As most people who read detective stories and mysteries know, the Ellery Queen novels are splendid examples of their time and of the locked room/impossible crime genre. This book is no exception. But be forewarned: the narrator leaves everything to be desired. he is stiff, awkward, artificial. His attempts at characterization through accents are laughable. He makes listening a continuous challenge. To me, he reads the book as if he were reading it to a group of beginning English-language learners, who were following along with the printed text.
I had read this book years ago, when it was first published. But beyond a vague recollection of being disappointed, I remembered little about it. So I thought I would give it another chance. My mistake. A sprawling and flaccid "Fourth Reich" tale, lacking any sparks of originality or narrative discipline. It s also more than slightly distasteful that a couple of the more villainous neo-Nazis are portrayed as homosexual and repeatedly described as "perverts."
There are also issues with the Audible production. During the first hour or so, there a good half dozen times where the reader finishes a phrase and then repeats the phrase as he continues on. Clearly, recording edits that were not caught and cut by the Audible engineer. Also, the narrator simply sounds much, much younger than the stated age (35) of the character whose voice is telling the story. And, although he certainly tries, the narrator is simply not very good with accents, in a book that calls for several distinct national accents (Spanish, British, German). His British accents are laughably awkward, and both his Spanish and German attempts wind up sounding vaguely Romanian.
An interesting book, very well performed. But it is important to note that despite everything you will read about this book, it is NOT ultimately a science fiction, time travel novel. It is impossible to explain this in detail without spoiling the plot. Suffice that this is a well-written and well-constructed novel of romance, obsession, families and intrigue and is also a not-bad geopolitical thriller. It is NOT a time travel book.
Every single time the narrator, Eric Davies, speaks in a character's voice, he attempts a Danish accent. And every single one is horrible, and pulls you right out of the experience. His third person narration is fine, clear and crisp and energetic and NOT ACCENTED. But his attempts at Danish accents all have a bizarre hint of Southern America drawls. Very, very disappointing. Strongly recommend reading this one with your eyes, not your ears.
This series had gotten excellent reviews, so i stuck with this book, but it was very heavy slogging, and ultimately, quite disappointing. The plot is ordinary, nothing in the way of surprises. Many characters are so broadly painted as to approach caricatures. What is most annoying, however, is that this is one of those mysteries where a central character repeatedly behaves with unbelievable recklessness and stupidity; this is how the author drives the plot, by getting her priest character into outrageously silly situations, all of which would be resolved by simple phone calls. There is also an apparent massive ignoring of or ignorance of basic police procedure.
As far as the reading goes, the reader consistently overacts, not understanding that the best book narrators under-do rather than over-do. Every character, every line reading, gets pushed, so that listening becomes exhausting. The reader confuses the most acting with the best acting.
Well written, cleverly constructed, but no excitement, no real surprises. Not really a thriller or a mytery at all. Had to force myself to finish it...
This is a very disappointing book, plodding, slackly plotted, wooden characters. Simon Tolkien has not inherited his grandfather's abilities, but even considered on its own merits, his work is merely mediocre.
This is an excellent, satisfying mystery, and it is expertly read. The author, Jane Goodall (not the primatologist of the same name)is a fresh voice and very successfully evokes London in the mid 60s. One minor complaint: The lyrics to the song "Turn, Tirn, Turn," feature prominently throughout the book, and are repeatedly attributed to Bob Dylan. The song is, of course, not by Dylan but by Pete Seeger. This would have been an easy thing to check and correct. Sloppy.
Well written, well read. The plot is somewhat overshadowed by the volcano, however. The actual eruption is dealt with in a surprisingly muted way. Not as good as this author's Fatherland, but better than Enigma.
Overlong, improbable plotting, hamfisted writing.
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