As all of our readers are aware, the Corona Virus has turned our world into a nightmare. It feels like something out of a horror movie. To make matters worse, we’ve all been told to stay in our homes; we can’t go to restaurants, or even go to our friends homes. And families! What of the elderly family members we want to visit? Do we dare risk getting them sick? It’s a dreadful time, stranger than any I’ve ever experienced! I miss my family and I miss my friends!! Thankfully, there are some friends with whom we can get together without running the risk of getting sick or getting them sick. And I could not have chosen a better time to listen to this story again.
The Mahogany Murderers brings back Henry Gordon Jago and Professor George Litefoot: a genuinely great double act. There’s something very real about these two characters. I am reminded of conversations I’ve had with one of my best friends. It’s hard to believe that these were two characters from one story during Tom Baker’s era of Doctor Who from 1977! Yet, somehow, they are still as fantastic now as they were over 40 years ago! It’s uncanny!
Andy Lane, who has written some Young Sherlock Holmes stories (that my son used to read), gives us a wonderful little story. The Sherlock Holmes background probably helped with fleshing out Litefoot, who is a bit of Dr. Watson, but remember, these characters have been around long before Lane was writing them. There are a whopping 3 characters in this story: Ellie, the barmaid (played by Lisa Bowerman, AKA Benny Summerfield), and our two leads, Jago and Litefoot. Ellie serves our two adventurers their drinks as they tell a story. She is otherwise just there to add dimension to where the two friends are telling the story.
And I could leave it at that – that really is the entirety of it. They tell a story of which they were both involved, involving a strange doctor that puts the minds of people into wooden bodied. It’s quite funny how many different types of woods are mentioned and I credit our heroes for knowing so many of them. I’m not sure I’d notice what type of wood was used if a wooden simulacrum was chasing me! But as we listen, we realize, they are rehashing everything because they are going to find the mysterious Dr. Talp and a new series can begin. But wait… why do they have to reiterate a story that they were both involved in if they both know what happened? This is where the story wins me as an instant fan.
They tell the story to outdo one another in the telling of the story. Yes, they are piecing together what happened, but it’s completely evident that they want to impress one another. “You can polish it up into a dramatic monologue later, old chap!” Litefoot’s social circle is a bit more posh than Jago’s. Jago struggles to make a living as a theater impresario while Litefoot is a pathologist with an inheritance. In some ways, they couldn’t be more different and yet they are the best of friends and ultimately two people who care about what’s right! “You and I have the same morals.” But that doesn’t mean each doesn’t want the others respect, so they tell a story to see who tells it better. Their friendship shines through like a searchlight in the night. Listening to Jago’s use of alliteration is positively priceless. Litefoot’s interruptions of Jago’s story are hilarious. I would definitely listen to more of them! Once you try one, so will you! And this is a perfect starting point, because… well, it was the start!
The drama is broken into two parts at about 30 minutes each. Digitally, this is 15 tracks (plus a 10-minute interview at the end). The first part ends on literally a 20-second track and the cliffhanger shouldn’t have been that good. I won’t write it out, but on it’s own, you’d wonder how it could possibly be a good cliffhanger. It’s down to the two storytellers and how they get along. And it was magnificent. The story ends with the two “intrepid investigators, back in harness!” As Jago observes, “The Doctor would be proud of us!” I’d say he would at that. I can’t help but wonder if the Doctor will meet them again one day. That sure would be nice.
I definitely needed an hour with some friends. I still miss all of those that I can’t see regularly, but I have a few weeks with Henry Gordon Jago and Professor George Litefoot as they investigate infernal incidents and crack complex conundrums! Just what the Doctor ordered, you might say. ML