November Dead List by Nick Perry

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15-Minute Drama on BBC Radio 4

BBC Radio 4, 20-24 January 2014
Publicized by Radio 4 as a "gritty new crime drama," Sasah Yevtushenko's production turned out to be a lot more complex, both in terms of tone and impact.  The cast was led by a familiar figure - the tough, no-nonsense D-I Flood (Nicola Walker) - but there was little indication that she could achieve resolution by customary police methods of interrogation and intuition.  Throughout the production she confided to listeners of the police officer's capacity to detect a liar , but the more she repeated this mantra, the less we were convinced of her abilities.
Perhaps this was due to the complexity of the case, involving the local Roman Catholic parish, which compiled a Book of the Dead from the lists of departed members.  In this production, a young priest Father Manu (Paul Ready) opened one such book, only to discover that the list of people were actually still alive.  At first he thought this was nothing more than a jest; but matters became more serious when some of them started to die.  Perhaps it was a hit-list.
The task of finding the culprit proved incredibly difficult: Flood not only had to interview members of the Catholic Church - which tended to close up whenever the police became involved - but she also had to travel to Ireland, where she had little or no jurisdiction over anyone.  She eventually discovered the culprit, but this was only because they chose to admit what they had done, rather than through her powers of detection.  God, it seemed, exerted an infinitely more powerful force over certain people than the police force.
Nicola Walker gave a vocally nuanced performance in a difficult role, combining frustration and perseverance in equal measures.  She was counterbalanced by Ready's Father Manu, who appeared serene even in the most extreme circumstances.