Toby Stephens stars in this BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation of Raymond Chandler's final completed Philip Marlowe mystery.
Fast-talking, trouble-seeking private eye Philip Marlowe is a different kind of detective: a moral man in an amoral world. California in the '40s and '50s is as beautiful as a ripe fruit and rotten to the core, and Marlowe must struggle to retain his integrity amidst the corruption he encounters daily.
In Playback, Marlowe is awakened early in the morning by a phone call from a lawyer. Clyde Umney instructs him to meet the eight o'clock train from Chicago, and shadow one of the passengers.
The lady in question, Eleanor King, is beautiful, classy and clearly unhappy. Obediently, Marlowe follows her—all the way to Esmerelda, where she's going under the name Betty Mayfield and being leaned on by a cheap blackmailer.
Stuck doing a sneaky job for people he doesn't like, Marlowe feels even grubbier than usual: and he's soon in more trouble than usual too as he comes up against gangsters, hard men and a hitman...
Starring Toby Stephens, this exciting dramatisation retains all the verve of Chandler's last novel.