Applauding Peter James’s Perfect Murder in Malvern

By Richard Prime

OVER the last 10 years, Peter James’ ‘Roy Grace’ detective series has accumulated millions of fans through the hugely popular ‘Dead’ books.

Soon, Grace is to be translated to the small screen where his hold on the viewer is likely to be equally as great.

Before that, though, theatre-goers at Malvern this week have a chance to see an early incarnation of the Brighton-based police officer in an adaptation of James’ novella, The Perfect Murder.

Detective Constable Grace embarks on his first murder investigation with the character traits which illuminate the books already evident.

A small but star-studded cast draw us into the story with faces familiar from a variety of television roles – Les Dennis, Claire Goose (Casualty and Waking the Dead), Gray O’Brien (Coronation Street), Simona Armstrong (How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?) and, as Grace, Steven Miller (Casualty).

Dennis’s presence and the skill of his co-performers ensure that the humour – and there is plenty of it, despite the subject matter – is thoroughly brought through.

And it would not be a work by Peter James without the usual twists and turns of the clever plot.

An excellent and hugely enjoyable night out, The Perfect Murder, which is playing at Malvern until Saturday, is very well worth the visit.