Professor Bernice Summerfield and the Green-eyed Monsters

Starring: Lisa Bowerman
Big Finish Productions
RRP 9.99
ISBN 1 903654 69 6, BFPCD13
Available now

When Benny is asked to authenticate some highly significant artefacts in the Goronos System, she leaves her baby son Peter in the hands of bickering rival "father figures" Adrian and Jason. But for some reason Lady Ashantra of the Goronos System would have preferred Benny to have brought the child with her...

The title refers primarily to the jealous rivalry that exists between Bernice's ex-husband Jason Kane (Stephen Fewell) and Peter's natural father Adrian Wall (Harry Myers). But it also refers to the comically in-bred princes that Lady Ashantra du Lac (Maria Darling) hopes to put on the throne, once certain artefacts have been authenticated.

The green-eyed princes get up to some pretty revolting antics involving their lust for Benny - or, indeed, anything female. We only hear about these bodily functions via Lady Ashantra's disparaging commentary, but the images created work upon the imagination all the more effectively because of that.

It's been a while since Stephen Fewell last brought the character of Jason Kane to life on audio - not since Just War in 1999, in fact. This story deals with the emotional impact of Peter's birth upon the lives of Benny, Adrian and Jason, and as such it is long overdue. Writer Dave Stone's tale is also overdue in the quite literal sense - originally intended for release ahead of The Plague Herds of Excelis, this story actually takes place before Plague Herds, as is given away by the fact that Benny says she hasn't had a drink since the birth.

I imagine that if Big Finish's Bernice Summerfield novels were still being published (and what a shame that they aren't, although there is a short story collection coming soon) then such character development might have been reserved for prose. But it is no less welcome in this medium.

Richard McGinlay