The Chimes of Midnight – Robert Shearman
Hallowe’en 1938. ‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house not a creature was stirring… But something must be stirring. Something hidden in the shadows. Something which kills the servants of an old Edwardian mansion in the most brutal and macabre manner possible. Exactly on the chiming of the hour, every hour, as the grandfather clock ticks on towards midnight. Trapped and afraid, the Doctor and Charley are forced to play detective to murders with no motive, where even the victims don’t stay dead. Time is running out. And time itself might well be the killer..
Last month I was invited to take part in the Booktrail Advent tour. I had to select a Christmas book and confirm the location which would then be plotted onto a map. It was great fun to be involved in the Advent Tour and even I was surprised that I opted for Wisconsin rather than Scotland for my location (I managed to stop waving the saltire for a day). https://thebooktrail.wordpress.com/booktrailadvent
The problem I initially faced when considering which book to use as my Christmas themed story was that I just do not read Christmassy stories. I read crime and thrillers and they tend not to be seasonal as a rule. There are dozens of stories set over winter and at Christmas time but very few actually have a festive feel. In the end I opted for the brilliant Winter Prey by John Sandford as it captured the bleakness of a dark winter (seasonal if not festive).
To the point though – the story I WANTED to use was actually The Chimes of Midnight. A Doctor Who audio play first released in 2002 by Big Finish productions. It starred the 8th Doctor (Paul McGann) and his companion Charley Pollard (India Fisher).
Why did I not use The Chimes of Midnight? Because there is no actual location specified in the story that The Booktrail could have plotted on the Advent Map!
Why did I want to use The Chimes of Midnight? It is a fabulous murder mystery set on Halloween when it was the Night Before Christmas…Doctor Who can do these things and it makes sense!
The Doctor and Charley find themselves ‘under the stairs’ in a large stately home. The Butler, The Cook, the Maid and the Chauffeur are all present and initially do not seem too perturbed by the arrival of two strangers in their midst. Preparations are well underway for Christmas and Mrs Baddeley is making her plum pudding. “Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without plum pudding”
But each time the clock strikes the hour someone dies and the Doctor and Charley realise that they must get to the bottom of the mysterious murders (and the even more mysterious behaviour of the survivors) if they are to survive past midnight.
Chimes of Midnight is a full cast audio drama produced by Big Finish. Each month for well over 10 years Big Finish have released a brand new audio adventure featuring Docto Who. The plays feature past Doctors (Paul McGann, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Tom Baker and Sylvester McCoy) and their companions too.
New companions have been introduced to the audio plays and the stories are deemed canon thanks to recent intervention by Stephen Moffatt! Charley Pollard is the companion for this story. She travelled with Paul McGann’s 8th Doctor for many audio adventures and is a favourite amongst the fans. She is voiced by India Fisher who is possibly better known as the voice of Masterchef on the BBC. To me she will only ever be the Edwardian Adventuress travelling through space and time!
So The Chimes of Midnight – THE best Christmas murder mystery (in space and time).
You can buy The Chimes of Midnight on Download here: http://www.bigfinish.com/releases/v/the-chimes-of-midnight-653