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Summary

The Master turns sleuth and spy in this quintet of radio dramas.

Actor, playwright, songwriter, director, author and star – as far as we know, Noël Coward never added ‘detective’ or ‘undercover agent’ to his astonishing achievements. But could the intriguing gaps in his memoirs be hiding a thrilling secret life?

Design for Murder

In this wry backstage whodunit set just before World War II, Coward must put aside the play he’s writing to track down a murderous psychopath in London’s West End.

Blithe Spy

This Second World War espionage adventure finds Coward in New York, where he turns secret agent and uses his talent to amuse to help Britain battle the Nazis.

A Bullet at Balmain’s

1948 and the celebrated playwright is in post-liberation Paris to take the lead role in his play Present Laughter. But the murder of a fashion-house mannequin provides a stylish distraction.

Death at the Desert Inn

1955. When $300,000 is left in a satchel in Noël Coward's Las Vegas suite, it’s the prelude to a baffling murder mystery, complete with Judy Garland, a showgirl, a Broadway agent, an unlikely croupier and a US Congressman.

Our Man in Jamaica

1961. Reconciled to being out of fashion, Noël Coward is determined to finish his first novel – until his neighbour Ian Fleming sets him a challenge: become a spy once more to help destabilise Fidel Castro....

Written by Marcy Kahan and starring Malcolm Sinclair as Coward, Eleanor Bron as his devoted secretary Lorn Loraine and Tam Williams as his devoted valet Cole Lesley, these light-hearted thrillers see Noël Coward solving crimes and foiling villains with his favourite weapon: wit.

Cast and credits:

Written by Marcy Kahan.

Starring Malcolm Sinclair as Noël Coward, Eleanor Bron as Lorn Loraine and Tam Williams as Cole Lesley.

©2020 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2020 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

What listeners say about The Noël Coward Quintet

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great stories but usual annoying lack of titles

I love this series but I have a massive issue with the way audible never puts titles to the chapters. If there were a feedback button on the app I'd use it but there isn't. It's only mildly annoying in dramas that are one story per chapter but when stories have several chapters it is infuriating. The only way to find out what story or chapter you are listening to is to open the store and click on details which takes you to the website. This obviously only works if you have an Internet connection. Why would you need to download it if you didn't want to listen elsewhere? I'd just stream it and save storage space. You'd think that with all the available tech, Audible could so easily give the chapters names. Often I buy a title and then listen to it again several months later, but have literally no idea what I'm going to hear until I've started listening. It's so annoying I've been trying to find another company to buy through but this is difficult if you only enjoy dramas and not readings so at the moment it's hobsons choice, so I guess Audible don't have to care if we are actually satisfied with the service or not. I don't know how much longer I can tolerate it though. Most of what I enjoy will eventually come up on the BBC anyway, it's only pandemic inspired boredom that has driven me to buying. Please Audible, go the extra centimeter and list chapter titles!

7 people found this helpful

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Entertaining. perfect Noel Coward

Loved it. It was so superbly plaisible yet outrageous. made me smile with every chapter

2 people found this helpful

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Sounds implausible? Think again...

Noel Coward as a crime solving sleuth aided by his devoted assistant and his devoted valet? Yes, it sounds ridiculously implausible and yet these stories are SO brilliantly written and SO brilliantly performed that you immediately suspend any sense of disbelief. Malcolm Sinclair in particular is so superb as the lovably grumpy and wittily warm hearted Coward that you never for one minute think that it *isn't* him. Everything about these are wonderful – the stories are clever and well-paced and funny with genuinely challenging murder mysteries at their heart; my only complaint is that there aren't more of them. Dear Ms Kahan – PLEASE WRITE MORE! Thank you.

1 person found this helpful

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Witty

Loved the wit of the stories and the inclusion of Noël's singing performances. Has definitely raised my awareness of Noël Coward's genius as I only ever knew about Blythe Spirit, which I've always loved.

1 person found this helpful

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Loved it

Fantastic dramas. Enjoyed listening to these plays when first broadcast, delighted to find them. Characters brilliantly written.

1 person found this helpful

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A delight!

I loved the wit and charm of Noel Coward in these entirely fictional yet plausible stories. Brilliant from start to finish.