Charles Paris: A Reconstructed Corpse

A BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation
Length: 1 hr and 52 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (96 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Bill Nighy returns as Charles Paris: unsuccessful actor, bad husband, and dipsomaniac. Desperately in need of work, having been kicked out of his marital home, Charles jumps at playing a missing property developer in a crime-reconstruction program. But the missing person case soon turns to murder when severed body parts begin to appear. 

Television ratings soar as the public tune in to discover every gory detail of the case. The raging egos and jealous maneuverings of the producers, presenters, and the police provide a long list of suspects for Charles as he pieces together a macabre jigsaw puzzle of murder. 

Bill Nighy, Suzanne Burden, and Jon Glover are among the star cast in this enjoyable mystery, dramatised by Jeremy Front.

Written by Jeremy Front, based on the novel by Simon Brett. 

©2012 AudioGO Ltd (P)2012 AudioGO Ltd
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    4 out of 5 stars

Well worth the sales price!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

These BBC productions are funny, clever, tightly written and well-acted.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

The plot is a bit far-fetched, but the cast's reaction to the situation is the true entertainment.

Have you listened to any of Bill Nighy’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Nighy's take on Charles Paris is ideal.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

These Charles Paris stories are like literary rice pudding--you could consume the whole batch in one sitting, but taking it in reasonable servings is probably the best bet. It lasts longer that way...

Any additional comments?

Grab these productions whenever they're on sale! That way, their value only pays more in dividends!

3 people found this helpful

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GREAT performance makes “okay” story good

So usually we listen to one narrator reading a story. Occasionally Audible puts out selections that were programmed to be heard as a play (often originally done for radio, but I don’t know if that’s the case here). This is recent, and a full cast production of a short mystery, starring Bill Nighy, Suzanne Burden and Jon Glover.

The story itself is short, comedic, and ranks somewhere along the lines of a cozy, though not exactly that. Nighy plays a desperate out-of-work actor, Charles Paris, who seems to have a talent for exasperating everyone around him. He is given a role in a tv show billed as “Info-tainment.” He plays a man who was murdered, as it evolves into actual murder.

While I wouldn’t rave about the actual play, I would like to send my highest recommendations for the listening experience, just because the sound quality of this full cast recording was excellent. It is relatively new, not like some of the older radio broadcasts that have been reworked for listening. I was surprised at how nicely it played.

What made me want to find a cloth to bite down on in frustration, though, was that this is a 2 hour, 4 act play. And after every act, they laboriously had to go through all the music and credits (do they think we can’t remember for 30 minutes?). It was such an interruption. For serialized radio over days it would have made sense. For something most people would hear in one sitting, it is just annoying.

Anyway, everybody has stuff that gets under their skin, so just know to expect that, and enjoy. It’s rather a fun listen.

5 people found this helpful

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Sexiest 50-something couple there is!

Would you listen to A Reconstructed Corpse (BBC Radio Crimes) again? Why?

I love the BBC productions of the Charles Paris stories. I wish they'd do all of them. Bill Nighy IS Charles Paris, and with Suzanne Burden, they are the sexiest couple-- with such terrific dialogue and warmth between them.

These productions are very trim, but I don't miss what they leave out from the books. Bill Nighy and Suzanne Burden are worth every minute. And he and John Glover (who plays his agent) are almost as funny together.

These are just plain fun.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Frances-- Charles' wife, long "abandoned," but entirely her own woman, who takes him when she wants him, and kicks him out when she doesn't. They are great together-- funny, loose, sexy. Frances usually takes the lead in some action, and as Charles calls her, she's Boadicea come back to life.

What about Bill Nighy’s performance did you like?

He's wry and funny and does the asides that are so CHARLES in ways that really honor the character.

2 people found this helpful

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Mystery and Adventure at its Best

Easy and quick listen for you mystery fans. Just sit back and relax while Paris takes you for a ride.

1 person found this helpful

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Awesome writings and performances!!!

I am a great fan of Bill Nighy so when I saw his name attached to these audible readings I just had to get them. I am SOOO glad I did.
His performance as well as the other narrators were awesome !!! I just couldn't get enough of them!!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Colin
  • 05-08-17

Another winner from the Charles Paris Radio Series

I am a big fan of this series, and am very happy to say that this title maintains the high standards of previous episodes.

