Reviewed By: JMChurch25
Review Date: 10/26/18 4:16 pm
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While technically not part of the official saga, 'Mahogany Murderers' serves as essentially the gentle backdoor pilot for Jago & Litefoot and their stories. Starting a few months after their first appearance in 'Talons', we are dropped into the Victorian setting of the time where Henry Gordon Jago and Professor George Litefoot are having dinner at the Red Tavern and catching up on separate events that eventually prove to be related to each other. Jago has taken control of the Alhambra Theatre while his normal place the Palace Theatre is under repairs while Litefoot continues following his passion for research. But when a strange body made of mahogany wood is found near the Thames and brought to Litefoot's attention, he calls upon Jago for assistance in finding out where it might have come from. Following a trail in Southwark to a small warehouse near the river, a strange man in fine wear, glasses, and a cane comes calling with a threatening physique and mysterious motives behind him. Electricity flickers, puppets begin moving, and a dark presence is at work in the heart of London with the pair of investigators thrown right in the middle. Almost immediately, I found myself becoming rather fond of both Jago and Litefoot as characters. Christopher Benjamin's Jago is theatrically flamboyant, somewhat arrogant, and a little bit chauvinistic. But he's still extremely likable and you can tell there's a brave and kind-hearted soul underneath all the bluster that Benjamin is brilliant at conveying. Baxter's Litefoot is at the opposite end of the spectrum being very grounded and analytical with an introverted eye for detail and frustrated skepticism. But he is also very enjoyable with a strong and good heart especially for what he cares for. They both feel very much like sophisticated trusted old friends and I never found their connection tiresome which is a very good sign. Being a Companion Chronicle and not a full cast story, the story and all of the minor characters are all narrated by Jago or Litefoot and sometimes it does get a little distracting / lost in translation with the various roles. But you as a listener are still able to follow it fine and it goes along at a nice medium pace. Their story-telling is also a lot of fun especially if you are a fan of long and descriptive language and especially the way the cliffhanger comes across between the two parts of the story is frankly hilarious. It all helps to support a frankly dark plot and something that is completely appropriate for this team even if the synopsis makes it a little bit too easy to figure out from the get go. Some of the other details of this world that Litefoot describes are also rather disturbing and makes it clear that this is a different world than the usual fair the Doctor might be found in. Andy Lane's script isn't quite perfect in that there are a few small narrative problems. There is way too much expository dialogue in explaining the circumstances of the plot especially near the end and the way it all ends is what I would almost consider to be a sudden anti-climax. It makes this story a little bit disconnected on the surface but having an idea of where the first series with this duo is going to go, I can live with that for this one. While it's not perfect and the climax might ruin it for some people, 'Mahogany Murderers' is a damn fun ride that strongly establishes Jago and Litefoot as a force to be reckoned with. It makes it abundantly clear that a spinoff series is needed for these two characters and thankfully that's exactly what we ended up getting. At the end of it's run time, it leaves you intensely curious and desperately wanting more of its title characters which is all I could've asked for and I left excited for the journeys to come.