Friday, 30 November 2007

Paul Temple

A year or so back, I was puzzled by the regular appearance of Paul Temple cds in the top ten charts for audio books. Although I confess to a weakness for some of Francis Durbridge’s non-series cliffhanger thrillers, notably the excellent Bat out of Hell, the tv adaptations of the Temple stories, which I remember from my teens, left me underwhelmed.

So I invested in a set of 10 of the Temple audio books, just to see what all the fuss was about, and I enjoyed them far more than I expected. I have a long and very tedious commute to and from work each day, and the Temple mysteries certainly improved the journey. They are light and undemanding fare, and after a few stories, you start to anticipate the stock plot devices. Sir Graham Forbes from Scotland Yard pops in to the Temples' posh London flat with alarming regularity to seek help when the police are baffled. Every time the Temples get into a car, one fears that they will be driven off the road by a malevolent enemy. And their consumption of martinis is prodigious. Of course, the sensibilities are dated. But every now and then, Durbridge pulls off a genuinely clever conjuring trick, and this facility alone makes the stories fun escapism for fans of traditional detective fiction.

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