Killing Orders

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Title: Killing Orders
Creator: Nut Hatch
Date(s): 2003
Medium: CDs
Fandom: Martin Shaw (this would have appealed to fans of The Professionals)
External Links:
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Killing Orders is a fan-produced audio CD. It is a late 1980's adaptation of the third of Sara Paretsky's "V.I Warshawski" novels and starred Martin Shaw. Shaw was the actor who portrayed Ray Doyle, and this fanwork was aimed at Professionals fans.

NOTE: This was fan-produced and sold around 2003. The audio CD was later produced and sold by other official venues.


Back in '88 or so, Martin performed in an extremely good

radio play that has been virtually lost in the mists of time. Fifteen years later, it turns out we're the only people who have (still have? Ever had?) a high-quality stereo copy of a production called KILLING ORDERS. Just as with the rare photos which are being made available to folks in the Twenty-First century in the interests of keeping a fandom alive and kicking, and just as we produced the STOP THE PRESSES archive (recently superceded by The Professionals 25th Anniversary CD-set), we're rescuing the radio play. There seems to have been one copy in captivity in the free world -- ours -- and the possibilities hardly bear thinking about: the single existing copy gets tossed, erased or destroyed by accident ... in an instant, it's gone forever.

The play was an adaptation of KILLING ORDERS, which was the third of Sara Paretsky's "V.I Warshawski" novels. It was done in six parts, each of which ran almost exactly 30mins, and the producing company was BBC Radio 4.

Like the other novels, the plot here weaves around an investigation. This this time, $3m in share certificates have gone missing and V.I. is looking into the case as a favor to a family member. She takes on the church and the mafia, and it's a rich plot.

Where does Martin fit into all this? He plays Roger Ferrant, V.I.'s romantic interest in this story. It's a good part, and he's good in it. Roger is a fine character, and Martin is good in the role. It's astonishing how well he and Turner 'play off' each other ... and it's also pretty amazing what you can do in terms of a love scene, on radio! Some great 'moments' in this performance and a good deal of drama as well as the romance. The plot will keep you guessing, and Martin's use of the world of audio is just amazing (no surprise to folks who have heard him reading Wuthering Heights and The Hobbit, where he's called on to do a variety of voices and accents even more diverse than we heard when he read Exocet.

Martin is in "Suave Mode" in this one. Roger is velvet smooth and extremely sensual. Kathleen Turner's deep, husky voice adds to the genuinely three-dimensional feel of the drama, and the performers are backed up by excellent sound effects.

All in all, highly recommended. Where the Buena Vista movie was worth about three stars out of five as a detective movie, and barely two as a V.I. Warshawski adaptation, the radio play has got to score five out of five. Turner got her teeth into the part with gusto, the director kept a tight rein on the whole thing, and the adaptation was pretty darned good to begin with. It's not easy to take a book and render it to audio without having a narrator who chimes in and paints the scene, yet the overall effect of KILLING ORDERS is ... well, like this: sit back, close your eyes, listen and be surprised!

To learn more about how the archive was done (and to get a copy, >of course!), please visit the website. [1]


  1. ^ from a January 2003 flyer by Nut Hatch