Matter of Life and Debt (4/6)

The comedy drama continues on Five. This week, Archie asks Jamie to mind the beautiful young widow of his former business associate. Suspecting that the grieving woman may be responsible for her husband’s death, Archie enlists the help of a psychic to find out what she is hiding.

Archie drags Jamie along to the funeral of Harry Grant, a former business associate and fellow conman. “Even in the valley of the shadow of death, there are openings for a man of enterprise,” points out Archie. It soon becomes clear that the savvy conman hopes to get back the £5,000 he is still owed by the deceased. “A merry widow needs minding,” he says, pushing Jamie in the direction of Harry’s bereaved wife, Maria.

A reluctant Jamie accompanies Maria to the reading of her late husband’s will, and the widow is shocked to learn that Harry left all his assets – including the couple’s house – to his bevy of cats. “He always had to have the last laugh, my Harry,” she says bitterly.

Back at the Grant residence, Jamie waits while Maria packs up her belongings. As they prepare to leave, Harry’s former partner in crime, Donovan, bursts into the hallway and attacks Jamie. It is clear that he wants to get to Maria, but she scrambles into Jamie’s cab and the couple are able to make their getaway.

Realising that there may be more at stake than Maria is letting on, Jamie spirits his charge back to his flat. “I might be hired help,” he says, “but I don’t like taking a beating unless it’s for a very good cause.” Maria confesses that years earlier Harry stashed some valuable stolen property, but would not tell Donovan, who was entitled to a cut, where it was hidden. However, she insists that she does not know any more details about the loot. “I don’t even know what it is, never mind where it is,” she says.

It emerges that Harry was actually sitting on a haul of diamonds. When Maria hears this news, she promises to help Archie and Jamie find the jewels in return for a 50-50 split of the profits. Archie hits on the idea of using a psychic to help locate the booty, so he pays a visit to Vlad the Impostor (Steve Pemberton, ‘The League of Gentlemen’). Encouraged by the fact that the medium seems to be expecting him, Archie offers Vlad a wad of cash in return for a reading.

Meanwhile, Jamie and Maria head back to Jamie’s flat, where the hapless minder is set upon once again by an enraged Donovan, who is lying in wait.

The wily couple tear off in Jamie’s cab, with Donovan on their tail. Eventually they manage to lose him, and Jamie decides the safest place to spend the night is in a hotel.

The next morning, Jamie is jolted awake by a loud knock at the door. The visitor turns out to be Archie, who is shocked to see Maria and her minder stayed in the same room. “I slept in the armchair,” insists Jamie. Eager to have Maria meet with Vlad, Archie hustles her out of the hotel. During the reading, Maria is visibly spooked and suddenly bolts from Vlad’s lair. “Tell you what, mate,” says the psychic to Archie, “that girl’s guilty of something.”

Theorising that Maria may have deliberately brought about her husband’s demise to gain access to her inheritance, Archie asks Vlad whether he can shed more light on the widow’s true nature. “Every girl knows diamonds are for wearing,” says Vlad, who seems to have channelled Harry’s spirit. But will the psychic’s cryptic message be enough to lead Archie to the stolen diamonds? Is Maria really a gold-digger? And will Jamie’s attraction to his beautiful charge get in the way of business?

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