OK, this was supposed to be a review of the novel Dreams of Empire by Justin Richards, but fun as it was – possibly the best instance of Patrick Troughton’s Doctor in print – the mystery that I remembered it being wasn’t as effective as I remembered. There’s a whodunit part to the story, but it’s so blooming obvious that I’m not going to review properly. It’s a great evocation of the Season 5 Base-Under-Siege series, although Jamie seemed a bit off, and well worth a look.
But instead, on this day of the 50th Anniversary, instead I thought I’d run through the remaining episodes that contain a whodunit. But are there that many?
The TARDIS is caught, suspended in space by a mysterious web. Meanwhile, on Earth, the foolish Professor Travers has reactivated a control sphere that was retrieved from one of the deadly robotic Yeti that were used to spearhead the invasion of earth by the Great Intelligence in the Himalayas thirty years previously.
Because of Travers, the Intelligence has returned, invading London with a new horde of Yeti. A small army unit is all that remains, stranded in the London Underground, slowly being picked off. As the Doctor joins the fight, it seems that every move the survivors make is being countered. Someone in the outpost is the host for the Intelligence – but it could be anyone. Anyone at all…
Welcome to the Jolly Chronolidays Omega space-cruise. Experience the history of the first Time Lord. Find out how he destroyed a star to create the power source to enable the Time Lords to travel in time. And if you’re really lucky, you might meet the ghost of Omega himself – a disembodied spirit who only the Doctor can see. But if Omega is nothing but a phantasm, who is murdering people on board the space cruiser? As Omega’s plans advance, it seems that he is not the only one on board who is up to something dangerous…
Released in 2003, this was the first in a series from Big Finish featuring the Doctor’s archenemies – the other titles are Davros, Master and Zagreus. But it’s also a murder mystery with a unique twist…
The one episode I simply can’t ignore as part of my 50th anniversary “Thank You” to Doctor Who.
England, 1926, and the Tenth Doctor and Donna arrive at a country house, gate-crashing a house party. To the delight of the Doctor, Agatha Christie herself is in attendance, but he is horrified to discover that this is the very day on which she disappeared.
Before he can investigate any further, a body is discovered in the library… and another body… and another – all killed in the style of one of Agatha’s books. And to top it all off, the house seems to be suffering from a wasp problem – a giant alien wasp problem…
The Doctor and his companion Lucie arrive at the Sirius Inter-G Cruiser show – the place to be for all the latest spaceships. By coincidence, two important events are happening as well. The President of the Varlon Empire is hosting the Kith ambassador, a race which the Empire maintains a fragile peace, and, most importantly, Max Warp, the show for all spaceship enthusiasts, hosted by the politically incorrect Geoffrey Vantage, the somewhat dull O’Reilly and the risk-taking Timbo, aka “the Ferret”.
When Timbo crashes while piloting a Kith ship, the Doctor suspects foul play. With a murderer on the loose and an overbearing TV celebrity to deal with, can the Doctor get to the bottom of it all? After all, to quote Lucie, “This is much worse that Poirot!”
On a distant planet, in a distant future, the Sandminer crawls across the desolate surface searching for valuable minerals. Alongside a skeleton human crew is a large compliment of robots… sorry, Robots – the menial and mute Dums, the more advanced Vocs and one controller, a Super-Voc. Just for once, these Robots have heard of Asimov, and everyone knows that a Robot cannot harm a human.
Look, it’s not a spoiler to say that they start killing people – it’s called The Robots of Death, after all. It seems that Taren Capel, a mad scientist, has decided to start a Robot revolution on the Sandminer. Unfortunately no-one knows what he looks like… he could even be one of the crew. Or possibly that strange curly haired man who’s just appeared out of nowhere…
On 23rd November 1963, a television series broadcast its first episode – the story of two teachers, who, worried about one of their students, follow her home and, rather than losing their jobs due to stalking a sixteen year old girl, end up being whisked away through time and space by a grumpy old man.
Compare that first episode (it’s getting a repeat this Thursday if you’ve never seen it) with the most recent iteration of the show and so much has changed. But you would never doubt that it’s the same show – not just the fact that that old blue Police Box is still there, but the Doctor, despite wearing eleven different faces and sporting eleven different personalities, is still the same basic not-quite-human central character. And he’s as mesmeric as ever.
Um, hang on, why am I banging on about Doctor Who on a mystery review blog? Let me explain…