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Francis Durbridge

Classic Murder Mystery

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Francis Durbridge
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Titles to Look Out For:
[in alphabetical order, dated to earliest edition. Each listing includes later editions and printings]
13 November 1957 � 1 January 1958. Paul Temple and the Spencer Affair
1965. Another Woman's Shoes
1973. Suddenly At Home
1975. A Game of Murder

About the Author:
Francis Durbridge was born in Hull on 25th November 1912 and was educated in Bradford and went on to Birmingham University. It was whilst he was there that his radio play Persuasion was written and broadcast. After leaving university, he worked for a short time in a stockbroker's office before realising that the only career he was really interested in was writing

For some time he toyed with the idea of creating a detective who was also a crime novelist, but was unable to finalise the character to his satisfaction until 1938. The end result, Paul Temple, inhabited a world of luxurious sports cars, Knightsbridge flats and chic women - a bygone age of elegance and manners. Durbridge had his first detective novel published at the age of twenty-two and went on to write three dozen more.

Paul Temple made his first radio appearance on 8th April 1938 on the BBC's Midland Region. Send for Paul Temple was a huge success: within a week of the serial's final instalment, the BBC received more than 7,000 letters demanding more. A second adventure, Paul Temple and the Front Page Men, was broadcast in November and December 1938 and was even more popular than the first.

The theme tune for the series was Vivian Ellis' Coronation Scot, which became instantly recognisable to the millions of Temple listeners. In all, twenty-one series of Paul Temple were broadcast over a period of thirty years.

During the 1950s and '60s, Durbridge transferred his skills to television; Portrait of Alison, The Scarf and Melissa are just a few of the serials that gripped the nation during those years. They all adhered to the writer's golden formula: 'Everybody is lying; nothing is as it seems.'

His appeal was widespread: in Germany in particular, a new Durbridge television thriller was apparently enough to clear the cinemas. In 1967 the European Broadcasting Union commissioned him to create a radio serial for the international market. The result, La Boutique, made for riveting listening.

Durbridge was an extremely entertaining writer and the clever twists and turns of his plots were guaranteed to keep audiences tuning in week after week. He also wrote nine plays for the theatre: Suddenly at Home, The Gentle Hook, House Guest and A Touch of Danger all ran successfully in the West End.

He married Norah Lawley in 1940 and had two sons. Sadly, he passed away on 10th April, 1998 in London

On Amazon:
Durbridge, Francis. "Paul Temple and the Spencer Affair", published in 2004 by BBC Audiobooks, in cassette format, 3 hrs 20 minutes running time. Condition: checked and fully working. Probably only used once. Price: £1.99, not including post and packing, which is Amazon's standard charge (currently £2.80 for UK buyers and more for overseas customers)
2004, BBC Audiobooks, cassette
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  • Paul Temple and the Spencer Affair [top]
    Originally broadcast between 13 November 1957 – 1 January 1958 by the BBC in eight programmes of 30 minutes each in "The Light Programme"
    Repeated on radio between October and December 1992 to celebrate Francis Durbridge's 80th birthday
    Recording first released as an audiobook in 2000 in Great Britain by BBC Audiobooks, ISBN 0563553340
    Recording re-released in 2004 in cassette, ISBN 0563553340 and CD format by BBC Audiobooks
    , 056352572x

Storyline: When young drama student Mary Dreisler is found murdered in her flat, her father instantly sends for Paul Temple. There appears to have been no struggle, no robbery...no motive. The only possible clue is a package that arrives for the dead girl. It contains a gramophone record called "My Heart and Harry" and attached is a note that says simply: 'Adored every minute of it - Spencer'. Only trouble is, the police can't find anyone called Spencer. Nor can they explain how Mary Dreisler had a copy of this record given that the play is still on Broadway and the record had not been released in Britain.

Episode Titles:
1. My Heart and Harry
2. Concerning Judy Milton
3. Introducing Pete Roberts
4. That Old Intuition
5. A Surprise for Pete Roberts
6. Home Again
7. Dinner at the Stardust
8. A Party of Four

Cast & Credits
Produced by Martyn C. Webber
Paul Temple played by Peter Coke
Steve....Marjorie Westbury
Sir Graham Forbes....Lester Mudditt
Det-Insp. Vosper....Hugh Manning
Rupert Dreisler....Brewster Mason
Charlie....James Beattie
Peter Wallace....Frank Partington
Adrian Frost....Simon Lack
Judy Milton....June Tobin
Clutch Brompton....Lockwood West
Terry Gibson....Isabel Dean
Pete Roberts....Thomas Heathcote
Eric Lansdale....John Graham
Warren....James Thomason
Ritchie....Hamilton Byce
Andre Reynaud....Denis Goacher

Durbridge, Francis. 'Another Woman's Shoes' published in 1965 by Hodder & Stoughton in hardcover with dustjacket, 188pp. Sorry, out of stock, but click image to access prebuilt search for this title on Amazon
1965, 1st Edition Hodder & Stoughton
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Story: The beautiful Lucy Staines had been violently murdered by her fiancé, Harold Welden. It all seemed so cut and dried. But was it quite that simple? The sudden arrival of the victim's father at the home of Mike Baxter, ex-fleet street crime reporter, provided this engaging young man with just the incentive he needed to delve deeper into the strange mystery of Another Woman's shoes...

Durbridge, Francis. 'Suddenly At Home: A Play', published in 1973 by Samuel French in paperback, 68pp, ISBN 0573014523. Sorry, out of stock, but click to access prebuilt Amazon search for this title!
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  • Suddenly At Home:A Play [top]
    First published in 1973 in Great Britain by Samuel French in paperback, 68pp, ISBN 0573014523
    Includes stage plan, furniture & property plot, lighting plot and effects plot

About the Play: Suddenly At Home was first produced at the Theatre Royal, Windsor, by Bill Freedman, on the 8th June 1971, and subsequently at the Fortune Theatre, London, on 30th September 1971, with the following cast of characters:

Maggie Howard - played by Penelope Keith
Helen Tenby - played by Jennifer Daniel
Ruth Bechler - played by Rula Lenska
Sam Blaine - played by Terence Longdon
Sheila Wallis - played by Veronica Strong
Glenn Howard - played by Gerald Harper
Appleton - played by Frederick Farley
Remick - played by John Horton

The play was directed by Basil Coleman; with the setting by Richard Berry

Action of the play: passes in the living-room of the Howards' flat.

ACT 1, Scene 1. A Tuesday evening in early January
ACT 1, Scene 2. The following afternoon
ACT 1, Scene 3. Several hours later
ACT 1, Scene 4. Later the same night

ACT 2, Scene 1. Thursday morning
ACT 2, Scene 2. Thursday evening

 
Durbridge, Francis. 'A Game of Murder', published by Hodder & Stoughton in 1975, hardcover with unclipped dustjacket, 194pp. 1st Edition, highly collectable, very good condition. Spine is faded, and the edge of the dj on the spine has a scuff mark. The book itself has a tiny spot of red biro on the ffep (front-facing end page). Price (reflects rarity):£60.00, not including p&p, which is Amazon's standard charge (currently £2.75 for UK buyers, more for overseas buyers)
1975, 1st Edition, Hodder & Stoughton
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Story: The book features a young Scotland Yard CID officer, who is on leave when his father dies in a golfing accident. Harry Dawson won't let the mystery go, for mystery it is. Who is the young man seen on the golf links? Why is everyone so interested in the dog's collar? What is the connection with the man in the vet shop? Is it really possible that the housekeeper's nephew can be as inept as he seems? And where is the housekeeper?

 



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