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Charles Paris: A Doubtful Death
A BBC Radio 4 Full-Cast Dramatisation
Spieldauer: 2 Std. und 10 Min.
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4 out of 5 stars
As ever, Charles Paris is his own worst enemy, a louche lush who can resist anything except temptation, especially in the form of women and alcohol. His intentions may be good, but somehow the results always go wrong. What makes Charles different from other seedy, middle-aged, down-at-heel actors is that he can't avoid finding himself near trouble, that trouble being murder. He may be an amateur sleuth, but he's patently no Poirot.
Having been booked to give a talk at Fethering Library, successful author Burton St Clair invites his old friend Jude to come along. Although they haven't met for 20 years, Jude is not surprised to find that St Clair hasn't changed, with his towering ego and somewhat shaky relationship with the truth. What Jude hadn't been suspecting, however, was that the evening would end in sudden, violent death. More worrying, from Jude's point of view, is the fact that the investigating police officers seem to be convinced that she herself was responsible for the crime. With the evidence stacking up against her, Jude enlists the help of her neighbour Carole.
Very little disturbs the ordered calm of Fethering, a pleasingly self-contained retirement town on England's southern coast. Which is precisely why Carole Seddon, who has outlived both her husband and her career at the Home Office, has chosen to reside there. So the last thing Carole expects to encounter in Fethering is a new neighbour with but one name and an obviously colourful past.
The Elizabethan house of Bracketts is about to be turned into a museum. It had once been the home of the celebrated poet Esmund Chadleigh and is to become a shrine to his life and poetry - but the transition is far from smooth. Carole Seddon had been reluctant to join the Bracketts Board, and now she realises that she should have listened to her instinct. The simmering tension between the board members is about to boil over. A human skeleton is discovered in the kitchen garden, and before too long there is a second body, not yet cold.
Amateur sleuths Jude and Carole take on their third case when a terrible discovery is made in the cellar of a grand old house. Grant and Kim Roxby had hoped that their first dinner party at Pelling House would make an impression with their new neighbours. And the next day it's certainly the talk of the town. For their guests - including the couple's old friend Jude - had been enjoying a pleasant meal before they were rudely interrupted by a gruesome discovery. A human torso hidden in the cellar.
It wasn't the rain that upset Carole Seddon during her walk on the West Sussex Downs. It wasn't the dilapidated barn in which she was forced to seek shelter. No, what upset her most was the human skeleton she discovered there.... So begins the second investigation for straitlaced Carole and her more laid-back neighbour Jude. This time their enquiries take them away from Fethering to the small download hamlet of Weldsham, where gossips quickly identify the corpse as Tamsin Lutteridge, a young woman who had disappeared from the village months before....
Due to financial hardships at Tawcester Towers, the Dowager Duchess has decreed that the only way the family fortunes can be restored is to marry Blotto off...to an American! Reluctantly, Blotto, together with Twinks and his trusty chauffeur Corky Froggett set sail.
It is her characteristic generosity rather than her love of animals that finds Mrs Pargeter supporting her friend, Jasmine Angold, at a charity reception for PhiliPussies, whose worthy aim is to rehabilitate stray cats from the Greek island of Atmos into caring English homes. But the evening is to have unexpected consequences. At the event, Mrs P is taken aback to meet a woman who claims to be the sister of her late husband, the much-missed Mr Pargeter.
Charles Paris returns again, in a fringe show at the Edinburgh Festival, with another nubile girl to provoke him, his accommodating wife to console him and a gory murder to challenge him. Edinburgh and the Festival are both background and foreground with Charles flitting between a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a ‘mixed-media’ satire, a late-night revue and his own one-man show on Thomas Hood. Then a fading pop star is murdered, there’s a bomb scare in Holyrood Palace and someone makes a suicide leap from the top of the Rock….
Ellen Curtis runs her own business helping people who are running out of space. As a declutterer, she is used to encountering all sorts of weird and wonderful objects in the course of her work. What she has never before encountered is a dead body. When Ellen stumbles across the body of a young woman in an over-cluttered flat, suspicion immediately falls on the deceased homeowner's son. No doubt Nate Ogden is guilty of many things - but is he really the killer? Discovering a link between the victim and her own past, Ellen sets out to uncover the truth.
