Two of Lovecraft's best known classic stories are given a horrific, terrifying life in this reading. While I feel the exquisite disquiet that Lovecraft's best works cause are best felt from reading the stories oneself, Wayne June does an amazing job with these stories. I look forward to getting the rest of the collection!
I have read and listened to the Dresden series and have enjoyed it, looking forward to each new book, so I was excited when a new book became available.
By the mid-point of the book, I found myself checking the time on the audiobook to see how much longer it was going to be. The first half of the book, in particular, is tedious and formulaic. Harry is filled with angst, Harry is getting his but kicked by practically everything he meets, etc, etc, fifteen books, same stuff. It gets old, especially the angsty whining. They last third of the book moves well and is interesting, but not enough to salvage the book.
There is quite a bit of character expansion for the Dresdenverse as a whole, but the book seems more interested in the meta story and forgot that there was supposed to be a story to tell in this book.
This book contains five longish short stories, the first of which is pretty good, the remainder vary from mediocre to tediously poor. To his credit, the author has spent a good amount of time studying the Victorian era, but at several times he goes into long boring displays of this study, like an 8 year old explaining his Pokeman deck to an uninterested adult.
The author does a double dose of Holmsian name-dropping, enough to make it a drinking game if you wish. On the other hand, Thomas seems to have a poor grasp of Doyle's classic characters:
Holmes is more waspish and insulting than I would prefer, but falls within a reasonable continuum of interpretation. Audible has an excellent three volume Holmes set in which Charles Griffin does a much more acerbic interpretation of Holmes, using Doyle's own words.
Watson gets significantly poorer treatment. While Doyle's Watson often shows frustration with his gifted friend, Thomas's Watson whines continuously, ignores instructions, and seems more angry with Holmes than loyal to him.
The poorest treatment, however, is reserved for Mycroft Holmes. Thomas should have created a third Holmes brother if he was going to create a completely new character. Doyle gives Holmes an older brother who is Sherlock's intellectual equal, but too lethargic to do his own legwork; a man who at times "is the British Government" and is deeply involved in the intelligence community. Thomas gives us a whiny, petty functionary, who is worries about Sherlock embarrassing the family and has the brains of a newt.
In the end, to paraphrase Monty Python, this is not a book for reading, this is a book for standing back and avoiding.
I am a big Agatha Christie fan, and have most of the audiobooks available here on Audible. While Hugh Fraser has been my favorite narrator for a long time, John Moffat blows this book out of the water. He delivers distinct characters, but may be at his best when reading non-dialog portions of the text.
This is one of Christie's later stories, and is one of her best. Character development is very strong and the storytelling and the plotting show a mature professionalism. This avoids most of Christie's more overused trope's delivering a unique experience. A must read/listen for any devoted Christie fan!
As a longtime Holmes fan and also a little bit of a Ripperologist, this book was too tempting to pass up. Lyndsay Faye gets the voice of Watson near pitch perfect. It was not long before I was simply immersed in the story, without consciously thinking about the fact that it was a pastiche. The author also does not fall into the trap of spending too much time on Holme's "parlor trick" readings of minutia.
The most serious issue, for an author, in a Holmes vs Ripper story, is "if Holmes succeeded, why don't we know about it?" Faye handles this issue with a new, and intriguing style.
A note about the reader. Simon Vance is quickly becoming a favorite of mine, here on Audible. He can handle various ages, genders and accents with ease, creating characters that feel individual and who never grate on the nerves or bring the listener out of the book and back to the reader.
I love Miss Marple mysteries, overall I think they are better written than Christie's other works. I am also a fan of Joan Hickson's interpretation of Miss M, on television. I expected to fully enjoy this book. Unfortunately, Hickson's voice is very weak for an audiobook reading, and she does not do a very good job of portraying the characters.
The other problem with this book is that the stories are not particularly interesting. All are told in the past tense, while the "Club" is taking tea, and they tend to turn of fairly obscure points. Overall, they tend to be, and I hate to say it, boring.
I can listen to Miss Marple's novels over and over again, but I have had a hard time getting through this collection once.
The narration, while not by the comfortably familiar Hugh Fraser, is adequate, but the story wanders insipidly around. Dame Agatha tries to inject some spy thriller content (never her strong suit) into a mystery and then drops Hercule Poirot into it to try to make a story out of the resulting muddle.
While ACs stories are not always believable, they are rarely as cobbled together and irrational as this one. There is a reason why this was not recorded until many of the best, and even good, AC stories have already been done.
Let me begin by saying that I love Joan Hickson's television portrayal of Miss Marple. She was the perfect MM. Her readings, however, are much less impressive. Her voice is not strong, and her characterizations can be very weak. Having said that, she does a solid, if not great, job on this audiobook. Her renditions of the two younger boys in the story are especially well done.
The story is excellent, showing Christie at the top of her form. While there are only a few strong characters in the story, Christie makes the most of them. The mystery is involved, red herrings are flopping around, and the denouement is one of my favorites. "The Body in the Library" is a better Christie audiobook, but this one is certainly worth your time and money.
As a Holmes fan who has been through the canon, and enjoys pastiches, these four stories were a joy to listen to. To begin with, they have much of the same team that produced the wonderful Sherlock Holmes radio adaptations, including Clive Merrison as Sherlock Holmes, a role he excels in. Here Bert Coules brings us new stories, based on mentions within the canonical tales. Andrew Sachs ably replaces the late Michael Williams as Dr. Watson. While I prefer Williams, Sachs, along with Merrison and good writing, provides the chemistry between Holmes and Watson that is so crucial to the enjoyment of the listener.
The stories are all solid, if not spectacular, pastiches.
The Madness of Colonel Warburton is good. Involving Holmes in a case involving spiritualism is always fun, given Conan Doyle's interest in the same.
The The Star of the Adelphi is the weakest, but also includes a nod and a wink to the Holmes fan in the play and the author mentioned.
The Saviour of Cripplegate Square brings up a Victorian era practice not too terribly well known about. The connection to the canon comes late, but is all the more effective for it.
The Singular Inheritance of Miss Gloria Watson includes one serious flaw, but it would be a spoiler to mention it. Otherwise it is a good story, and another in which the canonical connection is slipped in late in the day.
In the end, these are not as good as the BBC's canonical productions from the 90's (available on Audible). But the stories are as good as the better Rathbone/Bruce radio shows of the 40's, and the performances are excellent.
Another side note about the cast. For this old punk rock fan, it was fun to find out that the Toyah Wilcox I enjoyed in the 80's plays Miss Gloria Watson of the 4th episode.
An excellent whodunit with a very surprising ending. Be warned, Miss Marple fans, while MM solves the mystery, she only appears late in the book and does little more than provide a solution. Her absence is not missed, as the story drives itself forward very well. Very well read, with good characterizations.
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