RogerBW's Blog

Paul Temple and the Lawrence Affair 14 August 2021

1956 audio thriller by Francis Durbridge, in 8 parts. The daughter of the head of MI5 has gone missing, and someone seems to have taken a pot at amateur sleuth Paul Temple while he was on holiday…

This is a mid-period Temple, but it deviates quite a bit from the formula, both in large elements and in small; for example, Paul and his wife Steve spend a lot of time sniping at each other, in a way that may have been considered reasonable banter in the 1950s but seems distinctly unfriendly now. It's only Peter Coke's third outing in the part, while Marjorie Westbury had been playing Steve for over ten years opposite three previous actors, but in The Gilbert Case (Coke's first time in the role) it wasn't nearly as obvious.

On the "large" side, zbfg bs gur cybg guernqf ghea bhg gb or erq ureevatf, naq nf vg gheaf bhg gur infg znwbevgl bs gur npgvba jnf trarengrq ragveryl ol pevzvanyf gelvat gb hfr gur vairfgvtngbe ntnvafg rnpu bgure.

Still, there are good bits and amusingly dated bits; John Gabriel does a fine Peter-Lorre-as-Joel-Cairo as a eye specialist who must surely be dodgy in some way, and meanwhile the idea that a woman might own a yacht in her own right, rather than its being in her husband's name, is regarded as grounds for Deep Suspicion. Some waterborne shenanigans in episodes 6-7 go pretty well given the limitations of grams, but a climactic car chase is less convincing.

Silly lightweight fun.

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