Walker Devereaux

Created by James W. Nichol

One of the best and most successful series airing as part of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Mystery Project was Midnight Cab, which was aired in three runs of 13 episodes, 9 episodes, and 13 episodes respectively (making a total of 35 episodes for the series).  The first series ran in 1992-93, with the second series going into 1993-1994. I have no tapes from the third series, so I have no idea about the dates for that one at all. It also evidently made an appearance on Australian radio circa 1996.

The show starred David Ferry as WALKER DEVEREAUX, a young man, rather gullible and naive, from Bear River (north of Lake Superior) who comes to Toronto in order to become an author (and to look for his biological parents), but winds up driving a cab on the midnight shift. 

From the start, he keeps running into problems (such as that body that someone left in the trunk of his cab), and he solves the mysteries with the help of his girlfriend, wheelchair-bound Krista Papadopoulos (who dispatches cabs), Alfonso Piatelli (his boss), and Metro Police Inspector Wilfred Kiss (a friendly homicide cop).  Each episode is fairly self-contained, but the series builds on its past episodes as well, so we see Walker's developing relationship with Krista, his coming to terms with the big city, etc.

And in 2002, Nichol released Midnight Cab, the first in what he had hoped would be a series of novels. It didn't happen, but the novel is well worth hunting for, was shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger Award and even won the Arthur Ellis Award for best first crime novel

It serves as a sort of prequel to the series, Walker arrives in Toronto, intent on tracking down the parents who abandoned him. At the cab company where he works, Walker befriends the night dispatcher, Krista, a pretty, brave young woman. Wheelchair bound but resourceful, she helps him crack the code of his parents' identity. But the quest to discover his mother's whereabouts swiftly becomes perilous as Walker finds himself within the deadly grasp of Bobby, a young sociopath who has matured from early cruelty to murderous pleasure.

Imagine the pulp's Steve Midnight updated, and soft-boiled for the nineties.

James W. Nichol had been a prominent playwright in Canada since 1970, and one of the founders of The Mystery Project. His dramatic adaptation of Margaret Laurence's novel Stone Angel was produced all across Canada, and Peggy Delaney, another radio series he created for The Mystery Project.

UNDER OATH

  • "Take one nineteen-year-old determined to discover the identity of his parents, team him up with a rebellious young woman tied as much to her family as to her wheelchair, and threaten him with the sick violence of an unknown psychopath. The result: a mesmerizing story of two unforgettable people whose pairing is as gratifying as it is unlikely."

-- Timothy Findley on the novel

RADIO

  • MIDNIGHT CAB
    (1992-96, CBC)
    35 30-minute episodes
    Written by W. Nichols
    Starring David Ferry as WALKER DEVEREAUX

  • 1st Season
  • "The Mystery of the Blue-Eyed Man" (November 14, 1992)
  • "The Mystery of 22 Crier Drive" (November 21, 1992)
  • "The Mystery of the Horse-Faced Man" (November 28, 1992)
  • "The Mystery of the Motherless Child" (December 5, 1992)
  • "The Mystery of the Falling Man" (December 12, 1992)
  • "The Mystery of the Face in the Window" (December 19, 1992)
  • "The Mystery of the Child Holding a Dove" (December 26, 1992)
  • "The Mystery of the Outdoorsman" (January 2, 1993)
  • "The Mystery of the Screaming Woman" (January 9, 1993)
  • "The Mystery of the Drowning Man" (January 16, 1993)
  • "The Mystery of the Friendless Man" (January 23, 1993)
  • "The Mystery of the Vanishing Cab" (January 30, 1993)
  • "The Mystery of the Great Escape" (February 6, 1993)

  • 2nd Season
  • "The Mystery of the Silver Rings" (December 8, 1993)
  • "The Mystery of the Great Man" (December 15, 1993)
  • "The Mystery of the Locked Room" (January 5, 1994)
  • "The Mystery of the Screaming Kettle" (January 12, 1994)
  • "The Mystery of the Lost Child" (January 19, 1994)
  • "The Mystery of the Family Portrait" (January 26, 1994)
  • "The Mystery of the Red-Headed Man" (February 2, 1994)
  • "The Mystery of the Perfect Daughter" (February 12, 1994)
  • "The Mystery of the Unsolicited Manuscript" (February 19, 1994)

  • 3rd Season
  • "The Mystery of the White-Eyed Cat" (January 6, 1996)
  • "The Mystery of the Unfit Mother" (January 13, 1996)
  • "The Mystery of the Secret Letters" (January 20, 1996)
  • "The Mystery of the Long Lost Brother" (January 27, 1996)
  • "The Mystery of the Back Door Key" (February 3, 1996)
  • "The Mystery of the Hidden Man" (February 10, 1996)
  • "The Mystery of the Olde Tyme Piano" (February 17, 1996)
  • "The Mystery of the Angry Son" (February 24, 1996)
  • "The Mystery of the Desperate Men" (March 2, 1996)
  • "The Mystery of the Woman in Black" (March 9, 1996)
  • "The Mystery of the Wounded Poem" (March 16, 1996)
  • "The Mystery of the Laughing Clock" (March 23, 1996)
  • "The Mystery of the Soft-Hearted Man" (March 30, 1996)

NOVELS

RELATED LINKS

Geoff Loker's log of all shows broadcast from Novermber 1992 to July 6, 2002.

Many of the shows from the CBC Mystery Project can be found here.

Respectfully submitted by Geoff Loker, with a little bit by Kevin Burton Smith.
Photograph of David Ferry, Midnight Cab, courtesy of CBC Still Photo Collection.


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