It is a beautiful but rare thing, the thud of a new Scarifyers audio on the metaphorical doormat – but we live in miraculous times, for such a thud has just been heard. Yes, for the first time since 2014’s The King of Winter, Messrs Crow and Dunning of MI13 are back in The Gnomes of Death. This time the pair are having to deal with the mysterious appearance of depeditated corpses (that’s having had their feet cut off), followed by Morris dancing, the odd Indian god or two and copious amounts of real ale. Just another weekend in 1930s Britain, then.
Although the culprits are telegraphed a little before the story has even begun – not least by the title and cover illustration – as with all Scarifyers stories it’s really the rollercoaster of the narrative, rather than the abrupt halt of the denouement, that’s the joy of the thing. And a veritable rollercoaster it is, too: in the grand tradition of scripts from writers Simon Barnard and Paul Morris, it’s a mix of adventure and comedy that never compromises the one for the other, but simultaneously seems to go overboard in providing each. Achieving that balance is quite the feat, and I only wish I could do it myself. (I can. Please pay me. You know you want to.)
Performances, especially from the leads Terry Molloy as the timid Professor Dunning and David Warner as dour Harry Crow, are just great; and the supporting cast, including Ewan Bailey and Mathew Holness easily hold their own. Production is also top notch, as one might expect from the company who won the 2017 New York Festivals gold award for best audiobook (Baker’s End: Gobbleknoll Hall)
TL;DR it’s another stonking comedy adventure from Bafflegab, and really unlike anything else out there. Well worth a punt if you’re looking for something new; and if you’ve heard earlier stories in the range, well, it’s hardly worth saying you’ll be as keen to get this one as I was.
The Gnomes of Death is available from Bafflegab Productions at http://shop.bafflegab.co.uk/album/the-scarifyers-the-gnomes-of-death
BTW look out for something a bit different from Bafflegab coming up: Blood on Satan’s Claw is an audio remake of the classic British 70s horror vehicle, starring Mark Gatiss and Reece Sheersmith alongside actress from the original movie Linda Hayden. Go to http://www.bafflegab.co.uk for more details.