alone in an old house. A mysterious stranger calls...
'May I use your phone?'... She admits him... and then...
Da-Da-Da-Da!!! The wires have been cut!" And he's right too... The
wires have indeed been cut!
George Fancy calls round to see
Steed at his flat and is shown the tripwire by his colleague.
Fancy has checked up on Rousicana Hall – it's in Little Deighton
on Exmoor. Furthermore, he has learned that Sir Cavalier left four
days previously for a foreign holiday. Officially the house is
empty. They decide to go to Little Deighton to investigate. Fancy
goes to help Steed on with his overcoat and hat. As he lifts them
from the hall stand, a playing card – a Joker – drops from Steed's
bowler. Fancy picks it up – and is surprised to find the edge is
sharp! There is a razor blade on the back. A poisoned razor blade!
Steed is helpless as he sees his friend collapse. Fancy warns
Steed with his dying breath that the card "was meant for you!".
In the scullery at Rousicana
Hall, Mrs Peel watches as the strange young man hunts through the
drawers, looking for something with which to repair the telephone
connection. There is nothing that will help their situation. Not
that the man seems intent upon helping in any case – he seems more
interested in confusing Emma with false claims and inconsistencies
in his story. However, Mrs Peel does not suffer fools gladly and
gives this enigmatic stranger short shrift. When he claims to have
killed Oola, Emma isn't the slightest bit convinced and frog
marches him out of the house. As she shuts the door on him, he
warns her cryptically that she is not alone in the old house and
that she should check the dining room.
With George Fancy dead, Steed
has set off for Exmoor on his own. His ankle is still painful –
it's questionable what he will be able to do when he arrives, but
Mrs Peel is in real danger and he must do everything he can.
However, his progress has been severely slowed by the terrible fog
that he has driven into. It has reduced his speed to a snail's
pace. What is worst is that he seems to have become lost in the
Emma goes to the dining room
and finds evidence that someone has indeed been there – half-eaten
food is on the table and a cigar butt is smouldering in the
ashtray. She quickly heads to her room, and sees that the swivel
door now shows the Joker. Someone has gone through towards the
bedrooms. Emma decides it is time to go on the offensive and
retrieves her revolver from her suitcase.
Outside, the young man meets up
with Oola, and she asks him how he got on with Mrs Peel. He
reports that she doesn't frighten easily, but that he is sure that
he worried her. When he asks for his payment, he is told that he
hasn't done everything he had promised – he hasn't done "the
scream". He complies, but Oola is not satisfied with its
authenticity... A huge man looms out of the fog, a shotgun in his
hairy hand. The young man protests but is shot in cold blood. And
this time, the scream is exactly what Oola wants...
In her bedroom, Emma finds a
vase of roses overturned on the floor. Closer examination reveals
that the heads have all been cut from the stems. She returns to
her chair and reaches for her book – inside she finds the mad
collage of her own face. There is now no doubt – someone is out to
get her. The telephone rings and Emma darts out of the room to
answer it, thinking it must be Steed trying to contact her. When
she picks up the handset, the line is dead. The wires are still
Suddenly, Emma hears a door
slamming in the scullery. She goes there to find it empty, but the
dining room bell is being rung... The dining room is also empty,
the bell on its side, rolling gently to and fro. She is about to
leave when a strange, artificial-sounding voice pierces the
silence. "Emma! Emma! Dearest Emma!" it echoes. Mrs Peel tries to
locate it, but it seems to pervade the whole house. She decides to
return to her room and finds the swivel door has again changed
face – the death card is showing. She goes through, and is met
with the sound of music playing. It is coming from her room, and
the record playing is "Mademoiselle" – one of the multiple copies
she had earlier found in the chest. She angrily rips the record
from the platen and smashes it over her knee. Things are getting
to you, aren't they, Mrs Peel? Immediately, the sound of a
rocking chair starts up, and Emma dashes out to find it. In the
chair is a man... The body of the strange young man who Emma had
met earlier – now very, very dead.
John Steed is driving through
the fog, intent upon getting to Rousicana Hall. He has to admit,
however, that he has become lost and asks a local for directions
to the Hall. Remarkably, he has pulled up right outside the
entrance and simply didn't know it. He drives in cautiously... and
crashes into Mrs Peel's car, which has been left up the driveway
by Oola. He's definitely in the right place...
Emma leaves the dead man and is
intent upon contacting the police. The record starts playing again
– accompanied by the chilling, otherworldly voice which tells her
that he is downstairs. Mrs Peel moves through the swivel door
and, gun at the ready, makes her way down. Emma asks who she is
talking to... "An old friend..." the voice replies. Emma tries to
get the speaker to come out into the open, but the voice continues
echoing around the house, making thinly veiled threats against
her. Mrs Peel makes for the front door, desperate to escape...
But the key has gone – and the voice increases in volume, dancing
around the room, closing in on a petrified Mrs Peel. "Frightened
at last!!!" cries the voice, triumphantly.
Trying to find where the voice
is coming from, Emma ends up back in her bedroom. The voice gauds
her that he may be behind the curtains of the four-poster bed. She
tears them open, only to find the body of the young man, his eyes
staring lifelessly back at her. The voice descends into manic
laughter at her disgust. The music plays, the voice taunts her
again. It asks if she likes the tune, a tune which was once
important to them both. The voice invites her to the dining room,
saying that is where she will find him. She enters, cautiously. A
menacing figure sits in the darkness at the head of the table,
hunched in the high-backed chair. The man invites her to draw
closer. He confides that he has thought of her many, many times
since they last met in Paris a few years previous. Finally, Emma
realises the identity of the shadowy figure – Max Prendergast.
Emma had been Prendergast's paramour in order to help Steed cease
Max's traffiking in refugees. She feigned affection for him in
order to stop him catching a flight to Rio when he knew the game
was up, allowing Steed to capture him. Prendergast was
subsequently imprisoned. Now Prendergast is intent on revenge for
what he sees as a personal betrayal.
Prendergast seems to entertain
the possibility that Emma still holds a torch for him, but she
angrily denies this, saying that she has always hated him and
everything he stood for. Spurned, he advances upon Mrs Peel, his
huge, hairy hands gripping her around the throat. He squeezes,
tighter and tighter, draining the life from Emma Peel, her eyes
glazing over. Oola looks on, fascinated. She seems to be getting
quite a kick out of all this violence! However, in the nick of
time, Steed gains entry to the house and knocks Prendergast out,
saving Mrs Peel.
Steed enquires of Mrs Peel
whether she fancies staying for the rest of the weekend... She
barely sees the funny side and together they set off for London.