Haven't read or listened to any of le Carre's novels, but did hear a dramatization of a Murder of Quality, which I thought was quite good. In this one, I found the male voices to be awfully similar and I wasn't always sure who was speaking. Plotwise, I enjoyed the first half, but thought it degenerated into silliness with a ridiculously melodramatic ending. So I can't recommend this dramatization.
Listened to this at 2X speed and even then the plot dragged and dragged in places. The only interesting part was the African settings. The narrator was competent, but the lead's woman voice was lower and sexier than the voice he did for the male lead, which was quite confusing during the dialogue sections.
I've enjoyed many other Gardner books even with the contrived plotting, but this one was just ridiculous. **SPOILER ALERT** One victim targeted by two serial killers whose paths have crossed earlier in their lives??? I usually let authors get away with huge coincidences, but this was too much to swallow.
I have listened to other Colonial Radio Theater performances, including the Perry Mason series, which I enjoyed. But I had hard time following the plots here because the horrible, horrible British accents were too distracting. My advice: sample the audio before you purchase.
A mildly entertaining play. Performances were good. But the "scandal" driving the tension is so commonplace these days that it all seemed a lot of bother about nothing. Can see how it would have been much more impactful when it was first released. If, like me, you're a glutton for radio drama,the cheap price makes it worth it. But there are much better radio dramas out there.
Interesting characters but the plot moved so slowly it got tiresome. To guess "whodunnit" in mystery novels, I always ask myself "who is the least likely culprit"... and I could tell very early in the novel that the author had chosen that old cliche to structure her plot. There are other pretensions in the novel that I found irritating as well, including the author's inexplicable need to break out of the first-person "real time" narrative at the end of many chapters to give omninous warnings ("Little did I realize...."). Also agree with other commentators that the lead character, as a married woman, would never have been addressed as "Lady Julia," which is the primary form of address used for her. I applaud the author's attempt to develop a realistic look at living conditions in Victorian England, but not the execution. Pick up a hard copy and skim through it on a cold rainy day, but avoid this audiobook. The narrator is awful. Her English accent for the main character is tolerable, but her other accents--Cockney, Scottish, French, gypsy--are horrible... what you might hear at a bad high school play. Haven't verified this, but I suspect she is American in part because I've never heard a British actress who was so bad at accents, and in part because she gives words like "clerk" and "privacy" their American pronunciations.
I'm surprised that an experienced writer like Barr couldn't do a better job of establishing a mystery in this book. I enjoyed the adventure aspects, but there's only one character who is described in a way that makes them an obvious suspect behind the murder--and it turns out they did it. So that means main character Anna P. spends a lot of time fretting over other possible suspects that we as readers/listeners know are good guys at heart. Having rescued a baby, she also spends an inordinate amount of time thinking "if I didn't have the baby, here's what I do..." and then makes other choices in the end. We get the point of this early on, and it's really overdone. If you want a book where you have to work to figure out whodunnit, choose something else. If you want to go along with Anna on another adventure, you'll probably enjoy this.
If you listen carefully to how the FBI profiler describes the serial killer--which is repeated several times in the book-- there's only one character who fits the description. I kept thinking there would be some twist at the end, but there wasn't. Agree with other comments that the book overdoes the "too bad we don't have DNA testing yet" kind of theme. And every single character has some sort of tragedy in their background. However, the narrator was terrific (never heard her before), so it was a fun listen. But not great plotting.
I've read and listened to a number of Deaver novels and like the Lincoln Rhyme/Amelia Sachs characters a lot. I didn't care for much of the plot devices here (e.g., we know all of Amelia's thoughts in detail until she comes face to face with the murderer and recognizes him immediately but suddenly we're not privy to that recognition).... Plus part of the audio is very tedious because the plot relies on reference to spreadsheets and the narrator has to go through all the columns and types of data ad nauseum. I'm also a little burnt out on having otherwise smart characters fall prey to the perpetrator through their own stupidity. That said, a mediocre Deaver is better than a lot of other books out there, but I'd suggest going hardcopy rather than audio for this one.
The narrator nearly ruined this for me. She was very stilted in her delivery, especially of the main heroine's voice, which made her sound unappealing. But the elements of a good "cozy mystery" were there, especially it you like crafts. If later books in this series have a different narrator, I'd definitely consider them. Otherwise, it's off to the library. Be sure to check out the sample recording and see if you can tolerate the narration.
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