Charles has some TV work, in which he will be playing a missing person on behalf of a true crime re-enactment show. The show is being filmed in Brighton, and Charles will be staying in a posh hotel provided by the TV production company.

So far, so good; but of course this is Charles Paris, and no sooner has he completed his initial filming duties when a severed limb is found, and the tone of the show changes from missing person to potential murder hunt. Consequently, Charles needs to stay in Brighton for additional filming, and so he invites his long-suffering and semi-detached wife, Frances, to join him so that they can celebrate 35 years of ‘divorce avoidance’.

Of course, being Charles, he can’t resist poking his nose into the circumstances surrounding the discovery of the severed limb, and certain loose ends lead him to decide that further investigation is called for. This would be standard fare for regular readers, but in this case Charles is joined during his investigation by Frances, and their banter (always a highlight of the series) had me laughing out loud.

Script is, as ever, crisp and precise, with the usual excellent performances throughout.

If you are a fan of radio comedy, or simply have a car journey coming up, you are going to love this…

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • S. M. A. John
  • 08-14-17

A superb rendition!

A superb BBC adaptation with a fantastic cast! Keep them coming they are really enjoyable!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Peppipig
  • 06-22-20

Entertainment at its best!

Superbly acted by Bill Nighy, Charles Paris is pure entertainment and will keep you listening, laughing and applauding

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  • Norma Miles
  • 12-20-19

Shaving Ryan's Privates

Another of the absolutely deliciously funny Charles Paris murder mysteries, dramatized for the BBC by Jeremy Front, based on the novel by Simon Brett. Charles is an (often out of work) actor whose relationship with his wife is erratic: it is their 35th divorce avoidance anniversary. Charles' agent has secured him a one day TV part, impersonating a murder victim in a popular true crime programme. And where Charles gkes, chaos usually follows, even if it is not his fault. This time it follows to Brighton.

This series of adaptations for the BBC is great fun with Bill Nighy perfecting the role of Paris and a full cAst backing his performance.Additionally, there are snippets of early 70s music by the Who, Carol King and Pink Floyd , amongst others, as well as the different cell phone ring tones for each of Charles' contacts, the death March for his agent, Maurice, and Je t'aime for his wife, for example. A convoluted murder plot completes the pleasure.

It's skillfully silly, deliciously drops and artfully acted. Love it. Get it. Listen and enjoy.

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  • buggaboo-boo
  • 02-03-19

Ok - so people die, but who and why?

Always brilliantly acted by the cast, I did enjoy this but it was not up to the usual high standard of the Charles Paris mysteries.
I listened several times and couldn't work out who died, why and what was the entire point of the entire thing.

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  • Sue Barrett
  • 12-07-18

Another great listen

Thrown out by his wife and lodging with his agent. Great way to begin another entertaining episode in the life of Charles Paris.

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  • fotini
  • 11-22-18

Always fun

Another Charles Paris mystery, beautifully read but the stories are beginning to be a bit samey. Charles drinks too much, tries to make it up with his wife etc. However the readings are so good that I just keep on listening, and enjoying listening.

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  • Highlight
  • 10-30-18

Charismatic Bill The Sleuth

Bill Nighy is always on for a laugh. So when the credits have B N, you know you are in for some rollicking entertainment & in this episode of C Paris, he is on top cheeky slinky charismatic form. Another 10/10 to add to my Bill Nighy collection of murder, nagging neurotic divorcing wife & more Charles Paris intrigue.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-24-18

Funniest ever!!

Still don't like his wife but Charles Paris is hilarious!
Some of the lines had me crying with laughter.. fantastic!!!

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  • jashy
  • 08-26-14

Great as always.

What did you like most about A Reconstructed Corpse (BBC Radio Crimes)?

The BBC dramatisation though brings the story forward to today, and with wonderful down to earth dialogue - you're in the heart of the crime, the play, the tangled personal relationships and their history before you know it.

Any additional comments?

Bill Nighy is fabulous as the dissolute actor cum detective.

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  • elizabeth b.
  • 12-31-19

Great fun

Oh I do like Charles Paris it’s clever and funny. He’s a wiz the writer Simon Brett. I’ve been listening to too many of them so better give it a break.