The bank robbers were caught straight away, but in the bag there was a Concise Oxford Dictionary instead of money. Moreover, in Paul Temple's garage was the body of one of the robbers. So commences one of the strangest cases of Paul Temple's career. Before it is done he comes face to face with deeply hidden underworld figures, including the 'Master Mind'.
©1970 Francis Durbridge (P)2012 AudioGO Ltd
I've heard many of the dramatised versions the BBC has produced, and particularly like Peter Coke and Marjorie Westbury as Paul and Steve, their performances conveying great mutual respect between the husband and wife team.
I had expected a straight reading of the narrative to be less exciting than the dramatisations, but the this was not the case. Francis Durbridge has written in much more detail than has been realised in the dramatised versions which seem a little dry by comparison.
Toby Stephens brings the narrative to life in a performance every bit as thrilling as the classic BBC versions.
entertaining, sophisticated, British
One of the most memorable moments is when Paul encounters and questions a possible witness to a murder. The witness Butch Bendix is a very recognizable "type", very amusingly performed by Toby Stephens. Butch can't quite contain his lust for Paul Temple, who is completely straight, and tries to get on with the investigation. Butch's comments are very funny.
Well, it was either Butch Bendix or Mrs. O'Hanrahan. I guess I'll go with Butch.
Yes, but no real opportunity to. After about 12 days worth of driving I finished it.
Toby Stephens transitions between characters and many many accents seamlessly and flawlessly. You're not paying attention to the "acting" per se, you're just drawn into the story.
Naturally Stephens is able to do the many variations of a British accent, but he also performs an American with a New York, specifically Bronx accent....and I know what those sound like!
"A surprisingly seedy setting for Mr T"
Brilliantly read by Toby Stephens, but the rather tawdry setting and storyline let this one down for me. I listen to Paul Temple stories for relaxation: the outlandish conniving characters, the international gallivanting, and Temple's well-heeled lifestyle. But this novel starts with the killing of a police constable during a bungled bank robbery and goes downhill from there. Set in 1970's Soho and featuring characters from the 'Love In' strip club, there's little of the usual glamour to be found. In the meantime the armed robbers are camped out in a caravan in a muddy field in the countryside, fighting amongst themselves.
Paul now owns a Rolls Royce and seems to spend a lot of time driving to and from his cottage in the country where Steve gardens a great deal. Paul's cronies from Scotland Yard are noticeably absent from this story, with only an ageing Inspector Vosper popping up occasionally to have his brains picked. I really missed hearing Sir Graham pop in to the Eaton Square flat to seek Paul's advice over a whisky or three! It all felt very middle-aged and rather depressing, although there were a few occasional highlights (Butch Bendix being one of them).
I was quite surprised to find this wasn't the last of the Temple novels and that Durbridge picked up his game in his next one. Despite disliking the characters and settings of The Harkdale Robbery, I'll happily listen to more Paul Temple stories narrated by Toby Stephens (I recommend the Tyler Mystery). He does a great job with the accents and characterisations.
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