Colonial Radio Theatre’s fifth collection of Father Brown Mysteries starring JT Turner showcases CRT’s increasing production values. The whole collection is graced by a much more polished theme, and the general quality of acting and dialects were also up from when the series first started.
This collection features three of the most popular Brown stories. Three of these were adapted for the 1970s ITV Father Brown television, and two by the 1980s BBC radio series and Colonial’s adaptation is at least the equal of these previous adaptations.
The stories included are:
- The Hammer of God: The wealthy reprobate brother of a local minister is found murdered with a small hammer that hit him with a seemingly impossible amount of force. This is one of Chesterton’s most thoughtful and clever stories. JT Turner’s portrayal of Brown’s compassion even in the midst of confronting the murderer really gives a whole new spin on that part of the story.
- The Curse of the Golden Cross: A professor acquires a rare golden cross, but also a deadly enemy who is determined to kill the professor and claim the cross. The professor he’s been followed to England where a vicar claims to have found the rare cross’ twin. All is not as it seems. The original story wasn’t Chesterton’s greatest, but this is a faithful adaptation that hits the key points quite nicely.
- The Mirror and the Magistrate: A respected magistrate is murdered and suspicion falls on a radical poet who had a grudge against him. However, Father Brown is certain the poet is innocent. This one is a fun case as we hear Brown’s deconstruction of the prosecution’s case and how the fact that the prosecutor wears a wig plays into the startling conclusion.
- The Wrong Shape: If there was one story in this collection I expected not to like, it was this one. I didn’t get Chesterton’s original story when I read it. The written version seemed a little too metaphysical. However, I have to say I really enjoyed the radio adaptation. Colonial did a great job of bringing this more obscure but still very clever mystery to life.
Overall, I was thoroughly entertained by this set. CRT continues to bring these great stories to life with the humor and social commentary that Chesterton brought to the originals.
Rating: 5.0 out of 5.0
Note: I received a copy of this production in exchange for an honest review.
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