The complete adventures of the well-loved clerical sleuth, collected in one brilliant volume.
Shabby and lumbering, with a face like a Norfolk dumpling, Father Brown makes for an improbable super-sleuth. But his innocence is the secret of his success: refusing the scientific method of detection, he adopts instead an approach of simple sympathy, interpreting each crime as a work of art, and each criminal as a man no worse than himself. This complete edition brings together all of the Father Brown stories, including two not previously available in Penguin: 'The Donnington Affair', in which Chesterton rises to the challenge of solving a murder-mystery half written by someone else (Max Pemberton), and 'The Mask of Midas', which was found in Chesterton's papers after his death. It also includes an introduction and notes by Michael D. Hurley.
G.K. Chesteron was born in 1874. He attended the Slade School of Art, where he appears to have suffered a nervous breakdown, before turning his hand to journalism. A prolific writer throughout his life, his best-known books include The Napoleon of Notting Hill (1904), The Man Who Knew Too Much(1922), The Man Who Was Thursday (1908) and the Father Brown stories. Chesterton converted to Roman Catholicism in 1922 and died in 1938.
Michael D. Hurley is a Lecturer in English at the University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of St Catharine's College. He has written widely on English literature from the nineteenth century to the present day, with an emphasis on poetry and poetics. His book on G. K. Chesterton was published in 2011.
Twenty years ago, Anthony Galton vanished, along with his streetwise bride and several thousand dollars of the Galton fortune. Now his dying mother wants him found, and Lew Archer is on the case: is Anthony hiding somewhere, happy and eager not to be discovered? But what Archer finds - a headless skeleton, a clever con and a terrified blonde - reveals a game whose stakes are so high that someone is willing to kill.
The Galton Case is a wonderfully devious and poetic look at poverty, greed, murder and identity.
Ross Macdonald's Lew Archer mysteries rewrote the conventions of the detective novel with their credible, humane hero, and with Macdonald's insight and moral complexity won new literary respectability for the hardboiled genre previously pioneered by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. They have also received praise from such celebrated writers as William Goldman, Jonathan Kellerman, Eudora Welty and Elmore Leonard.
A darkly comic tale about Mr Less-Than-Average in an average world from the No. 1 Bestseller.
Crime fiction obsessive Martin Reed is the proverbial butt of everyone's jokes. Working as a glorified accountant at Southern Toilet Supply and still living with his cantankerous mother, he has become resigned to the world in which he lives - the school bullies now pick on him in the workplace, women still spurn him and his arch enemy is now his supervisor.
But then he arrives at work one morning to find the police on site. A co-worker has been brutally murdered and her body abandoned in a ditch. And the overwhelming evidence points to Martin - especially when he can't or won't admit that he has an alibi.
When a second victim is found in the company bathroom, things really conspire against Martin. The one bright star on his otherwise bleak horizon is the beautiful and sympathetic Detective Anther Albada, but even she's beginning to have her doubts about his innocence. Could Martin be guilty? Or is he just misunderstood?
Winter 1372, York: A man has drowned in the River Ouse. It soon becomes clear that his death was not an accident. But why would anyone want to kill a humble river pilot?
As the crowds around the murdered man thicken, one-eyed spy Owen Archer is quickly brought to the scene by his adoptive son, Jasper. Renowned for solving many crimes, Owen is immediately drawn into the case. But right from the start he realises that it isn't a simple question of one victim, one suspect.And when a valuable cross goes missing and a woman is badly burnt in mysterious circumstances, the web of deceit widens. Then another body is found in the river. And as Owen and Jasper get closer to the truth, they find their own lives in danger...
Agatha Christie (Author)
, Arthur Hughes (Read by), Full Cast (Read by), Mark Umbers (Read by), Michael Bertenshaw (Read by), Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Read by)
A full-cast BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Agatha Christie’s novel, known to be a favourite among her own works.
When Doctor Calgary visits the Argyle family, he believes he brings good news. He is there to clear the name of Jacko, who was convicted of the murder of his own mother, Rachel. But the doctor’s news is not greeted with the enthusiasm he expects, and the family seem intent on resisting both his help and the investigations of Inspector Huish.
When a further murder is committed, it becomes apparent that a killer is among the gathered party. With almost everyone having a motive and the means for murder, they must all be on their guard.
