Click here to return to the main site.

Audio Drama Review


A Brother Cadfael Mystery
Dead Man's Ransom


Written by: Ellis Peters
Starring: Michael Kitchen, Philip Madoc, Jonathan Tafler, Jason Hughes and Susannah York
BBC Radio Crimes
RRP: £13.25
ISBN: 978 1 4084 6843 2
Available 05 May 2011

It is 1141. In Shrewsbury, civil war is tearing the country apart as the bitter feud between King Stephen and Maud shows no sign of abating. Cadfael, safe within the peaceful walls of the Abbey, does not expect to be drawn on to the battlefield - but when a Welsh prisoner of war is brought to him for treatment of a sword-wound, he finds himself embroiled in the conflict. The young soldier is the foster son of the Prince of North Wales, and a prized possession. In fact, he is so valuable that he can be offered in exchange for Gilbert Prescott, the Sheriff of Shrewsbury, who has been captured by the Welsh. A swap is duly arranged, but when one of the prisoners is found dead before the transaction takes place, the community learns the horrifying truth: there is a murderer in the monastery. Can Cadfael find out who it is...?

Dead Man's Ransom was originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 over five episodes between September and October 1995. To be honest the entire story could have been told over three episodes (and at a push maybe even two) as the material is stretched to breaking point.

The acting is uniformly impressive, with Philip Madoc's Cadfael being the main stand out performance. His voice gives just the right gravitas to the role.

The sound mix was, for the most part, pretty good. However, there were a number of times when the vocals were whisper quiet and other times where the battle sequences were so loud as to nearly deafen the listener.

While not an essential purchase, Dead Man's Ransom will help you pass a pleasant afternoon.


Nick Smithson

Buy this item online

We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal
Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£9.78 (
£8.99 (
£13.25 (
£8.99 (
£12.59 (

All prices correct at time of going to press.