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In a Glass Darkly is the second episode of the television series The Agatha Christie Hour. It is an adaptation of the short story with the same name.


Matthew Armitage, who takes the place of the unnamed narrator in the original story, visits the country house of his best friend Neil. While dressing for dinner, he sees in the bedroom mirror the reflection of a young girl being strangled. Unsure whether it was real, he battles with himself about speaking out about this horrific crime. Will he be taken for a fool or save a life?

Plot summary[]

(may contain spoilers - click on expand to read)

The adaptation is very faithful to the original story. However, for dramatic purposes, the plot is considerably embellished. Many events which are only given a passing mention in the original text are dramatised with an ensemble of additional characters. The backstories of the various characters are also filled in and elaborated as the original story gives hardly any details at all.

  • The scene in which Matthew sees the vision in the mirror is faithfully depicted.
  • The Sylvia's engagement party is acted out in detail. Matthew meets Mr and Mrs Carslake. He drops his glass when introduced to Sylvia. And then has another shock when introduced to Charles Crawley.
  • The scene where Matthew tells Sylvia about his vision takes place while the two take a walk together in the garden.
  • During the war, Matthew meets Neil who tells him his sister has broken off her engagement with Charles Crawley. Neil dies and Matthew returns to England to tell Sylvia about it.
  • Later Matthew saves the life of a a soldier named Barton but both are wounded by shellfire.
  • There is a scene where Sylvia visits Matthew in the hospital. His bandages are removed revealing a scar on the right side of his face (which rather gives the game away). It is at the hospital that Sylvia reveals that she did not break off her engagement because of the vision but because she herself had fallen in love with Matthew. Matthew proposes to Sylvia from the hospital bed and she accept.
  • Four years later, Matthew and Sylvia are working a farm in Suffolk. Matthew is revealed as suffering from (what we today would call) PTSD. He hears gunfire in his mind all the time. This causes irrational bouts of rage and jealously.
  • In the original story, there are no details how Derek Wainwright entered the picture or how he related to Sylvia. Here, at a party for their anniversary, Sylvia and Matthew meet Charlotte Hardy, a friend of Sylvia's (and probably a neighbour). She introduces Sylvia to Derek Wainwright, her brother. Derek is a psychiatrist and offers to treat Matthew. Matthew fumes and then rages when he sees Sylvia spend a lot of time talking to Derek at the party.
  • The next day, Derek and Sylvia actually go riding together. He tells her he loves her but she brushes him off as she loves Matthew. Matthew however is insanely jealous as he watches them from a window.
  • Sylvia receives letters but refuses to tell Matthew who they are from. Matthew verbally abuses her and she goes off to Badgeworthy leaving a note for him. This conforms closely to the original story.
  • The ending, Matthew's confrontation with Sylvia, the mirror image and their reconciliation follows the original story faithfully.