A nicely written mystery with all the classic elements: an English estate, an argument late at night, a dead body in the garden, a murder investigation. In the hands of a lesser writer, these elements could signify a contrived, cookie-cutter mystery. This is far from it. It follows some basic patterns expected in a mystery, but delivered in the first person narrative by a completely likeable, precocious eleven year old, it turns into a very engaging, suspenseful, funny and entertaining story.
I loved Jayne Entwhistle's reading, her voice and inflections perfectly capture what one might expect of an eleven year old telling her tale and really brings this story to life. This was so thoroughly enjoyable that I will probably let it sit in my ipod for awhile longer so I may listen to it again later.
Enjoyed the premise of this story - the details of modern London/melting pot life and the casual blend of the supernatural and police procedural. I did have some trouble toward the end when our hero just seemed to 'know' what to do with no explanations on how he arrived at the ideas, but I didn't mind enough to stop listening. I also enjoyed the narration. Mr. Holdbrook-Smith did a fantastic job with the various accents and for the first person narrative, the voice of Peter Grant was excellent. My only problem was the way Mr. Holdbrook-Smith gasped audibly for air between sentences as if he had emphysema. It got a little bit distracting after awhile. I do feel as if I need a break from his breathless narration before I venture forth and attempt Book 2...
It seems to me this book is supposed to about the relationship of three close friends but as I listened to this book, it seemed more like these women barely knew each other and never really talked to each other. So much so that it's hard to buy the whole relationship and why they are all even vacationing together. *** Spoiler Alert*** When it becomes apparent that one of the friends was having an affair with one of their husband and was planning on running away with him - it raises the question, what kind of friend was this who would steal her 'best friend's husband?' and yet, the characters in the story don't really react to this fact... nothing in the interactions, reactions, responses and behavior of these 'friends' are believable. And don't even get me started on the other story line of Paolo and his mother and the 'wow what a coincidence' incident later in the book...
Then I have to ask why the narrator had to use a cheesy Italian accent when speaking the parts of the Italians when they are presumably speaking to each other in Italian. It would have just as credible if she simply spoken their parts like normal and only resorted to the 'that's a spicy meat-a-ball' accent when they were struggling to use English to the English tourists.
Wow, what a waste of a credit...
With many books, I find I enjoy them more in audio form due to the narration which really brings them to life, i.e. John Lee reading something as epic and expansive as Pillars of the Earth or Simon Vance reading the rather sparse narrative of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. In this case, after listening to this book for a little over an hour (painful hour at that) in the car, my husband, who had urged me to download this, said to me "Why don't you stop listening and go ahead and just read the book. I don't want this narrator to turn you off what is essentially a great book."
The main character Ignatious is an overweight, 30 yr old, socially-challenged, pseudo-intellectual, self-important geek and all around idiot. The narrator, however, turns Ignatious into what sounds like a 60 something year old Kentucky Colonel pontificating on his veranda over a mint julep... When not 'doing' caricature voices, his narration is so affected... pronouncing every last syllable and consonant that it sounds absolutely forced and phoney... no one talks like this, why should a story be told like this? This narration has to be one of the worst interpretations of what the writer wanted in the telling of his story. I think Toole is turning over in his grave... Ugh. The worst thing is that I didn't use my credits... rather, I paid extra for this download. And trust me, I'm going to make my husband reimbuse me!
Absolutely hysterical. Don't think I would have enjoyed it nearly as much if I had simply read it...Euan Morton's brilliant narration was integral to the enjoyment of this book. Raunchy, witty and laugh-out loud funny - reading Shakespeare in college was never THIS entertaining.
Nicely read and very enjoyable. The narrator uses very clear yet subtle 'voices' when speaking for each character which allows you follow who is saying what without it being distracting. It helped that I had a little knowledge of French. Realistic to the setting, many characters' comments are literally in French. Nothing critical to the plot, but in my estimation, would leave a lot of annoying gaps if I couldn't understand what was being said.
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