RogerBW's Blog

A Case For Paul Temple 28 March 2020

The BBC has occasionally been rebroadcasting the Paul Temple radio plays, dealing with a professional novelist and amateur sleuth. This one is a 2011 remounting of a lost 1946 original, starring Crawford Logan and Gerda Stevenson. Someone's supplying drugs in London, and that must be stopped!

The main puzzle to be solved is the identity of "Valentine", the new drug supplier. All the clues point in one direction, and one can't help noticing just how blatant the manipulation is; still, it was a more innocent time, at least in the mind of Francis Durbridge.

There's a lot of other business too, involving red herrings and traps thrown out by Valentine; one can't help thinking that if he'd just kept his head down rather than constantly trying to nobble Temple he might have got away with it. Still, that's hardly a unique problem.

It's much more of an action piece than a mystery, really, and Temple is the sort of character one pictures being played by Roger Moore at his smuggest, always knowing best and, in particular, rubbishing his wife's opinions even when he agrees with them. That dates the drama much more then the narrative's fascination with a radio in a police car, or the shocking idea that there might be people in London taking illegal drugs.

Definitely dispensable, but an enjoyable example of native radio drama.

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