Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra in 2011.
The tales of Max Carrados lie squarely in the classic English detective tradition, told in plain though polished prose. Max is an omniscient blind amateur detective with a wry sense of humour. Arthur Darvill reads five of his brings five of his finest adventures to life.
Max Carrados featured in a series of mystery books that first appeared in 1914. Carrados featured alongside Sherlock Holmes in the “Strand” magazine in which they both had top billing. The character often boasted how being blind meant his other senses were heightened. The author Ernest Bramah excelled in his detailed writing and uncovering of clues. The beneficiary of a large inheritance from an American relative, Carrados is foremost a gentleman who undertakes sleuthing only as an avocation. Though equipped with a keen observer in the perfect manservant Parkinson, the blind Carrados does not merely sit around deducing: he makes his own observations with ears, nose and fingertips. Carrados makes a point of noticing what others don’t, in his case precisely because, as he says, “I have no blundering, self-confident eyes to be hoodwinked.” Instead he uses careful deduction, his four other senses, and the well-trained eye of his manservant. Carrados’ friend Carlyle, a private investigator, serves as his Watson – he is just dense enough to require an explanation of how Carrados has solved each crime. Ellery Queen calls this first volume of his adventures, “One of the ten best volumes of detective shorts ever written!”
This 2011 adaptation comprises 5 episodes, originally aired on BBC Radio 4 Extra, read/performed by the superb ARTHUR DARVILL and featuring music by acclaimed composer JON NICHOLLS. The series is offered here in exclusive EXTENDED EDITIONS. You will find an additional 30 mins of mystery-filled audio within these five episodes!
Part One – The Coin Of Dionysius
In “The Coin of Dionysius” we first meet the suave sleuth Max Carrados, as he is called on by old friend Louis Carlyle to help determine whether an old coin is real or a clever fake. What Louis doesn’t know, is that due to an accident, Max is now blind. But that doesn’t stop Max from proving, in some style, just how much he ‘sees’ and how formidable an amateur private detective he could become.
Part Two – The Knight’s Cross Signal Problem
In “The Knight’s Cross Signal Problem” blind amateur private detective Max Carrados is called upon to discover the truth behind a shocking train disaster. Was the driver at fault, or did the signal-man get it wrong? As Max investigates, it soon becomes clear to him, if not to his friend Louis Carlyle, that some much more nefarious is going on.
Part Three – The Tragedy At Brookbend Cottage
In “The Tragedy At Brookbend Cottage” Max Carrados, the blind amateur private detective, is called away to the London suburbs in order to help prevent the death of a friend’s sister. Mystery is piled upon mystery…what is the relevance of the kite and the tram lines? What does the urgent telegram say? Why is there a metal plate bolted to the bedroom floor by the bay windows? Max knows, but can he stop the machinations of a dastardly husband?
Part Four – The Last Exploit Of Harry The Actor
In “The Last Exploit of Harry the Actor” blind amateur private detective Max Carrados learns of a series of mysterious thefts, disappearances and fraids at the noted and supposedly impregnable Lucas Street Depository. Along with his friend Louis Carlyle, his valet, the manager of the vault and numerous other clients, he soon discovers that the infamous American con-man Harry the Actor has been at work…but to what end?
Part Five – THe Game Played In The Dark
In “The Game Played In The Dark” Max Carrados, blind amateur sleuth and all-round gentleman, is contacted by the British Museum about a horde of stolen ancient coins. On the lookout for the coins, he is intrigued by the approach of an Italian lady who takes him from the safety of his study to a meeting with some recognisable former adversaries. But just when they think they have the drop on Max, he manages to turn the tables. Just who will win “The Game Played In The Dark”?