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31Dec/130

EP1144: Mr. Chameleon: The Perfect Maid Murder Case

Karl Swenson

A maid announces she'll marry the master of the house and is then murdered.

Original Air Date: December 29, 1948

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30Dec/130

EP1143: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Pearling Matter, Parts One and Two

Bob Bailey

A news report of an influential man causes concern on the stock exchange. What's the truth behind the report.

Original Air Dates: June 18 and 19, 1956

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28Dec/130

Radio Drama Review: Gregory Keen: Deadly Nightshade

The character of  Gregory Keen was introduced in the Australian radio serial Dossier on Dumetrius. In that serial, Keen, a MI-5 Major played by New Zealand Actor Bruce Stewart, hunted down an international war criminal named Dumetrius through the streets of London. (see review here). The second Keen serial turns to more familiar territory for the writer and original audience: the streets of Sidney, Australia.

In Deadly Nightshade,  Stewart returns as Keen. Also returning was the actor who played the villain from Dossier. The character of Felix Huberman is the half brother of the Keen's archenemy. (Yes, it's contrived but work with us.) Huberman is an official with Australian federal law enforcement who is also the chief lieutenant of Carla Mingione who is trying to get organized crime established in Sidney. Keen is sent by MI-5 because of the disappearance of scientist Bruno Kesselring who is feared to have defected to the Russians, though this is largely forgotten through most of the serial as Keen finds himself trying to find the truth behind the Nightshade ring, believing it will lead to Kesselring.

Deadly Nightshade has its strong points. Like its predecessor, it is a  highly addictive and is a fairly complex 104-part story.  In many ways, it's a better  Keen story.  Dossier featured our hero, Major Keen as a somewhat dense character who did majorly stupid things for a huge number of episodes including his 40+ episode manhunt for innocent bystander Peter Ridgeway and believing the treacherous Heddy Bergner innocent for nearly 70 episodes because he was in love with her. Here Keen is not gulled for that length of time. To be sure, there are some stupid moments. Early on, Keen concludes that Huberman's up to no good but decides he has no choice but to play along with him which involves not introducing himself to the police and not meeting up with the contact that'd been designated for him by London. This stupidity ends after less than ten episodes and other lapses of sanity and reasonable judgment are short.

Keen in Deadly Nightshade  is a man to be feared in a story that's far darker than Dossier. Keen is clearly a much more ruthless character than in the previous serial.  Keen is driven and at times, seems almost mentally disturbed in his pursuit of the Nightshade Ring, even being willing to kill unarmed men to achieve his ends. He's still haunted by his memory of Heddy Bergner, much to the chagrin of Sherry Reed, a party girl who fell for Keen and became involved in his adventures, only to find Keen constantly spurning her.

The story is darker but not necessarily better in places. While Deadly Nightshade is a far more logical tale with a minimal number of plotholes, it was also a little less fun than Dossier.  The story is interesting due the concerns with organized crime making its way to Australia and the wide variety of plot twists that can fit into a story of this length.

This makes a decent listen, but definitely not for kids under 13.

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.0

28Dec/130

EP1142: The Line Up: The Green Cap Case

William Johnstone
Guthrie investigates a murder at a gas station where a singular piece of headwear is the only clue.

Original Air Date: October 22, 1952

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27Dec/130

EP1141: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Laughing Matter, Part Five and The Lady Was Lethal, PT. 3

Bob Bailey

A young rising star has been murdered but the man Johnny was sent to protect is still alive.

Original Air Date: June 15, 1955

The truth begins to come together in the murder of a private eye's partner.

Original Air Date: 1958

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26Dec/130

EP1140: Nick Carter: Murder by Magic

Lon Clark
Scubby is wanted by the police and tells Nick he switched bodies with a notorious criminal.

Original Air Date: April 8, 1944

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25Dec/130

EP1139: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Laughing Matter, Parts Three and Four

Bob Bailey

A TV comedian is taking the threats on his life more seriously after he was shot at it.

Original Air Date: June 13 and 14, 1956

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24Dec/130

EP1138: Amazing Mr. Malone: They All Confessed

A female con artist is killed and all the suspects are confessing.

Original Air Date: April 1, 1954

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23Dec/130

EP1137: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Laughing Matter, Parts One and Two

Bob Bailey
Johnny travels to Mexico to investigate threats against a comedian who is hated by everyone who knows him.

Original Air Dates: June 11 and 12, 1956

 

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21Dec/130

EP1136: The Line Up: The Pitiful Patricide Case

William Johnstone

A man is found murdered with a shotgun.

Original Air Date: June 17, 1952

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