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News of Paul Temple (BBC Audio) [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Francis Durbridge
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: BBC Audiobooks Ltd (31 Oct 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405676965
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405676960
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 18.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 322,431 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Paul Temple meets Iris Archer at a cocktail party, and agrees to write a play for the vivacious actress. So he is most surprised when she suddenly decides to pull out of the lead role days before the play is due to open. He is even more surprised when he glimpses her in the Scottish hotel where the Temples are holidaying - after she had told him that she was going to the South of France. Does her sudden appearance have anything to do with the mysterious letter passed to Paul Temple by an excitable young man, with explicit instructions to deliver it to John Richmond? What does the enigmatic Doctor Steiner have to do with events? And, most importantly, who is operating under the codename Z4? It is up to Paul Temple to find out...Anthony Head brings the great radio detective to life in this new reading of Francis Durbridge's classic novel.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Send for News of Paul Temple 5 Jan 2009
By Andromeda Descendent TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'd never heard of Paul Temple before, but there are too few detectives from this time period that I do know, so after finding out that Anthony Head was reading it (as well as being a great actor, I also know him to be a superb narrator), I eagerly gave it a go.

To say it's old fashioned would be to miss the point, as the story is contemporary to its 1930s setting, but Agatha Christie stories are old fashioned too and just as this forms a large part of the charm for Poirot, so it does with Paul Temple and Francis Durbridge's other characters. The only thing that grated on me was the "by Timothy!" exclamations and some similar unnatural dialogue of the type you only get in old films and less old spoofs. Quite unlike Agatha Christie books however, the plot of "News of Paul Temple" is pleasingly concise in its pool of possible suspects. You can listen to this audiobook on a long trip without getting too confused - it's not taxing stuff, and that's in its favour because with an audiobook it's much more hassle to rewind and hear plot points again than it is with the paper version.

I must admit, I've never heard of a woman being called Steve before - was this common in the 1930s? Steve's role is that of the dutiful wife in whom Temple can confide (every fictional detective needs a confidant) but she doesn't flinch from danger or need to be wrapped in cotton wool, and I interpreted more of her character from this than from her actual dialogue. Where a modern author may have made her a more equal character to her husband, Francis Durbridge can be forgiven on the basis that the gender balance of important characters, in this story at least, is more or less 50:50.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Listen very carefully... 22 Jun 2009
Format:Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As a fan of audio books and detective stories I was delighted to see that the BBC have revived this venerable radio series featuring the suave amateur detective and crime writer Paul Temple.

In this adaptation, Paul Temple writes a play for one of his favourite actresses but is taken aback when she disappears soon after expressing her pleasure at what he has written. Even more strangely, she then reappears at the same place where Temple himself is on holiday...

Anthony Head brings this abridged reading to humourous life, as Temple foils the machinations of various strangely accented villains with the help of his curiously named wife, Steve. You need to concentrate fully on what's happening as it's easy to miss a bit of the convoluted plot, but Head is the perfect choice to bring the story to life, and Temple creator Francis Durbridge's flair for the dramatic and ability to create interesting characters shine through from start to finish.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By E. Heckingbottom TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was making a fairly long journey in the car today, and finally remembered to take the CD with me. I was totally engrossed - not so much that I drove dangerously; but enough that I needed to add another half hour to my journey ... just so that I could complete the story and find out 'whodunnit'!

The plot was intriguing, with a great many twists and turns; and yet it was not particularly confusing. It didn't need a lot of concentration to follow the story. A number of red herrings were throw in to add intrigue to the story.

Although it was first written many years ago, the plot is not terribly dated, and will appeal to anyone who enjoys Agatha Christie; George Gently; Wickford etc. It is very well written, and the characters are beautifully drawn. It is also extremely well read by the talented Anthony Head, who uses a range of accents with pleasing effect.

I will be picking up a couple more CDs from this series to enliven any long, boring journeys ahead!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent audio book 27 Dec 2008
By Chris Pearson VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm more familiar with Francis Matthews as Paul Temple on TV than the radio heritage.

