NPR affiliate WNIN in Evansville, IN, across the Ohio River, will broadcast nine recordings of new thrillers and newly produced rare Agatha Christie radio plays in the new IMWF/WNIN program, "New Mysteries Galore."
"New Mysteries Galore" will begin airing locally July 18 at 7 PM. The radio plays will be pitched to NPR stations around the country for wider future broadcast.
The mystery series will include a special live broadcast on Aug. 15 of four American-premiere Agatha Christie stage classics to be performed in front of a live audience during the 2009 International Mystery Writers' Festival at RiverPark Center in Owensboro, KY.
The first four weeks of public radio broadcast are recordings from the live 2008 International Mystery Writers' Festival performances and include works of Mary Higgins Clark, Ray Bradbury, P.J. Woodside, Sam Brobrick, and the Angie Award-winning performance of "Hallie Bowers," written by Harris Mack and Laura Campbell.
These mysteries were recorded in 2008 during the audience-packed portion of the festival known as Live Radio Theatre under the direction of Judith Walcutt and David Ossman. "We are delighted NPR'S WNIN values bringing newly discovered mystery performances to radio audiences," mystery festival producer Zev Buffman said in a statement. "The Live Radio Theatre performances have been such a remarkable hit among our festival audience that we are thrilled we can share the newly discovered mysteries over public radio's airwaves beginning this summer."
David Dial, president of WNIN, stated, "National Public Radio has a long history of presenting radio drama. WNIN is very pleased to join with the RiverPark Center to bring fresh exciting radio drama to a new generation of public radio listeners."
The 2009 International Mystery Writers' Festival — which is also devoted to stage plays, which it will more fully address in 2010 — will take place in Owensboro's RiverPark Center Aug. 12-16.
Here's the schedule for the weekly "New Mysteries Galore" series:
"It Burns Me Up" by Ray Bradbury
A murdered man lies on the floor and his stunned wife sits nearby. A police detective and the coroner discuss the victim while other police do their jobs. Reporters and neighbors crowd in at the door…but, the dead man on the floor tells the story before the ambulance arrives. Bradbury is a living legend with more than 500 published works.
"My Gal Sunday" by Mary Higgins Clark, adapted from Clark's best seller "Crime of Passion"
A delightful detective couple, the rich and handsome ex-president of the United States and his wife, an attractive Congresswoman, investigate the affair of a former Secretary of State and his murdered mistress.
"Hallie Bowers" by Harris Mack & Laura Campbell
War-time Christmas of 1941 leads a seasoned female private investigator and her younger brother from a nightclub dance floor to the tracks at L.A.'s Union Station when they take on a missing-girlfriend case from a handsome Navy Lieutenant.
"The Cajun P.I." by P.J. Woodside
Former cop and now struggling Private Investigator John LeGrand is a junior college criminology instructor who begins a dangerous search for one of his own students who ends up missing during a class assignment. Some good-ol-boys — and not-so-good-ol-boys — and some attractive, but slightly dangerous, women round out the characters of this betrayal in the Bayou.
"Flemming: An American Thriller" by Sam Bobrick
A farce full of twists and turns that will leave you laughing as well as longing for a good drink. An unassuming middle-aged man decides to become a private detective in the midst of a mid-life crisis — but the life crisis is only beginning! Bobrick's play is full of witty dialogue that fades in-and-out-of murders, madness, and many, many mixed drinks.
Live Broadcast: American Premieres of Four "New" Thrillers by Agatha Christie
"Three Blind Mice" was part of a May 30, 1947, evening in honor of the 80th birthday of Queen Mary. The BBC approached the Queen some months prior and asked for her special favorites. Amongst a selection of music and variety, she requested a new mystery by Agatha Christie, a writer the Queen deeply admired. The world's long-running play The Mousetrap was inspired by Three Blind Mice.
"Butter in a Lordly Dish" was first performed on the BBC on Jan. 13, 1948, in a show entitled "Mystery Playhouse Presents The Detection Club." The play title comes from the Bible: Judges, 5:25: "He asked water, and she gave him milk; she brought forth butter in a lordly dish." "He" refers to Sisera and "she" is Jael.
"Yellow Iris" was first presented on the BBC National Program in 1937. The main part of the story takes place in a London restaurant. The play is unusual in that the producer interspersed the action with the performances of the cabaret artists who were supposedly on the stage at the restaurant during the murder. It features the famous Belgian Inspector Hercule Poirot, one of Christie's audiences' favorite detectives.
"Personal Call," the last thriller, was presented on the "BBC Light Program" on May 31, 1954. The play reuses the legendary character of Inspector Narracott from the 1931 novel "The Sittaford Mystery."
Other events surrounding the festival include classic outdoor movies series, celebrity master classes, writing workshops, guest speakers, meet and greets, book signings and the Aug. 16 Angie Awards, named after Angela Lansbury.
For more information, visit www.newmysteries.org.
Now in its 17th year, RiverPark Center is known for its eclectic programming. Six professional international touring musical productions have been built there, making Owensboro, KY, one of the top five communities outside New York City for building and premiering shows prior to their U.S. or Asian tours.
The nearly 100,000 square-foot facility includes the 1,500-seat Cannon Hall, the 300-seat black-box Jody Berry Cabaret Theatre, the 1,000 capacity outdoor riverfront BB&T Plaza and the International Bluegrass Music Museum.
WNIN is a locally owned, non-profit public broadcasting station offering PBS, NPR, state and local content on television, cable and radio FM 88.3. WNIN has served the Evansville Tri-State area since 1969.