Eschewing the traditional detective format, Ordeal by Innocence examines how the innocent suffer more than the guilty when a crime goes unsolved. Along with Crooked House, it was Agatha Christie's favourite of her own works.
What began as a routine exhumation of a suspected murder victim quickly turns complicated for private investigator Theodore Tate...
Theo Tate is barely coping with life since his world was turned upside down two years ago. As he stands in the cold and rainy cemetery, overseeing the exhumation, the lake opposite the graveyard begins to release its grip on the murky past.
When doubts are raised about the true identity of the body found in the coffin, the case takes an even more sinister turn. Tate knows he should walk away and let his former colleagues in the police deal with it, but against his better judgement he takes matters into his own hands.
With time running out and a violent killer on the loose, will Tate manage to stay one step ahead of the police? Or will the secrets he has buried so deeply be unearthed?
This volume collects together Sherlock Holmes's most memorable and intriguing cases, including adventures with mysterious masked strangers, ingenious heists, murderous plots and hidden jewels, which take the famous detective and his faithful sidekick Dr Watson from the streets of London and the English countryside to a chilling encounter at the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland.
Ellis Peters (Author)
, Full Cast (Read by), Philip Madoc (Read by), Michael Kitchen (Read by), Susannah York (Read by), Full Cast (Read by), Michael Kitchen (Read by), Philip Madoc (Read by), Susannah York (Read by)
It is 1141. In Shrewsbury, civil war is tearing the country apart as the bitter feud between King Stephen and Maud shows no sign of abating. Cadfael, safe within the peaceful walls of the Abbey, does not expect to be drawn on to the battlefield - but when a Welsh prisoner of war is brought to him for treatment of a sword-wound, he finds himself embroiled in the conflict. The young soldier is the foster son of the Prince of North Wales, and a prized possession. In fact, he is so valuable that he can be offered in exchange for Gilbert Prescott, the Sheriff of Shrewsbury, who has been captured by the Welsh. A swap is duly arranged, but when one of the prisoners is found dead before the transaction takes place, the community learns the horrifying truth: there is a murderer in the monastery. Can Cadfael find out who it is? Starring Philip Madoc, Michael Kitchen and Susannah York and dramatised by Bert Coules. This recording was previously released on cassette in 1995 and 2000.
Fast-talking, trouble-seeking private eye Philip Marlowe is a different kind of detective: a moral man in an amoral world. California in the ’40s and ’50s is as beautiful as a ripe fruit and rotten to the core, and Marlowe must struggle to retain his integrity amidst the corruption he encounters daily. In Farewell My Lovely, Marlowe has a chance encounter with a not-so-gentle giant outside Florian’s nightclub. Just released from prison, Moose Malloy is looking for his old flame, red-haired Velma Valento, who he last saw eight years ago. Before Marlowe can blink, Malloy has smashed up the club, broken the manager’s neck and headed out of the door. Marlowe knows this mess is none of his business, but he has a hunch that he can find Velma. He just has to hope that curiosity doesn’t get him killed as well... Starring Toby Stephens, this fast-paced dramatisation is full of wisecracks and colourful characters, and retains all the charm and humour of Chandler’s stylish, suspenseful novel.
Fast-talking, trouble-seeking private eye Philip Marlowe is a different kind of detective: a moral man in an amoral world. California in the ’40s and ’50s is as beautiful as a ripe fruit and rotten to the core, and Marlowe must struggle to retain his integrity amidst the corruption he encounters daily. In Playback, Marlowe is awakened early in the morning by a phone call from a lawyer. Clyde Umney instructs him to meet the eight o’clock train from Chicago, and shadow one of the passengers. The lady in question, Eleanor King, is beautiful, classy and clearly unhappy. Obediently, Marlowe follows her – all the way to Esmerelda, where she’s going under the name Betty Mayfield and being leaned on by a cheap blackmailer. Stuck doing a sneaky job for people he doesn’t like, Marlowe feels even grubbier than usual: and he’s soon in more trouble than usual too as he comes up against gangsters, hard men and a hitman... Starring Toby Stephens, this exciting dramatisation retains all the verve of Chandler’s last novel.
