I read this when it first came out -- 40 years ago? It's incredible still. Francis creates the very best villains, and any novel that can claim arguably the best opening line in mystery can hardly fail. Tony Britton is stellar in the role of Finn, if a bit too mature for the twenty-something hero. The breathing referred to in the negative review is required by the script -- our hero engages in exhausting and stressful efforts to escape a gruesome capture, and another character has asthma. The only drawback is with the uneven recording. The engineers failed to preserve the tone and timbre of prior entries, so the volume is uneven, and one portion sounds as though Britton is reading in a bathroom. Still, well worth the money to get lost in a to a classic, memorable suspense novel.
I find all the Dick Francis novels wonderful to listen to while in my car. Although I've read them all, some twice, Tony Britton's narration improves on the books -- the various accents he manages are a revelation (we don't read in accents, actually). I sympathize with the listener who didn't enjoy hearing Britton cover Joe's drunken whining, but it was as grating as the character was intended to be. The single great flaw is in the recording quality. It is remarkably uneven, both in volume and tone, such that different takes or sessions become extremely obvious. If this were a film, we'd be looking for the continuity director. In this case the engineer should be taken out and hung.
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