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The Blotting Book
Morris AsshetonMorris ia a delightful, somewhat impulsive young man who seems to lead a charmed life. He is independently wealthy as he has a trust fund left to him by his father, in the care of their family lawyer, Mr. Taynton until his twenty-fifth birthday, unless he marries before that date.
Co-StarsGeoffrey Whitehead (Taynton),Sarah Badel (Morris' mother), Abby Ford (Madge), Tom Bevan (Martin), Sam Kelly (Mills/Defence Counsel), Sidney Sloane (Policeman), Ian Masters (Prosecuting Counsel), Alan Leith (Superintendent Figgis)
Pier Productions for BBC Radio 4
Radio Dramatisation, a one-off play
BBC Radio 4 on July 26 2003
Repeat on BBC Radio4 Oct 23 2004
Not currently broadcasting
A savage murder in genteel Edwardian Brighton uncovers a tangled web of uncontrolled passions, lies and deceptions.
Morris Assheton has just recently graduated from Cambridge and returned to live with his mother in Brighton. He has just purchased a motor car and fallen in love --- and he intends to get married as soon as possible. He discovers that Mr. Taynton's sly business partner, Mr. Mills, has been spreading nasty rumours, the result of which is that the family wants nothing more to do with him. Morris' fury knows no bounds, despite Mr. Taynton's efforts to calm him. Shortly after, Mills is found beaten to death on his way home from the railway station. Naturally, the ugly quarrel comes to light and suspicion falls on Morris. His innocence is debated in a courtroom drama. The imprints on a blotting book is a clue incriminating Morris. But, is it a clue or a misdirection? This mystery is not so much a whodunit as much as a will he get away withit -- Mr. Taynton and Mr. Mills are the trustees of Morris' inheritance. Taynton is an agreeable, avuncular sort, charitable, religious and fond of his routines. Mills is a pricklier sort, but underneath however, they are much alike as they have made ill-advised speculations with Morris' money.
Dramatized by Stephen Wyatt
Based on the 1908 novel by E.F. Benson
ExcerptsDarling mother," he was saying, "I really was frightened as to whether you would mind. I couldn't help remembering how you received Mr. Taynton's proposal that you should go for a drive in his car. Don't you remember, Mr. Taynton? Mother's nose "did" go in the air. It's no use denying it. So I thought, perhaps, that she wouldn't like my having one. But I wanted it so dreadfully, and so I bought it without telling her, and drove down in it today, which is my birthday, so that she couldn't be too severe.Morris pushed his chair back quickly, and stood up - his tall slim figure outlined against the sober red of the dining-room wall. A plume of black hair had escaped from his well-brushed head and hung over his forehead, and his sun-tanned vivid face looked extraordinarily handsome
Describes the devilish ingenuity with which a middle-aged barrister of hitherto spotless reputation, contrived to cast suspicion upon his young client of having committed a murder which was in fact his own work. He was exceeding clever, but as the event turned out, too clever for his own safety. Skillful detective work discovered the truth by means of the very things he had done to conceal his traces. The story deals chiefly with the crime and the trial. -- Outlook
The story is exciting, it marches rapidly to its conclusion, and, further, it is singularly unlike the usual work of Mr. Benson, the student of social manners. -- The Spectator