Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 164 – Hands of Mr. Ottermole

Claude Rains

Claude Rains

“The Hands of Mr. Ottermole” was short story by early 20th century writer, Thomas Burke, a British writer. Anthony Boucher, the great mystery fiction critic, said of the story that it is “a sheerly, terrifying story…which imparts to the reader a quality of horror and shock usually associated with tales of supernatural or pure sensation, while staying in the bounds of the strict detective story.”

This version (there were several on radio) is from Suspense and stars a great duo of Claude Rains and Vincent Price. Adapted by Ken Crossen, who wrote the Milo March stories under the pseudonym of M.E. Chaber.

Music under is the Nocturne in C Minor, Op 48, No. 1 by Frederic Chopin.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 163 – Police Blotter

Bill ZuckertThis podcast – a look at the police procedural Police Blotter. The series was little known and only two copies exist. It wasn’t a very good series and definitely not a procedural along the lines of Dragnet from which it was probably created to copy. It starred character actor Bill Zuckert who is heard over many radio dramas in the fifties, but who never really handled a starring role well. He was just too typecast with his husky, tough guy sounding voice.

Music under is November Moon sung by Lindsay Wynn.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 162 – A Merry Christmas

Dick Powell

Dick Powell

A Merry Christmas gift – I am repeating an episode I did of Richard Diamond, Private Detective back in 2006. This one is a wonderful Christmas variation on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.


Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 161 – Box 13

Alan Ladd

Alan Ladd

The newspaperman as detective has been a part of many radio series. I revisit one of them in Box 13 which starred Alan Ladd. Leroy Panek says “If many of the writers of the period were journalists, the newspaper person is also a favorite character in their detective and crime stories.” The same is true of radio since many of its detective series were born out of pulp characters and naturally some involved the newspaperman-detective.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 160 – Banquo’s Chair

Donald Crisp

Donald Crisp

Rupert Croft-Cooke is a little known British writer who wrote a short story based upon a play called Banquo’s Chair in 1930. His mystery writings were never on the level of Dorothy Sayers, Agatha Christie or G.K Chesterton, all of whom he spoofed in a detective story he wrote. But his story Banquo’s Chair did achieve some success starting with the play, then radio drama, then film. The radio version was heard over Suspense and was broadcast three times and starred the character actor Donal Crisp as the Inspector.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 159 – Hot Copy Revisited

Fern Persons

Fern Persons

A revisit to the early forties female detective series Hot Copy which premiered in October 1941 and carried through the war years until November 1944. With the initial lead of Anne Rogers, columnist and detective, starring Fern Persons, a Chicago area radio actress. The series featured mostly crimes committed that seem to have a war theme including black market sales of Silk Stockings, Nazi spies and the standard robbers and felons. Later scripter featured the well-known Science Fiction writer, Nelson Bond, who wrote mostly the 1944 series.

Music under is Cotton Tail played by Andre Previn Trio.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 158 – Crime on the Waterfront

Myron "Mike" Wallace

Myron Wallace

Often pilot episodes never make it to broadcast. Crime on the Waterfront starring Myron Wallace is one of those detective series that never saw the light of airtime. Coming before potential sponsors in 1949 just when television was getting wind in its sail, and given the plethora of radio detectives already on, Crime on the Waterfront never had a chance.

Myron Wallace was good though he sounded a lot like Charles Russell in Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar but Wallace’s Lt. Cagle was a real detective working for a police department.  Who knows if the shows failure was why Myron Wallace soon became Mike Wallace leading to his long stint on CBS Television’s 60 Minutes!

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 157 – Appointment With Fear

Valentine Dyall - Man in Black

Valentine Dyall

This week, a Suspense clone suggested by and scripted by John Dickson Carr, who was also the creator of the Man In Black on Suspense. Appointment With Fear was JD Carr’s bringing of Suspense to the British public in the mid-1940s. Their Man in Black looked and sounded the part – Valentine Dyall, a man with a sonorous voice.

This episode is a Dr. Gideon Fell mystery. Fell was one of Carr’s creations – a detective who was both pompous and portly and the actor in this episode certainly fits the description aurally!  This is an episode called “The Clock Strikes Eight.”

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 156 – Orient Express

E.G. Marshall

EG Marshall

This week a completely different radio play for the Radio Detective Story Hour. Not so much mystery as spy thriller. And not so much old time radio as new radio drama. The story involves a mystery on a train during Cold War Europe.  The train is another route of the Orient Express and involves murder, documents and a bit of a chase. Not as much a detective story as one I think you will enjoy anyway. The play was heard over the CBS Radio Mystery Theatre in 1977.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 155 – Trent’s Last Case

E.C. Bentley

E.C. Bentley

This week you’ll hear from a detective who is not well known, yet, the novel on which it is based is considered very influential to the modern detective story. E.C. Bentley originally wrote his novel, Trent’s Last Case, on a challenge from his life-long friend, G.K. Chesterton. Bentley wrote this after becoming exasperated with the “perfection” Conan Doyle built into his detective, Sherlock Holmes. Bentley’s Trent is more human like the rest of us and makes mistakes.

This episode is from Suspense and is a satisfactory, though not perfect adaptation of the novel.

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