Stephen Fry's charmingly misanthropic send-up of the English mystery features an unlikely but necessary hero: Ted Wallace, AKA the Hippopotamus, a failed and disolute poet, recently fired theater critic, and muckraker of modern irrationality, whose war against the unreasonable finds sudden purpose investigating a series of supposed miracles at a mansion in the country.
"I've suffered for my art, now it's your turn." So begins the tale of Ted Wallace, unaffectionately known as the Hippopotamus. Failed poet, failed theater critic, failed father and husband, Ted is a shameless womanizer, drinks too much, and is at odds in his cranky but maddeningly logical way with most of modern life. Fired from his newspaper, Ted seeks a few months' repose and free liquor at Swafford Hall, the country mansion of his old friend Michael Logan. This world of boozy dinners, hunting parties, and furtive liaisons has recently been turned on its head by miracles, healings, and phenomena beyond Ted's comprehension. As the mysteries deepen, The Hippopotamus builds into "a deliciously wicked and amusing little fable" (The New York Times).