Audiobook – Dark Shadows: London’s Burning

Dark Shadows London's Burning

London’s Burning sees Susan Omand in the Blitz. More Dark Shadows adventures from our friends at Big Finish...

The setting for this latest story from Quentin Collins is the Blitz in London, at least, that’s where it starts out. Caught in an air-raid Quentin spots someone that he used to know many years ago and, as the bombs fall, he finds her again, the ex showgirl Rosie Faye, this time trapped in the rubble of a bombed building. He tells her that they have met before, although she doesn’t remember and, while they wait for rescue he tells her the story of their first meeting.

He starts by recounting how he came to be in London in November 1906, having left Collinsport due to “family issues” and said that he wanted to explore what the new century London had to offer. He found Madam Rosie Faye at the Empire and stayed to watch the show because she was singing a song, I Want to Dance With You, that reminded him of someone else. After the show he sought Rosie out, finding her in a bar by the embankment and asked about the song. As they shared a bottle of brandy wandering along the embankment, Rosie told him it reminded her of her sister Pansy, who disappeared ten years previously. The conversation turns to the supernatural as Rosie said Pansy was psychic but their talk is interrupted by a scream. Following the noise, they found a girl lying in the street and, as Rosie comforted her, the girl died. Then, as Quentin walked away, the girl burst into flames and disappears into a pile of ashes. The unusual thing was though, that the girl’s dress was untouched.

Frightened by this, Rosie agrees to stay with Quentin for the night and, in the morning, Rosie decides to find out more about the girl by talking to some “ladies of the night” while Quentin visits a friend on Baker Street to ask more and they both came up with the same answers – six unexplained cases of spontaneous combustion after dark, where the girls dresses had been left behind. Rosie had been back to the embankment to have another look and had met an old woman and a lady called Amelia, with a keen interest in Rosie...

But who was this old woman? Why did the girls to burst into flames? And what did Rosie’s show have to do with all of it?

This was a fantastic story, definitely my favourite so far of the Quentin Collins thread. The chemistry between Quentin and Rosie, sublimely acted by David Selby and Louise Jameson, was obvious and the great writing by Joe Lidster meant that the conversation flowed easily and didn’t feel stilted.

There was also plenty going on without it seeming over the top or overly predictable. I loved the subtle nod to Quentin’s “friend on Baker Street” – could it have been the well known one? The supernatural element of this story was intriguing and very well played out and the line by Amelia that Quentin’s eyes had “caught the moonlight one too many times” hinted at her being so much more than the character she portrayed here.

This was a gripping story, from a cast and writer of great talent, and a worthy addition to the Big Finish Dark Shadows repertoire.

Image - Big Finish.

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