Familiar to listeners to BBC radio from the excellent dramatisations prefaced by Vivian Ellis's vivid and memorable theme 'Coronation Scot', Paul Temple needs little introduction. Francis Durbridge's detective was developed for the wireless and broadcasts started in the late 1930s, continuing right up to the 1960 and then revived in the early twenty-first century.
The decidedly patrician crime novelist cum amateur detective and his impossibly supportive and attractive wife Steve is for ever being called on by Scotland Yard to help solve damnably puzzling crimes. And, of course, he always triumphs where the police simply can't make any headway. Although there are always elements of class conflict in the stories, Durbridge is only carrying on in the traditions of Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey and even Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes (who mentions that his ancestors were 'country squires').
Anthony Head is the perfect reader of the Temple stories and they make a thoroughly entertaining listen. With more than a little self-satire, 'The Front Page Men' is the title of a detective novel from an pseudonynmous author Andra Fortune. Thefts and kidnappings, then murders, are marked by a card left at the scene of the crime inscribed with the words 'The Front Page Men'. When Steve disappears, Temple knows he is up against a dastardly and dangerous opponent.
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