Paul Temple
Send for Paul Temple

Author: Francis Durbridge
Read by: William Hartnell
BBC Audio
RRP: 12.99
ISBN: 978 1 405 67744 8
Available 05 November 2007

A wave of mysterious robberies is sweeping the country, and fifty thousand pounds worth of diamonds has been stolen in six months. During the fourth raid,a night-watchman is attacked with chloroform, and just manages to gasp out: "The Green Finger" before he dies. Chief Inspector Dale has heard the enigmatic phrase before: it was the last utterance of a drowning man wanted in connection with another robbery. But with no further leads, the police are baffled. The cry goes out in the popular press: Send for Paul Temple...

Crime novelist and detective Paul Temple made his first appearance on BBC Radio in 1938. He inhabited a sophisticated world of chilled cocktails and fast cars, where the women were chic and the men wore cravats - a world where Sir Graham Forbes, of Scotland Yard, usually needed Temple's help with his latest tricky case.

A total of twenty-four radio serials featuring Paul Temple were made for BBC Midland, the Forces Programme, the Home Service and the Light Programme from 1938 to 1969. Only ten have survived to the present day (which are also available on CD from BBC Audio). The radio serials proved so popular that Francis Durbridge was inspired to write a succession of novels featuring the smooth sleuth. With this new reading based on the original Francis Durbridge novel, the adventures of Paul Temple live on. Send for Paul Temple introduces us to the characters in Temple's world, setting up the universe he exists in for future tales.

Paul is on the trail of a gang of jewel thieves - aided by the pretty, vivacious reporter Miss Steve Trent, who, fans will already be aware, would later go on to marry Paul Temple.

As with previous Paul Temple audio books, Send for Paul Temple is read by Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Little Britain star Anthony Head. As I've mentioned in previous reviews, Head can't be faulted for his delivery - it's way above average for this sort of release. However, his female voices are a little on the distracting side - unintentionally funny.

Another slight problem with this release is that everything has dated so badly that it's hard to take some of the plot twists seriously. However, this is still an interesting nostalgic look back at detective tales of a bygone era.

Pete Boomer

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