What's more I'm also usually nervous of many audio books as narrators don't always read at the pace I wish to listen at. So, I approached this CD with caution.

I was pleasantly suprised though.

These crime stories are very much of their time (that is an enormous part of their appeal) and Anthony Head's narration here in bringing that time and the characters to life through excellent narration and dynamic range make this easy on the ear and an enjoyable 'talking book' to lose yourself in.

I'm not suprised these CD's are top sellers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The amazing voice of Anthony Head 24 Dec 2008
Format:Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
News of Paul Temple is an exciting adventure mystery of the kind that doesn't quite reach the intellectual heights of Conan Doyle, or the panache of Agatha Christie or Dorothy L Sayers. Car crashes, explosions, poisonings, shootings, death by fire and by drowning are just some of the dangers the intrepid hero Paul Temple faces as he (without intending to become involved) brings down the most sophisticated espionage ring in Europe.

The original Paul Temple -- which my parents enjoyed as teenagers -- was a full cast production, in the glory days of radio before television was widely available. This audio book is read and narrated by a single actor -- which might seem like a bit of a disappointment, until you actually listen to it.

Anthony Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Little Britain, Merlin, Spooks, and many other roles) demonstrates utter mastery of one person narration. After about five minutes, you basically forget that you're listening to a reading, because Head does all of the characters with different voices, including the most perfect Dutch accent that I've ever heard from a non-Dutch speaker. Alongside Cockney, Scots and the inevitable Austrian-German, he gives us a range of characters (men and women) whose voices are instantly memorable, but not for any particularly obvious reason (in other words, just like real people).

This is an extraordinary achievement, and the whole thing is carried off without any sound effects or music, except for the opening and closing titles.

As a script, News of Paul Temple isn't quite high art, but it's a jolly good example of its own genre, and pretty much perfect in its own terms. With Anthony Head's reading, what could have been a rather poor cost saving measure elevates it to something more than it might have been.

For a little nostalgia, or just for a stomping 1930s style thriller, this is warmly recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Enjoyed it
Published 23 days ago by Peter mercer
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read
After the radio plays of Peter Cooke and Marjorie Westbury, I was sceptical about this new readings by Anthony Head. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Johnybiking
5.0 out of 5 stars Detective crime novel.
Paul Temple assisted by his wife Steve solves mysteries for Scotland Yard once more! Better than Sherlock Holmes in my opinion - much faster moving prose!
Published 15 months ago by Martin Simister
4.0 out of 5 stars VeryGood
Bought for my Mum who was very pleased with the quality of the sound and would buy more as needed
Published 20 months ago by Teresa Prescott
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting once it gets going
I actually struggled with this for a long time as it does start off pretty slowly. I also think it would probably help if you'd heard previous installments as this doesn't cater... Read more
Published on 15 July 2012 by Simon McMahon
4.0 out of 5 stars She's Called Steve, because...
When Paul Temple first met her, she was a journalist publishing under the name of "Steve Trent" - in the 1930s women were not supposed to handle 'difficult' news about politics or... Read more
Published on 14 Jan 2010 by C. Suter
3.0 out of 5 stars A good story for a rain day
First off, I must confess to having had needed to do a spotof research into who and what the Paul Temple stories were all about when I got this abridged reading of "News of Paul... Read more
Published on 2 Dec 2009 by James Cameron
4.0 out of 5 stars news of Paul Temple
News of Paul Temple read by Antony Head ( stared in Buffy the Vampire Slayer) i also have P. T. & The Front Page Men. Read more
Published on 12 Oct 2009 by Mr. I. Murphy
5.0 out of 5 stars By Timothy...that was good!
As a gift to my parents, this audio book was very welcome indeed, being as they are both quite big fans of the Paul Temple stories, narrated by both Antony Head, and the earlier... Read more
Published on 23 July 2009 by Fantasy Lore
3.0 out of 5 stars Lovely reading of an average story
I got this CD partly because I am a big fan of Anthony Head, and fancied hearing him read an audio book. Read more
Published on 13 July 2009 by Miss
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