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Audio Comedy Review

Book Cover

Inspector Steine


Written by: Lynne Truss
Starring: Michael Fenton Stevens, John Ramm, Matt Green and Ran Ravens
BBC Audio
RRP: £15.99
ISBN: 978 1 405 68749 2
Available 03 March 2008

Brighton in the 1950s. A place of Knickerbocker glories, end-of-the-pier shows... and an enormous amount of unsolved crime. Step forward Inspector Steine. Naive and innocent, he believes that he wiped out all the villains at a single stroke in the Middle Street Massacre when seventeen local hoodlums gunned each other to death. Fortunately, long-suffering Sergeant Brunswick is at hand to help Steine with his enquiries. Aided by keen Constable Twitten, they must find the criminal mastermind who is operating undetected in their midst...

The first series of Lynne Truss's Inspector Steine was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 between January and March 2007. The six half-hour episodes follow the antics of Brighton's finest police force in the 1950s as they try to unearth who is the new criminal mastermind who has been behind the recent sting of crimes.

Inspector Steine is a rather naive man who still believes that there is no criminal activity in Brighton after the Middle Street Massacre, five years previously, successfully put a stop to the area's crime wave.

The six episodes on this three CD collection include:

Operation Whooooo!: When a headless corpse is found on the ghost train on the Palace Pier, Inspector Steine puts the death down to natural causes. But can new policeman Twitten help Brunswick prove otherwise?

His Last Review: A famous foppish London theatre critic is found dead in his seat at the Theatre Royal after a performance of a kitchen-sink drama.

Eyes Down: Steine decides to go undercover at the Black Cat Casino, much to Brunswick's profound dismay. Meanwhile, a robbery takes place in the bank next door to the police station.

That’s the Way To Do It: When Vince the Ventriloquist moves his booth to a new pitch on the Brighton seafront, he receives threats from an unknown source. But Steine is more concerned with judging the knickerbocker glory competition.

The Woman: Steine falls in love for the very first time when he bumps into Adelaide Vine, the beautiful owner of a fish and chipshop in Oriental Place. But is there more to Adelaide than meets the eye? Brunswick thinks so.

The Anniversary: It's the five-year anniversary of the Middle Street Massacre and one of those convicted and sent to jail is back in Brighton with revenge on his mind.

What's great about this series, is that it takes your typical police drama and spins it into a ludicrously tongue-in-cheek affair which is just this side of believable.

While all of the episodes are funny, I found Eyes Down to be head and shoulders above the other stories. The combination of an undercover Steine bending the rules of the roulette table to make it fairer for the gamblers; almost twigging that Mrs Groynes is up to no good; Sergeant Brunswick's instance in always going undercover at the drop of a hat; and the ludicrously stupid decision not to guard the bank when they know that the alarm system will be down for a short while... make for a very funny set of circumstances.

If you didn't catch this series when it was originally broadcast, then you're advised to snap this up now. And, if you did hear it, then you won't need me to advise you to buy it.


Nick Smithson

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