Crime novelist and detective Paul Temple and his glamorous wife Steve first appeared on BBC Radio in 1938. They inhabited a sophisticated world of cocktails and fast cars, where the women were chic and the men wore cravats - a world where Sir Graham Forbes, of Scotland Yard, usually needed Temple's help with his latest tricky case. The radio serials proved so popular that Francis Durbridge was inspired to write a succession of novels featuring Paul Temple. In this one, read by Buffy and Little Britain star Anthony Head, a pair of spectacles spells trouble for the smooth sleuth.
©1959 Francis Durbridge
East of Algiers is essentially the same as the Paul Temple Sullivan Mystery. Character names differ and a few scenes are altered. Personnally, I prefer the dramatized version over this one. Was disappointed once I realized I already owned this storyline.
I can't believe this is the same plot and same characters as another Paul Temple story with a different title that I heard a couple years ago, so I've paid for it twice. This time it is read by one narrator rather than dramatized by a cast, and it is set in Algiers instead of Cairo -- but it's the same story and the same sinister characters. Buyer beware. The reader does a good job, though,
"Exact copy of previous title"
This is an exact copy of the story in another PT story (the Sullivan Mystery) where he has to return glasses to someone who works for a company in Cairo. The only difference in this version is that it is Algiers and the story is told in the first person by Paul. I find that distracts from the story because he comes across as a really flat character in this format. The other version is dramatised which I definitely preferred.
If I had known this was an exact copy of the previous title (Sullivan Mystery) I never would have bought it so my advice is to steer clear.
"The Sullivan Mystery Copy"
As has been pointed out this novels is a straight copy of the 1947-48 serial: “Paul Temple and the Sullivan Mystery.” Where there are differences such as the location, the reasons are political. Writing about the ex-pat life in Egypt in 1947-48 was not possible when a decision was made to turn the play into a novel. The Suez crises of 1956 and the emergence of a strong Arab nationalism in Egypt under President Nasser, made it unlikely that the rewritten story could be set there: the owner of the spectacles Temple is trying to return, could not then have been employed in a British owned company when Britain had been ejected, nor would Temple and Steve be able to go there, living a tourist ex-colonial existence, allowed to investigate crime, making friends with the local police and having the Commissioner of Scotland Yard dropping by. President Nasser and most Egyptians would have been violently anti-Colonialist and Anti British. So the story is moved along the North African coast to Algeria and Tunisia. Even there by 1959 anti-colonial politics is developing. We are told at the start that there is a campaign for Algerian independence, but it is made clear that we need not bother ourselves about it in this story. Indeed Temple enjoys the same sort of friendly relations with the police in Algeria and Tunisia as he did in Egypt.
The East of Algiers story is a curious mixture of characters with original names, and those who are renamed or even repurposed. The result is a very poor copy of the original, which had eight half hour episodes to explain one of Durbridge’s more intricate plots. The first person account of the novel makes Temple’s motivation clearer, but it loses the colonial ambiance of the Egyptian tale. Algiers and Tunis were never really British haunts. Of course the attitude of Durbridge to the locals in both cases is typically patronising, as upper middle class British tourists probably were.
Thank you Alex, I have been dithering about buying this one (all the while thinking the plot sounded familiar). Such a shame
This story is almost identical to the dramatisation Paul Temple and the Sullivan Mystery. Obiviously, when you are able to listen to several books or plays of one author in a comparatively short period of time, it's easy to see the discrepancies and similarities in the stories.
"Excellent vintage thriller"
This is a rip roaring vintage thriller. The plot is full of twists and turns and keeps you guessing. The reader is fantastic, how does he get all those accents to a T? I don't know, but he certainly enriches the listening experience. I loved listening to this book and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys thrillers the 'old school' way.
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