Shows and movies and suchlike may be off this summer, but here at SteynOnline, even under the New Normal, the lights stay on. We're very proud that this website now offers more free content than at any time in our seventeen-year history. But we also provide some premium extras especially for our Mark Steyn Club members, such as these nightly adaptations of classic fiction - or, in this case, not so classic but brand new. Nevertheless, here we go with the Monday installment of our current Tale for Our Time, my sequel to and contemporary inversion of Anthony Hope's Ruritanian classic of 1894, The Prisoner of Zenda.
Fran Lavery, a First Weekend Founding Member of The Mark Steyn Club, whom I had the pleasure of meeting when I was on tour last year (back when live stage performances were not banned on health grounds), is enjoying it so far:
This is so fantastically delicious an audio reading even down to the cold Bombay noodles in the 10 Downing Street fridge. Practically every sentence seems to explode with a piquant humor unlike anything I've ever heard before. Exquisite story telling! Mwah!
That's awfully kind of you, Fran. Hardcore Zenda fans will have noticed that we've tried to retain some of Anthony Hope's chapter headings, albeit somewhat modified. For example, Sir Anthony has one called "A New Use for a Tea-Table":
"Come home to bed, old chap. I've got the finest tea-table story that ever you heard!"
He started and cried: "You're safe!" and wrung my hand. But a moment later he added:
"And what the devil are you laughing at?"
"Four gentlemen round a tea-table," said I, laughing still, for it had been uncommonly ludicrous to see the formidable three altogether routed and scattered with no more deadly weapon than an ordinary tea-table.
So, as you can see above, tonight's episode is titled "A New Use for a Dinner Table" - in which Rudy Elphberg, subbing for the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, falls afoul of London's most powerful oligarch.
If you enjoy me in audio, you might like to know that for the duration of the Coronapocalypse we're complementing Tales for Our Time at the other end of the day with an audio edition of The Mark Steyn Show. The latest edition airs tomorrow.
Membership in The Mark Steyn Club is not for everyone, but, if you've a pal who enjoys classic fiction, we'd love to welcome him or her to our ranks via the birthday present that lasts all year: A gift membership in the Steyn Club, which comes with access to our entire archive of Tales for Our Time, including The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, The Time Machine, The Thirty-Nine Steps and many more. For more details on our special Gift Membership, see here. Please join me tomorrow evening for Part Eighteen of The Prisoner of Windsor.