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.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 154 – Love’s Lovely Counterfeit

Author James M. Cain

James M. Cain

James M. Cain is considered by many as one of the creators of the roman noir or “dark fiction” along with Cornell Woolrich, Jim Thompson, Dorothy Hughes and others. Some describe his stories as “hardboiled” though I don’t feel they are in the strict sense other than if one considers noir fiction as a sub-genre of the “hardboiled” school.

The radio drama included with this podcast is Love’s Lovely Counterfeit, in the broadcast from 1945 starring Humphrey Bogart. There was a second broadcast in 1948 starring James Cagney, which I consider a lesser version. The original novel was published between his two great novels, The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity. This radio drama is perhaps grittier than the Cagney version and also starred Lurene Tuttle and Wally Maher.

Music under “Midnight in Chicago” by jjo.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 153 – Drive-in

Judy Garland

Judy Garland

This week, one of most thrilling episodes, for me, from the series Suspense. The best radio drama is when the acting is top-notch, the sound effects are well-tuned to enhance the dialogue and the music is designed to increase tension and a sense of thrill. This happens when a good producer and director can pull it all together to positively produce goosebumps as you listen and imagine the terror the character or characters feel. Suspense often could do that. It had both the budget and the talent to create drama that was emotionally involving for the listener. Judy Garland stars in this week’s podcast drama, “Drive-in,” at the upswing in her young career. Though she was primarily a singer, she does a very good job. But it is the addition of one of the best radio actors, Elliott Lewis, to bring it all home.

Music under is the theme from Body Heat performed by Jazz At the Movies.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 152 – Suspicion

Sam Jaffe

Sam Jaffe

This week, a return to mystery writer, Dorothy L. Sayers. Sayers is best known for her detective character Lord Peter Wimsey, but this British writer also wrote many short stories in which there was no specific professional detective. In this week’s episode, you’ll hear Suspicion, an episode from the Suspense radio series based on the short story, Mr. Mummery’s Suspicion, a much more descriptive title. The episode stars noted theater, film and television character actor, Sam Jaffe, who was constantly on television in the fifties and sixties.  His best known film role was either Ben-Hur or The Day the Earth Stood Still.

Suspicion is an excellent example of a common man as detective and follows The Detection Club’s commandments for good mystery writing.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 151 – Murders in the Rue Morgue

Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe

This week, something a little different. The genesis of many of the detectives in fiction began with Edgar Allan Poe’s Murders in the Rue Morgue. His detective creation was one C. Auguste Dupin, and his method of solving a crime was as Poe referred to it – ratiocination.  Dupin was the inspiration for detectives whose deductive reasoning methods became famous including Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and Christie’s Hercule Poirot. This particular radio play comes from The Weird Circle better known for being a horror program. But the horror is really downplayed here and the deductive reasoning is in high gear.

Music under is Coyote Moon by Ben Tavera King

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 150 – The ABC Murders

Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie

This time I present an example of taking an excellent fictional story and trying to squeeze it into a one half-hour suspense play. Agatha Christie’s story The ABC Murders is a fine Hercule Poirot mystery, but when handled by a normally excellent scriptwriter turning it into a radio drama, something has to give. The radio play as pure radio drama is not bad, but if you compare it to the book or expect good things in a half-hour, think again. This version is from a 1943 Suspense radio episode starring Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester.

Music under is My Suppressed Desire by the Coon-Sanders Nighthawks.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 149 – On Stage

Elliott Lewis

Elliott Lewis

Something a little different this week but still within the crime genre. In 1953, Cathy & Elliott Lewis created a radio vehicle called On Stage. They would portray equally strong male and female roles within the genre of comedy, classical and suspense. Some were particularly hard hitting as the scripts came from the cream of the radio writing crop. This episode is called “Eddie” and is a psychological thriller of sorts about the gradual devolution of a man who thinks he is in love with a woman he just met resulting in tragic consequences. It is well written, well performed and still makes me shudder when I hear it.

Music under is “Autumn in New York” performed by Chet Baker

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 148 – Sherlock Holmes

Anthony Boucher

Anthony Boucher

This podcast I return to one of the most famous detectives in fiction, Sherlock Holmes. I wanted to have a look not so much for the great detective as much as the Anthony Boucher – Denis Green years. It was during their run that with the blessing of estate of Conan Doyle, the stories were originals beyond the Holmesian canon. I look at one episode and some of the issues they faced in trying to stay true to the story, yet trying to make the episodes their own. Boucher especially, a member of one of the many Sherlockian fan groups, acted as guardian of the canon as he created stories of his own. You’ll hear “The Adventure of the Paradol Chamber” an interesting one because it combined Boucher’s interest in Holmes and Science Fiction.

Music under is “My Ideal” performed by the Art Tatum Group

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 147 – “The Burning Court”

Charlie Ruggles

Charlie Ruggles

This week’s podcast looks at John Dickson Carr’s The Burning Court adapted for radio by Harold Medford for the Suspense radio series. It was the premier episode of the series which began in 1942. Carr was one of the premier mystery writers of the “locked room mystery” in the forties, but with elements that went beyond Ellery Queen, Agatha Christie and others of the period. Carr added an element of the supernatural, but believed that all things could be resolved by logic. The Burning Court was one of his novels that did not feature a primary detective in the role of solver of a crime. This adaptation is very well done and though not written by Carr, who did write some adaptations of his stories for radio as well as original plays.  Charlie Ruggles, well known as a comedic actor is well out of type for this episode.

Music under is the theme from Body Heat by John Barry.

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