Crime novelist and detective Paul Temple made his first appearance on BBC Radio in 1938. He inhabited a sophisticated world of chilled cocktails and fast cars, where the women were chic and the men wore cravats - a world where Sir Graham Forbes, of Scotland Yard, usually needed Temple's help with his latest tricky case. The radio serials proved so popular that Francis Durbridge was inspired to write a succession of novels featuring the smooth sleuth. In this, the very first, read by Buffy and Little Britain star Anthony Head, Paul is on the trail of a gang of jewel thieves - aided by the pretty, vivacious reporter Miss Steve Trent.
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Francis Henry Durbridge was born in Hull, Yorkshire, in 1912 and was educated at Bradford Grammar School. He was encouraged at an early age to write by his English teacher and went on to read English at Birmingham University. Whilst an undergraduate he started to develop the radio play format for which he first became known. At the age of twenty one he sold a play to the BBC and continued to write following his graduation whilst working as a stockbroker's clerk. In 1938, by this time writing full time, he created the character Paul Temple, a crime novelist and detective. With Steve Trent, a Fleet Street journalist and later his wife, Temple solved numerous crimes. Durbridge's style was very much in the mode of the earlier 'Golden Age' middle class amateur detectives . The first book, Send for Paul Temple, was written with John Thewes as the novelisation of a radio serial. Many others followed and they were hugely successful until the last of the series was completed in 1968. In 1969, the Paul Temple series was adapted for television and four of the adventures, prior to this, had been adapted for cinema, albeit with less success than radio and TV. He also invented a new character, Tim Frazer, an undercover agent who appeared in both novels and as a TV series. Francis Durbridge also wrote for the stage and continued doing so up until 1991, when Sweet Revenge was completed. Additionally, he wrote over twenty other well received novels, most of which were on the general subject of crime. The last, Fatal Encounter, was published after his death in 1998.
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