Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy.
Wilkie Collins' writing and the late, beloved Patrick Tull's narration are an unbeatable combination, not to be missed! I read The Moonstone years ago, but had forgotten what a wonderful window into the origins of the genre of mysteries it is. Arguably the first, or among the first, of mysteries to incorporate many elements we now take for granted in mysteries (the country house, the use of a detective, suspicion falling in various places, etc) it is still a great read a century and a half after it was written.
Briefly, Rachel Verinder is given a huge and priceless diamond for her 18th birthday. She is unaware that the diamond, referred to as "the moonstone" was obtained in India under reprehensible circumstances by her uncle during the wars. Throughout the story there are three Indian men who lurk about, hoping to get it back, but the inhabitants of the house don't exactly understand that that is who they are. The story is played out in marvelous fashion, as the diamond is quickly stolen, and suspicion falls everywhere among the various characters as they try to discover who took it. They even call in Sgt. Cuff, of Scotland Yard, who attempts to solve the mystery.
There are a couple of narrators, the precious butler Betteridge, with his priceless self-serving asides, and Drusilla Clack, a religious relative. But without question, an already excellent book is thoroughly brought to life by the incomparable narration of the extraordinarily talented Patrick Tull. He had the ability to breathe more life and personality into each separate character then many other narrators are ever able to do. This book would be worth the listen just to get to hear him perform. I very highly recommend this book for every reason. It was just such a wonderful listening experience!
Was it life changing or so thought provoking that I have thought about it for days? No. But it was a fun read that was clean and well done. I especially appreciated that it was written in the 1800's. It just goes to show a good book endures. I enjoyed the mystery, I laughed at the "reenactment" of the crime and I especially enjoyed the narrators. If you like mysteries, give this one a try.
Perhaps the brilliant, plane looking, laudnam dropping Doctor was inspired in Patrick O'Brian's mind by Wilkie Collins Dr. Jennings. Since Patrick Tull has done such a wonderful job reading the Aubry-Maturin books and this one he should be the expert. I took time out from my third trip around the world with Captain Aubry to listen to another of Tull's performances and was not disappointed.
I am a great fan of Dickens, Trollope and other authors of the lengthy Victorian novel. I looked forward to listening through the many hours of this classic early 'detective' novel. Unfortunately, it took much determination to slog through to the end. While there are many positive aspects of the book: the period detail, the amusing satires, especially that effected through the perceptions of Miss Clack. The running 'Robinson Crusoe' joke continued to amuse almost to the end. Sergeant Cuff is someone I'd love to meet again. But my goodness, the almost endless series of individual narratives with their inevitable repetitions was, to me, a torture. Even if one heard this story read out over a series of (many, many!) evenings in the family circle gathered around the fire, I think it would tax the patience of most listeners. In the case of this recording, the doling out of the various narratives to several different readers was a good idea. It did relieve some of the tedium of listening. Unfortunately, these narrators never seemed to have met, because the individual voices do not match from narrative to narrative (For example, Sergeant Cuff's voice is markedly different when interpreted by the various readers.)
Overall, I would only recommend this recording to a listener who had some academic research motive in knowing the story.
Reading is one of life's greatest pleasures...and, now that I've found audiobooks, I can read even while performing mundane tasks!
I decided to read this after having listened to and enjoyed Collins' "The Woman in White." At first I almost stopped listening, mostly because I wasn't a big fan of the second narrator. He reads the part of Gabriel Betteredge, which is a rather long section of the book, and his voice got on my nerves. I also had this nagging feeling, even though I had never read the book before, that he wasn't presenting Betteredge's character in the right tone. But I persevered and I'm very glad I did. There are various narrators for the many character accounts in this book and most of them do a fine job. (I was annoyed by the narrator of Sergeant Cuff's section as well, but it was a short section.) The story is engaging, and I enjoyed never quite knowing what was going on until the end (the same was true with Collins' "The Woman in White").
Being new to audio books, this was one of the first books I purchased. I thought the performances were excellent and spot on! All the characters were read very well and I particularly liked the way Mr. Collins and the performers were able to capture the essence of their character within their station in life. Mr. Blake, the hero, being very formal and a little highbrow and the butler, Mr. Betteridge, being more down to earth and "real" in his search for meanings within his Robinson Caruso. The female character, Miss Clack, grated on the nerves as a person, but the woman who read her did an amazing job of bringing across her overly-religious zealotry and passion for the good book. It felt good that the main characters felt the same about her that I did and you had to admire her persistance to spread the good word. All in all, a very well written and well performed book with quick turns of phrase and excellent visuals. It didn't matter to me who took the moonstone, I just enjoyed listening to it.
professor. like great and VERY good books, fiction and history, mainly
What fun! And the readers make this delightful book a real treat. Suspenseful, funny, utterly charming.
A classic that I had never heard of. As long as you can tolerate Victorian sensibilities, you'll very likely enjoy it. The butler and his copy of "Robinson Crusoe" are memorable.
If you are not used to listening to a book of this genre or time, this can seem very long and drawn out. However, the story is very interesting and hooks you in quickly. The narrators do a great job and the characters feel complete and real. Overall - a great example of its type and I do recommend it.
I am a fan of English mysteries but this one bored me. If I had been reading it I would have stopped after the first section. The readers on this book are the only reason I finished all three parts. They were excellent.