I have just begun Pardonable Lies. I am very disappointed in the narration. I was going to let it pass, but after listening to the very illuminating interview with Jacqueline Winspear which follows Messenger of Truth I feel impelled to say something. These books are quite good. The detection of crime is but one element; the books are very strong anti-war statements. Ms. Winspear’s research is far reaching and her depiction of the physical, moral and psychological devastation in England during and after WW1, and the consequent enforced poverty, is powerful and heartbreaking. Ms. Winspear says in the interview that she actually hears the voices of her characters in her head. This narrator (Orlaugh Cassidy) shows us little in this regard. Frequently a sentimental approach is taken (which blunts an affect) and with a one dimensional painting of the characters. There is seemingly little understanding of who or what it is she is reading. I will make my point with one example: there is a young girl who is introduced in the first chapter of Pardonable Lies and we are given certain information to allow us to know she has undergone a traumatic event. When she finally speaks she has a rather generic cockney sound - it could, in fact, be Billy speaking. This could, perhaps, be passable, but there is no sense that this child has undergone anything, let alone involvement in murder or that she is covered in blood and grime. Rather than being drawn into this child, I was taken altogether out of the story. These are good books and call out for a narrator with an imagination, one who will move the story along in an organic way.
A brilliant and heartbreaking production of this masterful play peformed by some of Britains greatest actors.
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