Fast-talking, trouble-seeking private eye Philip Marlowe is a different kind of detective: a moral man in an amoral world. California in the ’40s and ’50s is as beautiful as a ripe fruit and rotten to the core, and Marlowe must struggle to retain his integrity amidst the corruption he encounters daily. The Big Sleep finds the world-weary, wisecracking investigator consulted by a wealthy family man with two big problems: his children. Carmen Sternwood has got herself mixed up with a blackmailer, while Vivian has managed to mislay her husband, ex-bootlegger Rusty Regan. Old, ailing General Sternwood hires Marlowe to take care of things - but it’s not too long before the bodies start piling up, and Marlowe finds himself knee-deep in trouble... Starring Toby Stephens, this landmark dramatisation retains all the suspense and excitement of Chandler’s complex and compelling novel.
Agatha Christie (Author)
, Full Cast (Read by), Geoffrey Whitehead (Read by), John Rowe (Read by), Lyndsey Marshal (Read by)
Ten guests travel to an island at the invitation of someone named U.N. Owen. All are strangers, but they have two things in common: they have all been responsible for someone's death, and none will leave the island alive. Over the next two days and nights, each of the guests is killed off in a different manner in keeping with the nursery rhyme, 'Ten Little Soldier Boys'. As they are picked off one by one, who could possibly be responsible? The killers are forced to turn detective so they can find the unknown murderer, but one by one they become victims... Billed as 'the famous detective story without a detective', And Then There Were None is one of Agatha Christie's darkest and most enduring tales.
From 1938 to 1968, crime novelist and detective Paul Temple and his Fleet Street journalist wife Steve solved case after case in one of BBC Radio's most popular serials. Now the dapper duo return refreshed and reinvigorated to the airwaves, to investigate the activities of a shadowy and ruthless criminal mastermind in post-war London. Enlisted by Sir Graham Forbes of Scotland Yard to help track down the mysterious Dr Belasco, Paul and Steve find clues in cigarette lighters and bodies in shrubberies, dance the night away in louche Latin American night clubs, meet sinister manservants and suspicious foreigners, and have their lives threatened at every turn. Just as well Steve remembered to bring along her revolver as well as her ration book... This new production for BBC Radio 4 uses the original scripts, vintage sound effects and much of the incidental music from the missing 1947 production. As far as possible, it is a technical and stylistic replica of how that production might have sounded had its recording survived.
John le Carré (Author)
, Anna Chancellor (Read by), Full Cast (Read by), Patrick Malahide (Read by), Simon Russell Beale (Read by)
George Smiley is one of the most brilliantly realised characters in British fiction. Bespectacled, tubby, eternally middle-aged and deceptively ordinary, he has a mind like a steel trap and is said to possess ‘the cunning of Satan and the conscience of a virgin’. The Berlin Wall is down, the Cold War is over, but the world’s second oldest profession is very much alive. Smiley accepts an invitation to dine with the eager young men and women of the Circus’ latest intake; and over coffee and brandy, by flickering firelight, he beguilingly offers them his personal thoughts on espionage past, present and future. In doing so, he prompts one of his former Circus colleagues into a searching examination of his own eventful secret life. Starring the award-winning Simon Russell Beale as Smiley, and with a distinguished cast including Patrick Malahide as Ned, this engrossing dramatisation brings le Carré’s masterful novel vividly to life. 'A radio triumph... Simon Russell Beale’s pitch-perfect master spy' - Financial Times.
John le Carré (Author)
, Anna Chancellor (Read by), Full Cast (Read by), Hugh Bonneville (Read by), Simon Russell Beale (Read by)
George Smiley is one of the most brilliantly realised characters in British fiction. Bespectacled, tubby, eternally middle-aged and deceptively ordinary, he has a mind like a steel trap and is said to possess ‘the cunning of Satan and the conscience of a virgin’. Smiley, now head of the Circus, must rebuild trust in the shattered organisation. He is also determined to destroy his nemesis, Karla, and his spy networks. He recruits Jerry Westerby, occasional spy, occasional news reporter, full-time romantic - the Honourable Schoolboy of the title - and despatches him to the Far East, where, amidst the corruption and decay of former colonies, a new battle is about to begin... Starring the award-winning Simon Russell Beale as Smiley, and with a star cast including Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Steed and Anna Chancellor, this gripping dramatisation perfectly captures the atmosphere of le Carré’s intricate, intriguing novel, the second in the Karla trilogy.
