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Adam Croft

Exit Stage Left

Exit Stage Left

Kempston Hardwick (Book #1)

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Series: Kempston Hardwick (Book #1)

Release date: 12 December 2011

Pages: 142

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Exit Stage Left: The Audio Dramatisation

Starring Robert Daws, Stephen Palfreman and Emily Atack

In February 2012, Adam Croft embarked on an ambitious and pioneering new challenge: to adapt his first Kempston Hardwick mystery, Exit Stage Left as a full-feature audio dramatisation.

Together with stage and television actor Robert Daws (Outside Edge, The Royal, Poldark) and film composer and audio engineer Keith Atack, a groundbreaking production came to life.

Complete with an all-star cast, Exit Stage Left featured Daws as Kempston Hardwick, Stephen Palfreman (Blood Brothers, Heartbeat) as Ellis Flint, Ted Robbins (Phoenix Nights, Little Britain, Benidorm) as Charlie Sparks and Emily Atack (The Inbetweeners, I'm A Celebrity: Get Me Out of Here, The Emily Atack Show) as Roxanne de la Rue.

Recorded almost entirely on location, this feature-length audio dramatisation remains the first and — so far — only appearance of Kempston Hardwick and the world of Tollinghill beyond the page.

Customer Reviews

Based on 59 reviews

I have read and enjoyed Adam Croft's Knight & Culverhouse books -


This was the first Adam Croft book I had read but it will not be the last,I tend to read UK based books I seem to be able to relate to them better than American based books. I like mystery books that are not entirley dominated by the police and the main man, Hardwick is like an up to date male Miss Marple and very methodical. A nice read I just could not put down I am now reading The second book in the series The Westerlea House Mystery.


So we meet Hardwick who just happens to be in the pub that the famous Charlie Sparks is at before he dies. He is there to witness his death and automatically jumps to the conclusion that this is a murder. In steps his sidekick from the pub Ellis, who then team up to investigate whats gone on and solve the mystery.Some bits were not belivable, like these two being able to leave the pub whilst everyone stayed at the crime scene and them passing as police officers without showing any identification. Besides this, the book is well written and leads us across several different people until the culprit is found. It is a very clever book, in terms of how the murder happened, but the justification for the murderer being the murderer I couldn't fully see.I also found it a little frustrating that nothin of Hardwick came across in the book, making him seem very much like a mystery in and of himself - I guess this is the authors way of getting you to keep reading which will be successful on me as I'm just plain nosy!! I also couldn't help seeing similarities between this and the recent Sherlock series on the TV, especially with his analysis of Ellis who we also know nothing about but who Hardwick can sum up in a paragraph.Despite this, I would recommend this book simply because it is a good read, has an unusual means of murder and has the potential to be a great series.


The pub cheers when the stand up comedian enters the main room of the local pub. Unfortunately, he stumbles to the floor. Time stands still for a few minutes when the crowd realises he is not moving.D C Kempston Hardwick takes control advising everyone to remain in the pub as everyone needs to give a witness statement. He grabs a man next to him to help with the investigation.This is where the story begins.Its easy to read and offers something different.


If that sounds big-headed, I apologise (yep, I am British).What I mean is that Mr Croft captures the essence of British village life so accurately I was sniffing the barmaid's apron within the first page or so (with my kindle on large print!). I swear I used to work with Hardwick at some point during my 23years @ Marconi - and there were always at leas a couple of Ellis Flints in every department. In essence, these characters (and their relentless pedantry and use of ten big words where 5 small ones would suffice) is so ingrained in British culture (along with Benny Hill, Diana Dors et al) that every word resonated (at a high frequency, with a rather large amplitude). Wow, three sets of brackets (that braces for all our US readers) in one sentence. Pretty spectacular stuff.So yeah, if you want a "light read" and aren't prepared to put a bit of effort into pond translations, this probably isn't the right book for you.If you want to recapture the sights, smells and sounds of that happy time you spent in Blighty, slip into a patched cardi, light up your pipe and enjoy.