I had started gaining an appreciation for low-budget TV dramas. But maybe I jinxed it with my review of “Secrets on Greek Row” when I mentioned how they were doing something right with their strong writing. “Invitation to Murder” was just all over the place, and I cannot fathom why any sane person would behave the way the characters did in the film. That is the plot hole to sum it all up: that people’s motivations were forced for the sake of the story rather than having any individual standing of their own. This is how it goes.
What Is The Mystery Of Findley?
Miranda Green is a florist with a penchant for mystery fiction, and she is a huge fan of Agatha Christie. One fine day, she gets invited to Abbot Island by Lewis Findley, a man who has made billions dealing in textiles. Despite Annette’s (Miranda’s friend) protests, Miranda decides to accept the invitation simply for a sense of adventure. This is what I meant about events happening just for the sake of it. Why did Miranda not even try to question what a textile magnate would want from a florist? The invitation never stated the purpose of the visit but simply requested her presence. Which woman in her right mind would accept such a thing?
Either way, Miranda sets off, and she finds a few others on the train headed to the same destination as hers after having received a similar invitation. There are six of them, but Miranda believes that there should be only five. Her reasoning is that there are five leaves on Findley’s seal that don’t appear anywhere else. Hence, it must be a design exclusive to the invitation. Why was this her first thought and not that someone was trying to dupe her when she set out on her journey? When they all reach Abbott Island, they find that Mr. Findley will arrive the next day as his flight has been grounded due to bad weather.
The guests’ first night in the new place is eventful, with them coming close to discovering the commonality between them: neither of them has a father. But it is refuted by Lu Wang and Lawrence Kane, along with Donald Walker, who refuses to play the game further. There is something very eerie about the house and the situation, and Miranda is on alert, as usual. Later that night, when there is a power cut, Gordon, who is one of the servants, mentions that it was an accident and there is nobody else on the island. Honestly, everyone’s acting shady, and if the guests had any good sense, they would leave.
The next morning, Miranda and Donald go for a walk, and I can’t help thinking that if this was a better-written movie, these two could have been best friends with a long-standing professional partnership. But right now, they just discovered six rabbits in their cages. Though that freaks them out, they still stay on the island, not finding anything suspicious about a second delay in Mr. Findley’s flight. But things change that day when they discover the body of a murdered Lawrence Kane. Miranda just about loses her mind, but with a little nudge from Donald, she decides to use her long-dormant ambition for detective work in this case. She concludes that all of them, including the staff, should be considered suspects since nobody has a strong alibi. It just gets worse since Mr. Kane’s body goes missing, and there is no reasonable explanation.
The guests decide that they will all be out in groups, taking turns, so that no further tragedy occurs, and they are able to manage the suspects, whoever they might be. However, when the butler, Sean, is also killed, things get dire for them all. The suspicion goes to Lu Wang, whose scarf was found on the body, but Miranda has other doubts. She asks them all for a little time, and what happens next is not unexpected but still interesting.
Who Is Lewis Findley?
When Miranda comes back, she has a dog in tow, and he is none other than Blunder, Lewis Findley’s pet. The dog goes straight to Sean’s body, proving that he is none other than Lewis Findley. In fact, another shocker is that Lawrence Kane is alive, and it was all a ruse. What that ruse is, is starting to unravel now. It turns out that Lewis Findley lived a secluded life, but he had his fair share of romantic trysts over the years, which also resulted in children. Lewis had never bothered with them, but now that he was old and close to dying, he wanted an heir. He had many children, and he had kept an eye on them throughout the years, but he had selected these five as the most deserving contenders for his fortune. However, he needed just one final heir, and the elaborate murder mystery he had created was his way of pushing these people to their limits to find out their real nature. Their real nature seems to be a knack for playing the blame game, which, strangely, is very much how siblings treat each other in front of their parents. But once all is said and done, when they retire for the night, Gordon leads Miranda to some facts that piece the puzzle together for her.
‘Invitation To A Murder’ Ending Explained: Who Killed Lewis Findley?
When everyone wakes up the next morning, they rush to the study to find Miranda with a detective, Harold Church. She has solved the mystery and is ready to present her case. She takes her half-siblings through the records and photographs that Findley kept of his encounters with women over the years and the children he bore from them. But in these records, a name is missing: that of Donald Walker. However, Miranda finds the name of a maid named Shelby, who used to work for Findley, and it looks like he was in love with her, though he never committed. A locket from Donald confirms that his mother’s name was Shelby. He confesses that he killed Findley for what he did to his mother; Findley had led her on and, when she got pregnant, left her to fend for herself. But Shelby had never lost hope that he would come back, and when she finally gathered the courage to write him a letter due to her dire circumstances, she was disappointed once again. Donald had never let that go, and when he came to Abbott Island, he knew what was going on.
Miranda reveals that Findley had already decided that Donald would be his heir, as he had been keeping tabs on him for all these years. But Donald refuses to believe that, pointing out the sick test that he put his children through. But Miranda believes that it is always going to be Donald, and bringing his other children to the island was just a way of testing Donald himself. This makes no sense to me, but this is the writers’ game now.
At the end of “Invitation to Murder,” Donald is taken away by the police, and the inheritance is returned to Findley Industries to do as the board sees fit. Everyone leaves the island, and Miranda is given the offer to collaborate with Scotland Yard should she ever want to be a private detective, a career she plans on pursuing very strongly.
The conversations between the characters was the real strength of the movie. If only they were connected by a better mystery, it would have been spectacular. But rewatching it a second time gives you a better kick since you are aware of how deliberately Donald is insulting Findley to his face while pretending not to know who he really is. “Invitation to A Murder” was okay, but it could have been better. Maybe some work on it could help develop this into a series? I will leave that to the imagination of the writers, but for now, I don’t find myself recommending this to anyone.