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Audio Drama Review


Agatha Raisin
The Terrible Tourist & The Fairies of Fryfam


Starring: Penelope Keith and Malcolm Sinclair
BBC Audio
RRP: £12.99
ISBN: 978 1 4084 2615 9
Available 07 January 2010

After a lifetime spent in public relations, the drinking and smoking one-woman dynamo that is Agatha Raisin struggles to adapt to life in a quiet Cotswold village. Penelope Keith stars again as Agatha Raisin - Miss Marple with attitude - in another two full-cast dramas (The Terrible Tourist and The Fairies of Fryfam) based on the best selling books by M.C. Beaton...

Penelope Keith and Malcolm Sinclair reprise their roles of the accidental amateur detectives Agatha Raisin and James Lacey for another two episodes of murder mystery.

The Terrible Tourist: Now that their marriage plans have collapsed, Agatha is furious to find that James is taking a holiday on the island where they were to have their honeymoon. But when she sets out in pursuit of him, she stumbles upon another murder.

This episode (which was originally broadcast as two parts on 08 and 15 November 2006 on BBC Radio 4) sees Agatha and Malcolm meeting for the first time since their wedding was cancelled after Agatha's husband, who she thought was dead, turned up very much alive.

While on the island, Agatha befriends two couples and the five of them, being bored one evening, decide to go to the local disco. When one of her new friends is found dead, Agatha attempts to enlist the help of Malcolm in working out who the murderer is.

The Fairies of Fryfam: Having been hurt by James once too often, Agatha takes a trip to the Cornish village of Fryfam and is soon disturbed by some strange lights at the bottom of the garden.

This story (originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on 22 and 29 November 2006) sees Agatha taking a break in Cornwall so that she can sort her feelings out about her and Malcolm. When she arrives she notices strange lights dancing about at the bottom of her garden - lights that the locals don't want to talk about. Agatha befriends a rich couple who are new to the area and live in a lighthouse, but when the husband is found dead from an apparent suicide, Agatha thinks foul play may be at hand.

All of the cast turn in wonderful performances, but it was a surprise to learn that the great Julia Deakin played Ella. There's no way in a million years I would have guessed it was Deakin playing this role - once again she proves she's one of this country's most versatile performers.

What's most remarkable about this production is that the actual stories are pretty predictable. It's Penelope Keith and Malcolm Sinclair's interpretation of the characters that makes this a pleasurable listening experience and truly make you care about the characters and events as they unfold.


Darren Rea

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