Audio Review: The Saint: Saint Overboard + The Saint Plays With Fire

(BBC Audiobooks)

A CALLING card left at the scene of the crime reveals the identity of the perpetrator – a stick figure with a halo means it can only be The Saint, back up to his old tricks in these two new audio dramas.

Leslie Charteris’ dashing adventurer fought, loved and stole his way across 1930s, but these 1995 adaptations perfectly capture the style and atmosphere of that period, albeit making the most of contemporary radio production methods.

Paul Rhys plays Simon Templar, joined by Patsy Kensit as Loretta and Fiona Fullerton as Valerie, in what are effectively very old-fashioned stories in terms of dramatic pace and reveal, with none of the modern plot twists you might expect today. But don’t let that put you off, as this is first-rate pulp action of the type we can no longer enjoy without tongue wedged firmly in cheek, complete with glamorous damsels in distress, a slippery-smooth protagonist, and villains whose motives are never called into question.

In Saint Overboard, Templar investigates a plot to steal a shipment of sunken treasure, going to the aid of a beautiful insurance investigator in the process, while The Saint Plays With Fire finds The Saint uncovering a fascist conspiracy bidding to take over France after attempting to rescue a man from a country house fire. With plots like those, do you really need any more prompting to pick up this CD?

Admirably recapturing the zeitgeist of the era, these are wonderfully nostalgic romps which should lure a whole new audience into the shady world of The Saint…