Paul Temple and the Harkdale Robbery

Author: Francis Durbridge
Read by: Anthony Head
BBC Audio
RRP: 12.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 405 67694 6
ISBN-10: 1 40567 694 9
Available 07 May 2007

The Harkdale bank job wasn't quite an ordinary robbery. The bank lost 42,000, a policeman lost his life, and the robbers were caught almost immediately. But in the bag, where the money should have been, there was only a copy of the Concise Oxford Dictionary. And in the garage where Paul Temple's car should have been, there was the body of a dead robber. This in itself is enough to send our hero off on one of the strangest cases of his life. One that takes him deep into the bowels of the underworld and places him face to face with Mr Master Mind...

Paul Temple, the suave private detective and crime novelist, captivated BBC Radio audiences for over 30 years. From 1938 to 1969 Temple and his Fleet Street journalist wife, Steve, solved case after case in one of BBC radio's most popular serials. They inhabit a sophisticated, well-dressed world of chilled cocktails and fast cars, where the women were chic and the men wore cravats, and where Sir Graham Forbes of Scotland Yard always needs Paul's help with a tricky case.

When a young woman gives Paul some information that might be useful to his investigation, she disappears almost immediately. Paul now has a missing person to look into, as well as solving the Harkdale robbery.

Paul Temple and the Harkdale Robbery may well be set in a bygone era, but the old adage, that crime doesn't pay, is as fresh today as it was in the '30s. As Paul and Steve start digging around they soon discover that things are not what they appear.

Read by Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Anthony Head, this audio drama is an interesting nostalgic look back at detective tales of a bygone era. On the whole, Head's delivery is well above the average for a talking book. The only problem I had was with the voice he used for Betty - which sounds like a drag artist crossed with Carol Beer from Little Britain ("Computer says no").

This will certainly provide a couple of hours entertainment to those who enjoy detective tales.

Pete Boomer

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