RogerBW's Blog

Paul Temple and the Spencer Affair 09 July 2022

1957 audio thriller by Francis Durbridge, in 8 parts. Paul is asked by a theatrical impresario to look into the death of his daughter, who was training as an actor.

The last of these I heard was 1961's The Margo Mystery, and alas this has rather too much in common with it: as I said then, "criminals who waste their effort on trying to mislead Temple rather than simply ignoring him, and thereby dig their own graves; and a cast practically all of whom seem to be in on the plot at one level or another". I was particularly amused by the way that nightclubs, which have never been a part of my life, are here considered to be both pits of depravity and a perfectly reasonable place for a chap to take his wife out to dinner. At least this time the criminals are mostly dealing in stolen goods rather than the Durbridge standby of Drugs.

As sadly usual, Paul rides roughshod over everyone, including his wife, who gets very little to do here. Don't you know he's a white middle-class man? Of course everyone must do what he wants, and only a villain would object. The traditional post-arrest revelation of what was really happening does its best to hang a lampshade on some of the grosser improbabilities ("but why would a villain do this obviously self-defeating thing?") and almost manages it.

It's all right, but there have certainly been better in the series.

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