Murder Must Advertise

Starring: Ian Carmichael, Allan Cuthbertson, Edward de Souza and Frances Jeater
BBC Audio
RRP: 12.99
ISBN 1 846 07147 X
Available 03 July 2006

When copywriter Victor Dean falls to his death on the stairs of Pym's Advertising Agency, everyone assumes it was an unfortunate accident. His replacement doesn't think so, and begins asking a lot of questions. The new man is something of a mystery to his colleagues, and he certainly dresses well considering his meagre writer's salary. Of course, the new copywriter is none other than Lord Peter Wimsey, working incognito to discover the truth...

Murder Must Advertise is part of the Dorothy L. Sayers BBC Crime series of audio releases. The story opens with Lord Peter Wimsey starting work at Pym's Advertising Agency, in an undercover attempt to dig a little deeper into the death of his predecessor. In between writing catchy slogans, Wimsey sets out to catch the murderer and in the process manages to uncover a network of blackmailers, drug pushers and killers.

But the deeper he gets into this criminal underworld, the more his own life is in danger - and as the murders increase, he must work to a tight deadline if he is to solve the case before it's too late.

This radio production was first broadcast in 1979 and stars Ian Carmichael as Lord Peter, with Allan Cuthbertson, Edward de Souza and Frances Jeater. There's also a cameo appearance from Richard O'Callaghan (who Carry On fans will remember from Carry on Loving and Carry On at Your Convenience).

Spread over two CDs, this two hours, twenty minutes drama has plenty of twists to keep you guessing as to who, if anyone, is responsible for the murder that started Wimsey's investigation. Along the way he catches the eye of Dian de Momerie, who is the driving force behind the Bright Young Things, who in the '30s beautified London with their carefree antics.

The conclusion is rather bizarre, but refreshingly original. However, Wimsey playing judge, jury and executioner is a little hard to swallow. Having spotted a mysterious figure why didn't he try and have him arrested?

That minor quibble aside, this is an entertaining audio drama.

Nick Smithson

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