Agatha Christie's stories still hold up well over time, in spite of items (even plot-dependent items) that are out-of-date these days. This is a good mystery, performed well by Hugh Fraser, and very enjoyable. Hercule Poirot is a character whom I find a little over-bearing, but fortunately he doesn't show up until about half-way through.
Even though this novel is over 30 years old, it's the first time I've sampled any of Martha Grimes' books and so far I think they're good - but there's not much in this one that will make me rush to listen to the rest of the series. I've found I like the character-rich British mysteries more than American ones, and I guess I should have realized that even though these mysteries are set in small-town Britain, they're still written by an American and that will seep through. Too many of the players here seemed almost to be caricatures of themselves, or of a type. Not really my cup of tea, I guess.
Crooked House was a terrific story, and I liked it far better than Endless Night, but both were good. Crooked House seemed to have more energy and engaging characters, but Endless Night had more mystery and sense of foreboding. Both were good, and this was well worth the time.
I've read and listened to a few of Barclay's books before, and they were better written and more enjoyable than this one. One of the things I like about his books is that his protagonists are ordinary people caught up in unfortunate circumstances, and that's true here too, but I thought that some of the characters were either particularly stupid or weak, and that bothered me. Also, this is, at the end, a story of revenge - and I don't particularly like revenge stories - they're colder than the more common and passionate motivators of action like money, lust, jealousy, or power.
The narrator was fine, but just OK - I don't think he really added much to the experience.
This is a different type of Christie story for me, as almost half of it takes place in the past - remembered by characters and explained in exposition - rather than actively happening. That made for a different feel to the story, but it's a good story nonetheless: A year ago, a young socialite married to an older man dies of cyanide poisoning at a restaurant, and it is declared a suicide. Almost a year later, her husband gets a note stating that it was actually a murder, and at the birthday dinner at the same restaurant for the dead woman's sister, he ends up dying of cyanide poisoning himself. Was it suicide from grief? Was the note correct or a red herring? Was his death also a murder?
All good questions and a plot for a good mystery, but the resulting solution is weak and unworthy of the setup, IMO.
Like the first in the series, this is good, lightweight fun with a lot of humour and a little crime on the Jersey Shore. There's more character development in it, which makes me look forward to future installments, but it's still a fun, easy "read" that kept me entertained. It's not great literature, but it is good fun, and the narration was terrific.
This is probably a very difficult novel to read, as it is various streams of consciousness of different (but often intertwining characters) taking place in the course of a single day. The novel jumps from one to another without so much as a chapter break, but the fabulous narration of Juliet Stevenson makes it so much easier to understand and follow. The language is so wonderful, it's almost poetic in it's feeling and pacing, and this was a joy to listen to.
I'm a big John Wyndham fan, but this is one I'd never read - and fortunately it's wonderfully read and rendered as an audiobook. Like several of his others, this book follows an invasion of Earth, centering on England, but unlike many alien-invasion stories, this one involves aliens in the deep that are never seen by any of the characters in the book. It adds an air of mystery to the already mysterious happenings, as does the music that separates segments of the story in this production.
The narrator does a great job, not only in personalizing the different characters, but also in keeping the tone from getting too maudlin.
There's a lot of strangeness in this story - strange characters, strange setting, strange history - and it all mixes up nicely into an unsettling and kind of creepy story. Not frightening, just kind of weird and disturbing. It's clear from the set up that the protagonist is suffering from an undisclosed psychological issue - her words and actions are too juvenile for her actual age - but you never really know if it's always been a factor in her life or if it's secondary to the changes she's gone through since the murder of most of her family by poisoning.......She now lives a mostly secluded life in the old family home with her older agoraphobic sister and her wheelchair-bound uncle who survived the poisoning but with a loss of both mental and physical capabilities. Most of the townspeople blame the older sister for the murders, in spite of her legal acquittal, and so the sisters have reacted to the town's shunning and malevolence by withdrawing further and further into their own lives in seclusion, but managing to be content in their own little world. When a distant cousin comes to try and bully them into allowing him to rule the family home and money, it upsets their isolated fantasy world and causes unexpected changes.
It's not my favourite Christie novel, but it's still an interesting story with great characters - I particularly like the malevolent mother who is the murder victim in this story. Not sure why it was called "Appointment with Death", though - time is a factor, but no appointments were made out in the deserts around Petra (in Jordan). Hugh Fraser does a great job again, and I love listening to his narration of so many of the Agatha Christie mysteries.
I hate to say this because I love Benedict Cumberbatch's speaking voice, but the narration on this audiobook is really bad - the pacing is too quick and, espcially with the fast pacing, it's difficult to tell one speaker from another. There are parts where the narration is much better and there is tone and emotion in the various character's voices, and other times when it sounds like the book is being read quickly with little inflection, as if under time constraints. I don't know if that's a post-production issue or if Cumberbatch read it that way.
I haven't decided if I'm going to continue or return it. I might choose an unabridged Ngaio Marsh title with a different narrator, as I can see some good mystery underneath it all.
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