List of favorite books: Woodcutter - Reginald Hill, Consent to Kill, First Deadly Sin - Lawrence Sanders, Sniper Elite - Scott McEwen
First Joanne Harris book..... I didn't think I would like it an hour or so in - But I slowly started to warm up to it. By the end - I was thinking I should listen to it again.
I debated whether this book deserved five stars. It is not "great" literature. It is not a particularly "unexpected" plot. (I figured out the who-done-it earlier than I would have liked!) And yet, how could I not give it the maximum score? I read for entertainment and I could NOT stop listening. The writing was spectacular (turning the "not particularly unexpected plot" into an absolute delight, wrapping you up into the horror-you-know-is-coming without letting you avert your eyes) and the reader's spot-on delivery just added to the experience (incredible performance).
Told from two points of view, this is a story of diabolical revenge. You see it unfold from the eyes of a student who felt invisible fifteen years before at an English private school for boys (we all know how much evil lurks in those!), as well as from the eyes of an old professor whose entire life has been devoted to preserving that institution (even though he is well aware of its shortcomings). The story switches between the two, as well as between the present time and "the past" that brought it all on. As I said, not particularly original...but rendered so by the way it's told.
I was disappointed to see that the writer's previous books seem quite different (even though I did enjoy the movie, "Chocolat."). Might have to try some of them anyway. This one was such a great experience.
The classics teacher (Straightway?). A great reading by Pacey, made me mentally cast the role with the late great Charles Laughton.
The rooftop scene, as told by Julian.
At one point I thought to compare this with "The Talented Mr Ripley", since it explores some similar themes, but the author threw in a couple of truly jaw-dropping curveballs and plot twists that I really didn't see coming until they were revealed. Wonderful writing, witty and suspenseful. Terrific, fully realized characters. Absolutely could not turn it off. Highly recommended!!!!
I have recommended this book to many people, none of whom have actually read it. It is too bad, because after listening to hundreds of books on Audible, "Gentlemen and Players" stands out. This mystery is twisty, fun, complex and above all, entertaining. I tried "Runemarks' after I read this and it did not grab me, but I would like to read more by Joanne Harris.
Booooooooring. What is it with these long winded authors? This was a 12 hour audio book, and only the last 2 hours were worth listening to.