The Great Detectives of Old Time Radio The great ones are back in action.

17Apr/150

EP1549: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Latin Lovely Matter

Bob Bailey

Johnny is called to investigate the case of an untalented but seductive dancer who keeps changing her beneficiary every time she changes partners.

Original Air Date: December 29, 1957

When making your travel plans, remember http://johnnydollarair.com

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16Apr/150

EP1548: Nick Carter: The Case of the Missing Street

Lon Clark
Nick investigates a scam involving a street that doesn't exist at the request of a war veteran turned contractor.

Original Air Date: December 28, 1947

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15Apr/150

EP1547: Philip Marlowe: The Green Witch

Gerald Mohr

Marlowe is hired to guard a wealthy businessman at a Halloween masquerade party.

Original Air Date: October 29, 1949

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14Apr/150

EP1546: Man from Homicide: Old Man Kelso

Dan Duryea

A millionaire calls the police when he fears his brother-in-law will murder him.

Original Air Date: July 16, 1951

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13Apr/150

EP1545: The Saint: Simon Minds the Baby

Vincent Price

A baby is left on Simon Templar's door and a boxer asks for help and then changes his mind.

Original Air Date: December 17, 1950

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12Apr/150

Video Theater 064: Decoy: Saturday Was Lost

Casey (Beverly Garland) needs to help a teenage girl remember what happened while she was in a drug induced stupor.

Episode 22

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11Apr/150

Book Review: Tears of the Giraffe

Tears of the Giraffe is the second installment of the No. 1 Ladies Detective series in which Mma Precious Ramotswe runs her No. 1 Detective Agency in Bostwana.

At the end of the first book,  mechanic Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni proposed to Ma Ramotswe, and the story dwells quite a bit on their engagement and giving us a slightly broader view of J.L.B. Matekoni. While at the detective agency, she takes the seemingly impossible task of solving the nine year old mystery of the disappearance of a young American man for his distraught and now widowed mother.

There's really so much to love about this book  "Tears of the Giraffe" really is a relaxing cozy mystery and in Ma Ramotswe and Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, writer Alexander McCall Smith creates two wonderful characters. Maketoni really comes into focus as a kind and compassionate man who helps out at the local orphan farm and even takes in two foster children (without telling Ma Ramotswe.)

The book's greatest success is in making readers who come from different cultures understand how these characters think and relate to them. It's done so beautifully and naturally and in a way that doesn't feel like the writer's wagging a finger and saying, "This is how everyone should think!" but rather you feel like you're seeing how they think.  They're interesting characters with a very different spin on the world than readers in the U.K. or in America, but it doesn't feel forced. One thing I found fascinating was when Ma Ramostwe thought poorly of a college professor who didn't hire  servants. While in America, we might think hiring servants is lazy or putting on airs, she thought that by hiring others to work for you, you weer helping to support the community.

The mystery itself has a great emotional core.  Ma Ramotswe's goal is to bring some peace and closure to this woman.  The mystery doesn't require any sort of great deduction, but it does require Ma Ramotswe's intuition and craftiness to solve the case.

While talking about positives, I should also praise audiobook narrator Lisette Lecat who does fantastic job reading the books. Her typical reading voice is a somewhat posh British voice but she manages to give each of the characters a life of their own. Her reading of the American widow was superb. I was blown by how natural her American accent sounded.

This entry was more focused than the first book.  In the original, Smith had Ma Ramotswe stop and have flashbacks that were almost essays and there were multiple cases running throughout the book. Here the book manages to focus mostly on Ma Ramostwe's and Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni's engagement and the related plots of the adoption of the children and Maketoni's jealous maid who wants to be rid of Ma Ramotswe for her own reasons.

The story does suffer a little when a second case is added to the mix. A butcher shows up asking for the Agency to investigate his wayward wife. While it leads to some interesting discussions, the case isn't all that interesting and slows down the book's momentum. The resolution occurs off-page and we're only told about it later. The story served as a first case for Mma Makutsi, Ma Ramotswe's secretary who is promoted to "assistant detective" in this book. While I didn't like the case, I concede it does open the door for more plot twists and stories in the future.

Overall, this is a delightful read and also an excellent audiobook. Smith masters what books can do at their best: transport you to another place and even into other minds.  This book is fun and thoughtful and a great read for fans of cozier mysteries.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0

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11Apr/150

EP1544: Dragnet: The Big Gangster, Part Two

Jack Webb

A local gangster is murder, Friday and Romero have to find the killer before the murdered man's loyalist do in order to prevent a gang war.

Original Air Date: March 30, 1950

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10Apr/150

EP1543: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Happy Family Matter

Bob Bailey

Johnny is called in by a wealthy man who wants him to pick who will receive his insurance money and Johnny has to get to the bottom of issues that have driven the family apart.

Original Air Date: December 15, 1957

When making your travel plans, remember http://johnnydollarair.com

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9Apr/150

EP1542: Nick Carter: The Case of the Policymakers

Lon Clark

When an aspiring politician is caught in a web of blackmail, Nick and Patsy go undercover in search of a murder racket targeting homeless people.

Original Air Date: December 21, 1947

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