14 October 2010

Forgotten Book: SHOESTRING, Paul Ableman

This week's contribution to Pattinase's Friday's Forgotten Books was published in 1979 and is probably better remembered for the television series that came out of it than for the book itself.
I read SHOESTRING in mid 1981.

Paul Ableman wrote a number of other books, mainly erotic fiction, but there were only two in the Shoestring series.

From Wikipedia:

Shoestring was a BBC television show set in Bristol. It featured a private detective with his own show on Radio West, the local radio station.

The programme ran between 30 September 1979 and 21 December 1980, in two series with 21 one hour-long episodes. Star Trevor Eve decided not to return to the role after two series, as he wanted to diversify into theatre roles, so the same production team changed the format to be based in Jersey and created Bergerac, also about a detective returning to work after a bad period in his life.

Eddie Shoestring is a computer expert who suffers a nervous breakdown. (In those days, computers were large bulky machines with open reel tape drives  creating considerable noise; in one episode Shoestring visits such a computer room and finds it hard to maintain a steady grip.)

After a period of convalescence Shoestring decides to try his hand at detective work. His landlady, solicitor Erica Bayliss arranges for him to investigate a potential scandal involving an entertainer who works for the local Radio West.

After sorting the matter out, Shoestring visits Radio West to brief his client who has just chaired an unsuccessful planning meeting to come up with new programme ideas. Inspired by a sketch of herself made by Shoestring, Radio West's receptionist Sonia proposes that he is hired as the station's "private ear" to present a weekly broadcast entitled 'The Public Ear of Eddie Shoestring': members of the public are offered his services in order to investigate cases affecting them like disappearances or the unsolved deaths of loved ones.

8 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Kerrie - Thanks for this. Shoestring wasn't available where I live, so this is an old/new series for me; the books, too.

Maxine said...

I remember enjoying the Shoestring books, Kerrie! Long ago days. I think I may have watched some of the TV series but am not sure..Saw Trevor Eve on stage a few times in those old days, though.

Dorte H said...

I am old enough to think the 1980s was yesterday, but when I see that photo I can see it wasn´t :D

It sounds like a good ´series´.

Evan Lewis said...

Intriguing idea. A disc jockey private eye. Wonder if it's been done in the U.S.

Margaret @ BooksPlease said...

I remember Shoestring. I didn't know about the books, though.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I don't think the series came here either.

Todd Mason said...

Actually, SHOESTRING did play in the US at some point, or perhaps only in Canada where it was viewable by border residents, as we have records of the episodes in the old TV GUIDE database (so sketchy, however, as to misidentify the series as British).

A PI/DJ seems like the least useful combination of jobs possible, next to PI/tv presenter...

BV Lawson said...

I don't know, Todd -- I used to work in a radio station, and I felt like committing murder several times...

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