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Bernice Summerfield: Adventure of the Diogenes Damsel by Jim Smith

01/12/2008. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy Bernice Summerfield: Adventure of the Diogenes Damsel in the USA - or Buy Bernice Summerfield: Adventure of the Diogenes Damsel in the UK

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pub: Big Finish. ISBN: 978-1-84435-328-6. 60 minute CD. Price: 10.99 (UK). stars: Lisa Bowerman, David Warner, Peter Miles and Simon Kingsley.

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Lucky old Bernice, she has a time ring. She can have adventures in time and space and still get back for tea. Unlucky Bernice, she has a time ring and she has been pinched out of her space leaving her son awaiting her return. She's pitched up in London Zoo, alone, penniless and friendless. Bernice is a resourceful woman and she is not a stranger to Victorian London. Using all her skill, judgement and powers of deduction, she enlists the rather remarkable support of Mycroft Holmes.

Watson, the chronicler of the younger Holmes, has sadly transduced Sherlock's older brother. Mycroft is actually the smarter brother in no need of a scribing sidekick to investigate the darker side of London. However, he finds Bernice a willing accomplice to his actions. She finds herself trapped with the time ring inert. All she can do is to wait and try keeping herself busy.

Meanwhile, an unsavoury character is making his mark in London. There are a series of crimes culminating in several grisly murders and they all relate to the number seven.

This is a good old gritty mystery which uses the character of Bernice to good effect. Her 27th century attitude sparks off the venerable Mycroft creating an excellent starting point for a crinoline induced caper.

David Warner is an inspired choice and probably should be incorporated as a national treasure. His voice is possibly the ideal tool to express silky evil or perfect goodness. I am willing to believe anything he says. The acerbic Bernice is a great antidote to boredom as well. She's clever but not irritating. She cares about her son and despite her wild excursions through time, cannot cut herself from humanity.

Overall, this is a great story that features some jolly fun Victorian style detective and a bit of Dr Who style insanity towards the end.

Sue Davies

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