Although she hadn't known Leonard Mallett well, Carole Seddon feels duty bound to attend her fellow committee member's funeral. As she suspected, the sermon is very predictable - not unlike Leonard himself. What she couldn't have predicted was that the deceased's daughter would use the occasion to publicly accuse her stepmother of murder. Did Heather Mallett really kill her husband? Deciding to get to the heart of the matter, Carole's neighbour Jude joins the new community choir - and discovers that amidst the clashing egos and petty resentments lurk some decidedly false notes.
When the owner of Polly's Cake Shop announces her retirement, the Fethering residents start to worry about the loss of this popular amenity. Alarmed by rumours that the café might become a Starbucks, a group clubs together to form an action committee. The plan is that Polly's should become a community venture managed and run by volunteers from the village. Roped in to help, Jude finds the committee meetings fraught with petty power struggles, clashing personalities and monstrous egos.
Carole Seddon has never enjoyed holidays much. Nevertheless, she has allowed herself to be persuaded by her friend Jude to accept a fortnight’s free accommodation at a luxurious Turkish villa owned by Jude’s property developer friend Barney Willingdon. But from the outset the holiday is marred by a series of menacing incidents.
Landing a minor part in the Empire Theatre Eastbourne’s Christmas production of Cinderella, Charles Paris soon discovers that his main role is to gently introduce the show’s baffled American star, Kenny Polizzi, to the bizarre customs of English pantomime. During their sessions in the local pub, Charles finds himself increasingly caught up in Polizzi’s tangled affairs. But Charles is about to be far more involved than he might wish when he stumbles across a body beneath Eastbourne Pier.
Jude's life has been turned upside-down thanks her new man, Piers Targett, who's keen to get her involved in his hobby – or obsession – of Real Tennis. But when one of Piers' friends dies on the court in suspicious circumstances, Jude finds herself caught up in the police investigation. Meanwhile, Jude's neighbour Carole is trying to identify the human remains known locally as the “Lady in the Lake”.
Charles Paris is on his way up again, career-wise. No longer ‘resting’ or playing a corpse in a cupboard, he finds himself doubling almost every role in a provincial production of the play dreaded by superstitious theatrefolk: Macbeth.
The affluent seaside resort of Smalting is unaccustomed to crime. So when human remains are found beneath the floorboards of a beach hut, the community is awash with suspicion. Amateur sleuths Carole Seddon and best friend Jude are drawn into the mystery, and their suspicion quickly falls on attractive Philly Rose, a young Londoner newly arrived in the area, whose boyfriend has recently vanished.
Carole Seddon hates Christmas - it all seems rather a waste of time. So when her best friend, Jude, drags her along to go shopping at a local store called Gallimaufry, she can feel her inner Scrooge knocking. Then Gallimaufry is burnt down, and a body is discovered. It seems like a tragic accident, but it’s not natural causes when a gun is involved. With a host of suspicious characters - the infamous womanizer Ricky Le Bonnier; Piers Duncton, an unfunny comedy writer; and Anna Carter, the lonely dog walker - the lady detectives know they have their work cut out for them.
When Carole goes for a trim at Connie’s Clip Joint, she doesn’t expect to find herself at the scene of a murder. But in the back room, strangled by the lead of a hairdryer, sits Connie’s young assistant Kyra. Carole and her sleuthing friend Jude are soon enjoying some tactical snooping, and it seems that Fethering’s fingers are pointing at Kyra’s boyfriend Nathan, who has disappeared. As our discreet lady detectives decide there are only so many haircuts they can have for the sake of neighbourhood crime-solving, they also realise that this is no cut-and-dried case....
Carole Seddon's son is soon to be married to Gaby. But Marie and Harold Martin seem desperate to keep plans for their daughter's big day as low-key as possible. After a quiet engagement party, Harold disappears...only to be found dead the next day in a burnt out car in Epping Forest. Carole discovers that the Martins are hiding secrets that can be traced back 30 years, to the murder of Marie's best friend. Now the girl's killer has been released from prison and is back in his old stomping ground.