Iain McLaughlin

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Kerides the Thinker

Imagination Theater radio series

Created and written by Iain McLaughlin and Claire Bartlett

Alexandria 276BC

A series of murder mysteries set in Alexandria beginning in 276BC. Kerides is a student with a huge knowledge of many subjects, but he's not street-wise. Adrea is a former slave, who becomes his his housekeeper. She has no education but she is sharp and intelligent and she understands Alexandria and its people better than Kerides does. She also has a sarcastic edge and a tendency to speak before she thinks. Kerides curiosity draws them to mysteries, which annoys Adrea no end. Cases are often brought to them by their friends, General Karnak and Vizier Mentep, both of whom have a soft spot for the young couple.

Most episodes are light-hearted half hour mysteries, which are intended to have a touch of The Third Man about them. However, episodes 8 and 15 are both hour-long stories and have a far more serious tone.

Episode 8, Return of the Queen, features former Doctor Who companion Erimem and was novelised as part of that series, making Kerides the Thinker a branch (albeit extended) of the Doctor Who Universe.

episode 1: Kerides, the Thinker: Alexandria 276 BC
Kerides arrives in Alexandria, keen to find his mentor's old friend, Mentep, and to continue his studies. Instead he finds himself accused of murder and meets up with the slave, Adrea.

episode 2: Too Much Wine
A simple shopping trip to market lands Kerides in the middle of another murder. This time, someone really has slipped something into the wine.

episode 3: Mark of the Serpent
When one of Adrea's slave friends disappears, she asks Kerides for his help. His investigation uncovers that more than one member of the household is missing and that there has already been a death in the house...

episode 4: Death of a Thousand Paper Cuts
Nothing can possibly disturb a quiet day of reading the Great Library of Alexandria... could it? Feuding philosophers and a dead librarian ruin Kerides and Adrea's plans for a quiet day.

episode 5: Death of a Nobody
When a merchant from out of town is murdered in his rooms, there are only two major problems facing Kerides - the victim's body has gone missing and the only witness to the crime is completely blind. And why do none of the clues make any sense at all?

episode 6: Death of a Pharaoh
This murder is far more challenging for Kerides. His dilemma is stark - he must murder the Pharaoh or see Adrea killed.

episode 7: Death Over Dinner
All Adrea really wants is a night away from cooking and cleaning - and definitely a night away from murder. Unfortunately, they picked exactly the wrong tavern to visit for a quiet, peaceful meal.

episode 8: Return of the Queen (double length episode)
A woman, claiming to be a long dead Queen returned to life tells Kerides and Mentep of a plan to attack Egypt. Her story must surely be bogus, but can they take the risk? 
True fact: Erimem, one of the Doctor's companions from the Big Finish series of Doctor Who audios makes a guest appearance in this story.

episode 9: The Scene of the Crime
Adrea's temper causes trouble for Kerides during an investigation and that means trouble for their relationship. The only question is, will they live long enough to sort their relationship out?

episode 10: The Mother of All Crimes
Usually Adrea rails against Kerides getting involved in solving crimes... this time she's begging him to save the life of a slave accused of murder. She thinks the slave could be the mother she has never known.

episode 11: Brother, Can You Spare A Crime?
Having found her mother, Adrea and Kerides begin to investigate more into who Adrea's father was. The answer proves the old adage true... you really can't choose your family.
True fact: Claire Bartlett plotted this episode sitting in the canteen in the last 2 or 3 minutes of her lunch-break of her last day before going on maternity leave. She worked out the plot, the characters, the motivations and the crimes in a sort of stream of consciousness which I turned into a script. I am slightly in awe of how quickly she put this story together.

episode 12: Shopping Can Be Murder
Some people lose their head when they're shopping. Only Kerides could find one. A shopping trip to buy food for a quiet meal becomes a murder investigation which threatens to turn everyone vegetarian.

episode 13: The Walking Dead
A banquet to celebrate the forthcoming marriage of Kerides and Adrea is thrown into turmoil with the murder of an honoured guest, the threat of plague and corpses rising from the dead. 

episode 14: Last Night of Freedom
Every wedding needs a Bachelor Party. Unfortunately, Kerides' Bachelor Party includes kidnapping, a drunk mother-in-law and a threat to destroy Alexandria.

episode 15: Till Death Do You Part (double length episode)
The day of Kerides and Adrea's wedding has finally arrived. What could possibly go wrong? Start with an army of wedding-crashers - and we do mean an army - and things go from there. Will Egypt be saved? And will Adrea and Kerides finally tie the knot?

episode 16: Changing of the Guard
The now married Kerides has been commissioned into Pharaoh's army and has gone to war, leaving Adrea in Alexandria... but Adrea might prove every bit as adept an investigator as her husband... different in method but equally effective.

episode 17: Battle Lines
As the first battle of the war approaches, a mystery in camp leads Kerides and General Karnak to believe that they may have even bigger trouble than they expected.

episode 18: Harbouring Criminals
At home in Alexandria, Adrea enjoys Kerides' occasional letters home. She is also drawn to investigate strange happenings at the harbour which may be related to the war.

episode 19: Command Decisions

Currently available to buy

The scripts for the first eight episodes of the series are available in this book, which has notes for each story written by the script's writers.

Included in this collection is Return of the Queen, featuring the uncrowned Erimem from the universe of Doctor Who, and from her own series of novels published by Thebes Publishing. Available from the Thebes website or on Amazon.

The scripts for episodes 9 - 15 of the series are available in this collection, which has notes for each story written by the script's writers.

Available from the Thebes website or on Amazon.

Episode 8, The Return of the Queen, was novelised and expanded as part of the Erimem series.

The first six episodes of Kerides, The Thinker are available as a box set on CD from the Imagination Theater website. Most of the episodes broadcast so far can be bought as single episode downloads.

The second volume of adventures from Kerides and Adrea is also available from Imagination Theater's website. This collection contains five episodes, including the double length story, Return of the Queen

In discussion

There have been some discussions about the possibility of a Kerides the Thinker novel or of an anthology of short stories. It's something Claire and I are both keen on pursuing, so hopefully that will happen either in 2017 or 2018.