Criminal conspiracy doesn’t rain in 1957 Brighton: It pours.
Waiting on a staircase inside the Maison du Wax for blind sculptor Pierre Tussard and his daughter and assistant, Angélique, to finish preliminary measurements of Brighton Constabulary wireless star Inspector Geoffrey St John Steine, their latest model, Constable Peregrine Twitten overhears two teenagers whispering how much they’d love to run away together and how careful they have to be around the people who cut off Uncle Ken’s head. Laboring to remember all the proper names the couple dropped—Blackmore, Hoagland, Dickie—Twitten has no clue that he’s stumbled onto the tip of a very large and felonious iceberg. Further enlightenment arrives, along with further mystification, when Peter Dupont, the neophyte town council clerk Twitten overheard, is found with his throat cut, and his girlfriend turns out to be Deirdre Benson, whose brothers, Frank and Bruce, along with their mother, run a profitable family crime syndicate out of the Black Cat club. And there’s more. Veteran con artist Joseph "Wall-Eye" Marriott accosts Adelaide Vine and her friend Phyllis, a pair of Brighton Belles given the job of helping strangers; then he pretends to be Lord Melamine Colchester and offers to sell them gold at the bargain price of 25 pounds a brick—that is, unless it really is the Marquess of Colchester and those bricks really are gold. Dickie George, a lounge singer at the Black Cat, emerges from a week in the Brighton sewers only to be struck dead by a giant piece of candy. And Palmeira Groynes is ready to execute any number of foul schemes that Twitten could foil if only he could persuade Inspector Steine that the constabulary’s charlady was the evil genius he’s recognized as such ever since A Shot in the Dark (2018). Truss’ period burlesque extends from individual character types and obligatory scenes to the longer narrative arcs beloved of more recent franchises.
Too relentlessly facetious to take seriously but more frantic than funny.