Of course, I read the book years ago and loved it. As it was SO long ago, I thought I would enjoy listening to it now. If anything, I enjoyed it more. Anne Massey is absolutely perfect; her narration makes a fantastic book even better. She knows when to drop her voice slightly, making you feel as though you're in the room, watching what she is describing. I found myself literally holding my breath a few minutes, tense and expectent, agog for what would happen next - that's talented, considering I had read the story before. A truly splendid narrator!
The story has been discussed much and it is still one of the best mysteries - so full of atmosphere, tension and beauty. At this age, I found myself occasionally losing patience with the protaganist, wanting her to darn well ASSERT herself, but it would have undone the entire story if she had been bold.
All in all, a fantastic listen - very highly recommended.
The most convoluted runaround I have waded through in a long time. Yes, I love the classic British mystery but by the end, I was ready to give Mr. Innes a good sound smack. As I said though, the series gets better. I heartily recommend skipping this one.
I don't mind a light mystery but my word, this was just intolerable. There is absolutely nothing even remotely natural about the characters or dialogue. The performance borders on histrionic and the accents near-mockery. I was looking for some light fare but this is unadulterated cotton candy and made me nauseous. I couldn't wait for it to be over.I have enjoyed other entries in this series which were silly but not sick-making.
There I was, making my way slowly through this series, enjoyable the affable, comical and thoughtful Albert Campion when suddenly this story rears its ugly head. While the plot is adequate, the author has gone out of her way to write some seriously weird dialogue that makes every character (except for the young boy) obnoxious in the extreme.
The female characters seem to be written solely for the author to set up in humiliating situations and the male characters are SO misogynist that it would almost be laughable if it wasn't so insulting to men and women. Yes, I know the book was published in 1938 but surely even then it would be considered shocking and revolting for a brother to suggest to his sister that she needs "a good rape"!
One of the men dumps his girlfriend to have a blatant affair with her friend and then, without a word of explanation or apology, returns to her to propose marriage, or perhaps indentured servitude would be a better description. She is a highly successful designer and the romantic bastard tells her he'll marry her on the condition that she gives up her entire life to him, become his possession (his exact words) and that this arrangement will be strictly a one-way street. She simply cannot wait to agree to this wonderful bargain. These are just a couple of examples; there are plenty more.
Francis Matthews does an excellent job of narrating, and he has my sympathy. There is not nearly enough story to distract from the grotesque relationships. I don't know what Ms. Allingham was ingesting while composing this one but I am going to do my best to forget it and hope that the next in the series will return to some semblance of reality.Thoroughly NOT recommended.
(Note: I use my stars sparingly; five stars is reserved for great, world-changing, timeless literature)
Interesting how individual and subjective humour is...I find Block's writing in the Burglar series very funny, enhanced IMMENSELY by Richard Ferrone's narration. Ferrone does a star turn at capturing the sardonic, self-deprecating character of Bernie Rhodenbarr. Though Rhodenbarr might have a slightly askew moral compass, he is essentially good-hearted and is (in his own words) "just another poor bastard working late." The story is engaging, with some nice twists and turns, but what really makes me want to come back again and again is Block's turn of phrase, his avoidance of the same old descriptions and his wise-ass humour.
While there are visits to some slightly seedy locations, there is no violence or graphic sex for those who prefer to avoid these things. This does not render the story bland, by any means. Highly recommended.
As one of the other reviewers noted, if I had to do it over again, I would have read this book instead of listening to it - not that there is anything wrong with the narration, which is excellent. It is, however, a very involved plot with lots of descriptions and lots of characters. I found that I had to stop whatever I was doing at the same time and really pay attention to it or I would start losing the thread.
It took some dedication to get through a slightly slow start but I'm glad I stuck with it. Stephenson manages to weave together wildly disparate themes. The book swings back and forth between very detailed explanations (with which I occasionally became impatient) and rocketing action. I normally would never recommend this but I think I might have gotten a bit more out of the book if I had read the WIkipedia precis first, so I had some lay of the futureland that Stephenson has created.
The story itself is mildly entertaining. This is lightweight fiction, very down-home, everybody's cousin and relative in a small town. It starts off slow and gets a bit more interesting as the book progresses.
Of course, we all have different tastes in narrators. This narrator (C.J. Critt) doesn't work for me on many levels. She reads FAR too slow for me. The pauses after every sentence, after every phrase drove me a bit mad. The pause between chapters was long enough that I kept thinking there was something wrong with my iPod. She injects a lot of drama into every word, even when it is background description or a casual conversation, considerably more than is called for in my opinion. The singsong emphasis really got on my nerves after awhile. I'm not that keen on her interpretations of men's voices.
It may work for you - just make sure you listen to a sample first, which is a wonderful feature of Audible. Sadly, I listened to the sample but accidentally put the book in my cart with several others and ended up purchasing it before I realized what I had done!
I have been really enjoying this series so thought I would pick up the .5 prequel. I found it very disappointing.
The book started out well enough and then got bogged down into painfully detailed descriptions of what are supposed to be exciting chases and battles, detailed to the point of describing EVERY SINGLE SECOND. Every blow. Every "new bloom of pain." Every counter-blow. Every stagger. Every rising back up. Every counter move. Falling down again. Another pounce. Then another. Another blow. Another recovery. Plus every thought that occurs to him though the entire sequence.
Yes, it was just as boring as what I have described here. I suspect that it would have been exciting if filmed but this sounded like a director's blocking out of every bit of action. To be fair, it was not helped by Luke Daniels matter-of-fact delivery of the chase and/or fight scenes, but I believe the main fault was with the editor. They should have advised Hearne to cut it by at LEAST half.
The rest of the books are much better so I would advise just skipping over this one and going right to Book 1.
I love the Campion series and the plot is satisfyingly full of twists. Good story but, most especially, the narrator is truly wonderful! David Thorpe captures all the different characters well with a really impressive repertoire of different voices for each. His delivery adds a great deal of well-placed comedic touches to the story. I am definitely looking for more books narrated by Mr. Thorpe.
There are SO many wonderful English narrators out there - why choose to ruin an Audible book by using an American narrator who is unable to produce even a reasonable facsimile of an English accent? Bernadette Dunne might be a wonderful narrator in her own native accent but not for this series. She lapses at times into Southern USA inflection. It is distracting in the extreme and basically ruined the story for me.
Perhaps not being a parent made this story easier for me to bear, to not internalize the story so deeply. There is much sadness and fear and existential angst in this book. It's a story about every day people coping with every day stuff. There is a twist thrown in with the murderer but aside from that, the conflicts and questions are those that we all deal with - how many secrets are there between those who love each other, how much love is too much and how far do you let things drift before you lose touch altogether. It's about parents and children, teachers and students, husbands and wives, friends and siblings.
And yet, as difficult as all this sounds, I still am glad that I read the book. It made me think about a lot of those questions. I liked the people and related to them. I've only read a couple of Coben stories before which were lighter fare and I think he's a very talented author.
The main downside with this recording is the narrator who reminded me of no one so much as Charleton Heston at his most overwrought, perhaps as Moses handing down the tablets. I don't like to be unkind but wow, Scott Brick wrings every sentence out, stamping down hard on every phrase, up and down like riding a horse with a really jarring trot. It's so bad that it becomes almost comical and is completely unsuitable for this story. However, the story was so gripping that I stuck with it. Not sure that I can actually recommend this particular recording but the book is great.
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