What's it about: Moments after welcoming his guests to a party, millionaire Harrison Pierce is murdered. But his death is only the first of many as, trapped on an isolated island, his guests start to die in increasingly bizarre ways. Attorney Tony Peterson must join forces with a woman who destroyed his life years before, the beautiful but deadly Cassandra Collins. But can she be trusted? And what really is the secret of the mysterious Death Mask?
PI: Cassandra Collins practically destroyed Tony's life and as you can imagine he isn't best pleased when they run into each other at Harrison's party. His reputation was shot thanks to her games, half of Collinwood thinking that he caused the break up between Cassandra and her beau. He never gets involved with anyone from a clients family...not after last time. He was dating Carolyn Stoddard, daughter of Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, the head of the Collins family when Cassandra showed up as Roger Collins' new wife. The witch soon had him under his spell. Things didn't really get better when he left Collinsport, he always wanted more out of being a lawyer than just the basics. He genuinely wanted to help people, to make a difference but instead it has been boring. Sealing corporate deals and the like. It is probably a welcome relief from the monotony that the woman who wrecked his life has walked back into it. Anything to add a little spice. He always fancied himself as a bit of a gumshoe. His father was a fisherman for the Collins Fleet. He died in a boating accident when Tony was in his teens. He blamed the Collins' for being cheap and comprising safety. His mother worked hard to give him the opportunity to go to college and she didn't live to see him pass. He build his practice in Collinsport because he resented the family and wanted to make thing better for those who worked there.
Standout Performance: So much of this story relies on the chemistry between Jerry Lacy and Lara Parker and so it pleases me to report that their relationship really sings in their hands.
Great Ideas: Summoned to a party on an isolated island, the host found dead, the suspects being picked off one by one...if you are going to borrow from the murder mystery genre then you might as well take your inspiration from the best and The Death Mask had a strong feeling of And Then There Were None about it. Because Cassandra and Tony are meeting again for the first time there is the opportunity for him to introduce the guests (aka the suspects) and feed us a little information about them. Marilyn Wedgwood, heir to the Wedgwood publishing fortune - drowning her sorrows at parties after her husband died. Dr David Stone, Pierce's private physician and old friend and friendly rival collector. Horace and Evelyn Saunders, Pierce's cousin and his wife. James Rice, Pierce's nephew. Sharon Rice, the niece, who clearly has a thing for Tony. Pierce only throws his parties to chow of the latest in his cabinet of curiosities. The stranger, the better. His relatives angry that he is wasting their inheritance on useless trinkets. All the family have their debts and have their reasons to get their hands on his money. We've got all the ingredients for the perfect drawing room mystery. Rice is the next to go, strangled and it turns out he was having an affair with the maid. Stone next. Akasha is the fifth element, the master of the other four elements. The original Death Mask was supposed to give the wearer power. That's all you get plot wise because there is no point in listening to a mystery if you know the ending...needless to say I guessed the wrong murderer and was completely hoodwinked by the writer!
Musical Cues: Being a complete novice to the series I have no idea if the opening titles are authentic...and a quick trip to youtube and I can confirm that they are! It's a nicely, subtly menacing piece that still manages to suggest the melodrama to come. It reminded me of the theme to The Nightmare Man in all the best ways, except Dark Shadows came first of course.