Loveday Brooke is generally referred to as “the female Sherlock Holmes.” Author Catherine Louisa Pirkis first published her lady detective story in 1893 and, aside from having created the first female lead in the genre, was one of the bestselling successors of the times to the Sherlock Holmes series.
Loveday Brooke in the Mystery of the Drawn Daggers—adapted by Kerry McGee and produced by We Happy Few—is an audio play version of one of Pirkis’s stories, featuring Debora Crabbe as Loveday Brooke. Tickets include a companion mailed packet (graphic design by McGee) that allows for a more interactive experience, as the audience can follow the clues and immerse themselves in the adventure.
Adapter and Artistic Director Kerry McGee directed Loveday Brooke. Tosin Olufolabi and Robert Pike designed the sound, creating effects that give the production a classic radio feel.
The story begins in the office of Miss Elm, the office secretary (Emilia Pazniokas). She is typing up the specifics from the The Drawn Daggers case, and, as she recounts the details, flashback scenes of the events unfold.
Loveday Brooke’s employer, Mr. Dyer (Robert Pike), tells her of a Mr. Hawke (Eric Messner), who has received two letters in the mail, two days apart. The envelopes have no return address and contain the drawing of, first, one dagger and then two daggers.
Hawke suspects no one in particular but sees the letters as a threat and suggests his nephew, Jack (Alex Turner), who has been known to be involved with some sketchy characters, was actually the intended recipient. He has been on leave and staying at their home.
Loveday also learns that the Hawkes have a ward, Alice Monroe (Gabby Wolfe), staying in their home for the past few weeks. Alice’s father is an old friend and has sent Alice to them to get her away from a man he did not approve of.
Loveday wants to search their home for clues but, upon learning that Mrs. Hawke (Paige O’Malley) believes the drawings to be a simple joke and advised against involving authorities, Loveday goes under the guise of a Decorator coming to look over the current layout and design.
Loveday begins to unravel a clever deception, but not before a third letter is received with, now, three drawn daggers. Mr. Hawke is frantic and suspicions abound but Loveday knows how to crack this mystery.
The Mystery of the Drawn Daggers mimics much of the same structure and process of its Sherlock Holmes predecessor, but having a woman at the helm is refreshing.
A female detective was unheard of at the time and could very easily be brushed aside as implausible, but Debora Crabbe, playing Loveday Brooke, delivers a confidence and cunning that cannot be denied.
The cast does an excellent job capturing the big broadcast vibe and the whole experience is full of nostalgia. We Happy Few has created another gem of simple entertainment that can engage and whisk the audience away from the real world for a short while.
I highly recommend the Loveday Brooke audio drama and look forward to checking out We Happy Few’s Poe projects as well.
Running Time: About 45 minutes.
Tickets for listening access and the mail-out component for Loveday Brooke in the Mystery of the Drawn Daggers are available to purchase while supplies last for $32 online. To explore other available works, visit the We Happy Few website.
Loveday Brooke: Debora Crabbe; Mr. Dyer: Robert Pike; Miss Elm: Emilia Pazniokas; Burt: Josh Adams; Mr. Hawke: Eric Messner; Mrs. Hawke: Paige O’Malley; Jack: Alex Turner; Alice: Gabby Wolfe; Maid: Tosin Olufolabi; Butler: Jon Reynolds
DIRECTED BY Kerry McGee, SOUND DESIGN BY Tosin Olufolabi and Robert Pike, PRODUCER Emilia Pazniokas, PRODUCTION MANAGER Sam Reilly, GRAPHIC DESIGN Stefany Pesta, DIALECT COACH Zach Campion, DRAMATURGY Keith Hock
AUDIENCE EXPERIENCE DESIGNED BY Alex Turner, Emilia Pazniokas, Stefany Pesta, Kerry McGee, Jon Reynolds, Paige O’Malley, Tosin Olufolabi, Sam Reilly, Robert Pike, Bridget Grace Sheaff