Writer David Ashton mixes wonderful characters and great stories with humor, poetry and charm.
I discovered the Inspector McLevy series while searching for more BBC4 radio dramas. Enjoyed the John LeCarre and Raymond Chandler dramatizations. Also the BBC Radio Sherlock Holmes. I listened to Levy Series #1 and immediately bought Series #2. Within weeks I had downloaded and listened to Series 1 through 7 -- 28 episodes.
Brian Cox as Inspector James McLevy and Siobhan Redmond as Jean Brash beguiled me. I could listen to Brian Cox deliver Ashton's brief philosophical monologues all day.
But beware -- these stories are set in Scotland. The accents of the pickpockets and petty thieves can be a challenge. If you need to easily grasp every single word on the first listen this may not be your cup of tea (or, as Inspector Levy would say, your cup of coffee). However, if you enjoy Masterpiece Theatre period drama on the tube give McLevy a listen. Ashton’s Victorian world of Edinburgh may enchant you, too.
This is an ongoing radio series in Britain. I can't wait until more are available on Audible.
If someone told me I would become hooked on these Musketeer fellas in my sixties I would have called them crazy indeed. I hesitated buying Twenty Years After because of a negative review. However, another reviewer assured me all would be well. It was.
If you intend to listen/read this entire series I urge you to not skip Twenty Years After (or any of the books). It’s like coming into the 3rd season of Mad Men or Game of Thrones; you will wonder who everyone is and what is going on. Dumas wrote this saga in serial form. Much later it was divided into multiple books and given titles.
As of today the second book available on Audible, Twenty Years After, is narrated by Frederick Davidson. After listening to John Lee’s brilliant narration of The Three Musketeers, I admit that Davidson’s d’Artagnan was hard to accept at first. But I reminded myself that this is “20 years after.” D’Artagnan is no longer the wide-eyed innocent from Gascony. He’s a man disappointed with his lack of funds. He’s tired of waiting to receive his due from the powers that be. This is a long book – four parts, nearly 28 hours – and within the first hour I was hooked. With the 3rd book in the series, Vicomte de Bragelonne: Ten Years After, I listened to Simon Vance. And, much as I love his narrations, I also had an adjustment period to his d’Artagnan.
I have listened to the entire series now, ending with the Man in the Iron Mask. It was a long, wonderful journey.
(One suggestion: For translated works I often download a copy (usually free for classics) on my Kindle, or I borrow a copy from my city library. I find it helpful to see foreign names and places in print. And I like to refer to a Table of Contents for the list of chapters.)
Excellent reviews and an Audible sale prompted me to buy The Count of Monte Cristo. I’d read one chapter in a French II class decades ago. I mistakenly thought the novel was about a guy languishing in prison. I knew I wasn’t going to like it. But I mostly listen to classics and Audible reviewers had raved. So, after months of sitting in my Audible library, I finally downloaded the first part. Wow.
At 47 hours with foreign names and places, it’s a commitment, but when it ended I wished for more. I’ve “read” dozens of Audible books and this one of my top five favorites. John Lee’s narration: impeccable.
I listened while I cleaned, while I cooked, while I drove, while I was supposed to be sleeping…
This complex story with its fascinating cast of characters knocked me out.
Alex Jennings’ performance of Nicholas Nickleby completely captivated my imagination. I listened to one of the final chapters as I drove home from Walgreens after buying toothpaste… I nearly had to pull over to the curb from weeping.
I can’t imagine a better narrator of the book. There are tons of characters and Jennings’ portrayal makes each distinct… comical, dastardly, virtuous, pitiful, maddening… an entire world created for your listening pleasure. (I haven’t heard it, but I suspect Simon Vance’s performance of Nickleby is also excellent - his narration of “Dance to the Music of Time” was beyond wonderful.)
Mostly a “reader” of classics on Audible, I also enjoyed Anne Bronte’s Tenant of Wildfell Hall narrated by Alex Jennings and Jenny Agutter. Alas, I see that Jennings’ narration of Crime and Punishment is an abridged version… if it was unabridged, I’d buy it today.
I purchased this book before reading the reviews, but now that I happened to read them, I downloaded Part 3, listened to the final chapter - "The Conclusion." The book is next to me on my desk and the end of the book is the same as my download, Chapter LXXVI, "The Conclusion." This is the 6th or 7th Timothy West narration of Trollope that I have bought. His performances are amazing. I hope "Phineas Redux" becomes available by the time I finish listening to "Phineas Finn." I'm glad I didn't read the reviews or I might have missed this one.
I've now listened to every Timothy West narration of Trollope available on Audible. When I finished the Barchester series, I felt depressed. It was a happy day when I saw that "Can you Forgive," the first in the Palliser series,was released. Can't wait for the next one.
Whether it's the author or the amazing narrator, Timothy West, I have fallen in love with the novels of Anthony Trollope. "Framley" is the fourth I've listened to. I began with "The Warden" and agree with other reviewers who suggest it's a good place to start.
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