4* Medieval Murder
I approached this without a great deal of experience of either Cadfael or radio plays. I have watched and enjoyed two or three BBC TV productions of Cadfael stories but this is my first radio play.
The music is especially appropriate, sitting well between the spoken lines and helping to create a medieval atmosphere. Sound effects, e.g. of galloping horses and creaking doors were well produced. However, the first sounds on the disc are those of an improbable and unnecessary battle scene immediately before the fore-credits.
I imagine it helps immensely to have read the book first and then to enjoy this colourfully acted CD presentation some time afterwards. I say this because, without having any foreknowledge of the story, I found the action hard to follow initially, partly because of the accents, interspersed with a few lines spoken in Welsh, and partly because the story seemed disjointed and fragmented between various fight or battle enactments. It is, on the other hand, a pleasantly earthy presentation with plenty of innuendo in the delivery of the lines.
After several scenes, the story began to take shape and I was able to follow it reasonably well after that. The plot, for mystery fans is suitably convoluted. Clues are scattered around the story but still I was at a complete loss as to 'whodunnit', until it was revealed by Cadfael's expert sleuthing right at the end. I found the story required great concentration to follow, so that it provided a very satisfactory two hours worth of diversion. It has also inspired me to read the books. In summary: suspenseful and interesting. This is something I will definitely listen to again on a rainy afternoon.
Dead Man's Ransom Amazon US
Dead Man's Ransom Amazon UK