Arabica and the Early Spider is the second episode of the first series of Rosemary & Thyme.
Plot summary Edit
Compton Lacey, the house of pop star Nev Connolly and his wife Patsy, is being renovated. Rosemary and Laura have been hired to work on the gardens of the property, which contains protected early spider orchids. The refurbishment of the house is being undertaken by Harry Georgeson and his employee Tommy Matthews, the foreman, are in charge on the work on the house itself. While excavated the earth to build a pond, another of Georgeson's employees, Frank, unearths the skeleton of a horse near the field of orchids. Patsy Connolly reckons the bones could belong to a racehorse called Arabica, which was stolen from the stables of Dennis Belfrage seven years previously; at the time of the theft Patsy was an employee at the stables.
After a scaffolding collapses outside, irrepairably damaging a unfitted window, Nev laments on the series of unfortunate events that have befell his attempts to renovate the house, including floods and arson. That night, Nev spots a shadow digging in the garden; when he confronts the stranger, he is shot dead. The gunshots wake Rosemary and Laura, who are staying at Compton Lacey, and they find Nev's lifeless body.
Despite Nev's death, Patsy requests that Rosemary and Laura complete their work on the gardens. The two later find a cut in the earth: after some digging they discover some more bones, this time human. Rosemary also spots a toggle laying in the dirt, discretely pocketing it. After being unable to link the discovery of the two skeletons together, Laura visits Dennis Belfrage, now a chicken farmer. Belfrage resents Laura's attempts to connect him with the bones, but angrily reveals that the missing race horse, Arabica, was owned by Harry Georgeson.
While lunching at a pub, Rosemary and Laura join Harry Georgeson and his wife, Fiona. Harry denies any knowledge of the identity of either the horse or the human remains. Upon producing the toggle Rosemary had found earlier, Fiona looks disturbed and quickly excuses herself. Later when dining at Compton Lacey, Patsy also hastily excuses herself when the housekeeper at Compton Lacey, Mrs Deeping, reveals the police have identified the human remains belonging to a Joanna Branningham, a former employee at Belfrage's stables.
That night, after shots are fired at Rosemary and Laura's room. Rosemary shares with Laura a picture she found of Belfrage and Fiona Georgeson on the internet, where Fiona is wearing a coat with identical toggles to the one Rosemary found alongside Joanna Branningham's bones.
The following day Patsy angrily runs Dennis Belfrage off the road, causing him to crash into a ditch. Rosemary and Laura happen on Belfrage's wrecked car, and take him to the hospital. The two return to Compton Lacey to confront Patsy, only to find the police searching the house. Patsy reveals that Fiona Georgeson had an affair with Belfrage, only to go back to Harry Georgeson once Belfrage became broke. D.I. Trelawney announces that a gun with the same calibre of bullets used to shoot Nev has been found in the kitchen. Patsy is taken away for questioning, and Laura overrides Rosemary's attempts to hand in the toggle to D.I. Trelawney.
Rosemary and Laura go to visit Fiona, who reveals that the coat with the toggles was given to her by Belfrage, and is now in the possession of Mrs Deeping, housekeeper at Compton Lacey. Mrs Deeping however states that she sold it to Samantha Matthews, the wife of foreman Tommy Matthews.
When Rosemary and Laura go to the Matthews' residence, they find an orchid sticking out of their car's bumper, the same early spider orchid found in the gardens of Compton Lacey. As the orchids were growing far away from where any of the work on Compton Lacey were taking place, Rosemary convinces Laura that this ties the Matthews' to the burial of the skeletons, and the murder of Nev Connolly.
Samantha Matthews denies all knowledge of coat when challenged, and when Tommy arrived, knowing they are physically outmached, Laura knees Tommy in the groin. This sets of a car chase when Rosemary and Laura flee in their Land Rover. Tommy knocks off a stationary police car's door in his pursuit of the two. He attempts to follow Rosemary and Laura's Land Rover through a muddy field, but gets bogged down and caught by the chasing police car.
With Tommy is police custody, Rosemary and Laura explain to Patsy that Harry Georgeson wanted Arabica stolen from Belfrage in order to sue him for negligence. He hired the Tommy to assist him, who in turn secretly paid Joanna Branningham to help him with the theft. Joanna later learned the end plan was to ruin Belfrage, but she was killed by Tommy before she could get to the police. Nev was shot when he almost found Tommy trying to frame Samantha for Joanna's murder by planting the toggle in the earth. Tommy then attempted to frame Patsy by planting the gun in Compton Lacey.
- Abigail Cruttenden as Patsy Connolly
- Tilly Blackwood as Fiona Georgeson
- Joe Tucker as Harry Georgeson
- Murray Head as Nev Connolly
- Niall Refoy as Tommy Matthews
- Sara Stephens as Samantha Matthews
- Eamon Boland as Dennis Belfrage
- Zena Walker as Mrs Deeping
- Philip Martin Brown as D.I. Trelawney
- David Buckham as Doctor Pattinson
- Kell Ward as Frank
- Glen Davies as Workman
- Dean Abrahams as Stable Lad