George Smiley is one of the most brilliantly realised characters in British fiction. Bespectacled, tubby, eternally middle-aged and deceptively ordinary, he has a mind like a steel trap and is said to possess ‘the cunning of Satan and the conscience of a virgin’. Smiley, wrestling with retirement and disillusionment, is summoned to a secret meeting with a member of the Cabinet Office. Evidence has emerged that the Circus has been infiltrated at the highest level by a Russian agent. 'Find the mole, George. Clean the stables. Do whatever is necessary.' Reluctantly Smiley agrees, and so embarks on a dark journey into his past - a past filled with love, duplicity and betrayal. Starring the award-winning Simon Russell Beale as Smiley, and with a star cast including Anna Chancellor, Alex Jennings, Kenneth Cranham and Bill Paterson, this epic dramatisation brilliantly depicts the complicated moral dilemmas of those who practise post-war espionage, and illuminates the murky corners of le Carré’s classic spy thriller.
John le Carré (Author)
, Full Cast (Read by), Ian McDiarmid (Read by), Philip Jackson (Read by), Simon Russell Beale (Read by)
George Smiley is one of the most brilliantly realised characters in British fiction. Bespectacled, tubby, eternally middle-aged and deceptively ordinary, he has a mind like a steel trap and is said to possess ‘the cunning of Satan and the conscience of a virgin’. When word reaches 'The Department' - an ailing section of British intelligence - that Soviet missiles are being installed close to the West German border, it seems the perfect opportunity to show Control and Smiley, their rivals over at the Circus, that The Department still has value. Former spy Fred Leiser is lured back from retirement to investigate, and manages to cross the border into East Germany in a dangerous night-time operation. But the world has changed since The Department's glory days during the Second World War. The harsh realities of the Cold War now prevail, and there is no place for heroes... Starring the award-winning Simon Russell Beale as Smiley, and with a distinguished cast including Ian McDiarmid and Philip Jackson, this compelling dramatisation perfectly captures the atmosphere of le Carré's chilling novel of deception and betrayal.
John le Carré (Author)
, Anna Chancellor (Read by), Eleanor Bron (Read by), Full Cast (Read by), Kenneth Cranham (Read by), Simon Russell Beale (Read by)
George Smiley is one of the most brilliantly realised characters in British fiction. Bespectacled, tubby, eternally middle-aged and deceptively ordinary, he has a mind like a steel trap and is said to possess ‘the cunning of Satan and the conscience of a virgin’. This dramatisation, set in London in the late 1950s, finds Smiley engaged in the humdrum job of security vetting. But when a Foreign Office civil servant commits suicide after an apparently unproblematic interview, Smiley is baffled. Refusing to believe that Fennan shot himself soon after making a cup of cocoa and asking the exchange to telephone him in the morning, Smiley decides to investigate - only to uncover a murderous conspiracy with its roots in his own secret wartime past. Starring the award-winning Simon Russell Beale as Smiley, and with a distinguished cast including Kenneth Cranham, Eleanor Bron and Anna Chancellor, this tense, thrilling dramatisation perfectly captures the atmosphere of le Carré's masterful début novel.
'Some are born to sweet delight/Some are born to endless night' - William Blake. Agatha Christie wrote Endless Night in 1967, and it is one of her greatest - and most unusual - novels. Creepy, malevolent and claustrophobic, it is a story about choices, the nature of good and evil, and grim retribution. Mike Rogers had a childhood fantasy about what life would be like as an adult: he'd have a beautiful wife, they would live in a beautiful home, and this would be a peaceful and deserved reward for a turbulent early life. When he meets Ellie Gutman at a lovely, remote spot known as Gypsy's Acre, suddenly it is all within his grasp. However, things are not as idyllic as they seem - local legend has it that the land is cursed, and several terrible accidents have occurred there. Mike and Ellie pay no attention to these tales: but when they move into their new home, the curse suddenly seems to come to life and they find themselves in grave danger... Starring Jonathan Forbes and Lizzy Watts, this is a menacing drama that perfectly evokes the atmosphere of Agatha Christie's brooding, malevolent tale, infused with passion, hauntings and grim retribution.
The Columbo of the Cotswolds is on the case again in these two BBC Radio dramas. In The Curious Curate, when the village curate is found murdered, retired PR guru Agatha Raisin vows to bring his killer to justice - particularly if the investigation also brings her closer to her handsome next-door neighbour, Colonel Lacey. And in The Buried Treasure, when Agatha embarks on a plan to give up smoking, little does she know that it will lead to a treasure hunt, humiliation and a rather nasty murder.