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This was a remarkably entertaining and relaxing read. Well read, and it did not overly tax my (admittedly high) tolerance of whimsy. Really, who can resist a murderous vicar?
The characterizations of the dog and cat are genius (as are the narrators of both) in this light story about a spur-of-the-moment murder by the local vicar in a 1950's English country town. And how the cat and dog come to stay, decide they have a good thing going, and take steps to see that their new human doesn't get caught.
Laughed a lot. Maurice the cat's accent is a bit thick, so I listened to it twice and laughed even harder the second time around.
Likes: Cozy mysteries (cats a plus), personal memoirs,not too dark fantasy, books about the brain. Dislikes: Torture, animal cruelty.
I only give 1 star for performance if something about the performance made it difficult for me to understand what was being said. Truthfully I almost gave up on this book, but I did manage to get used to it. The accents are very heavy, especially the character Maurice the Cat. Not only is his accent heavy but he has a very dramatic way of speaking (if anyone remembers how the Grinch talked in the old TV cartoon Christmas special that is what it reminded me of). The dog was easier to understand and the man was pretty good. Also the characters did use a lot of large words and a bunch of British slang. So not the easiest listen. Still I made it through and I was interested enough in what was happening to get through it pretty quickly. Having said that though, I am not sure I really "got" this book. It is not a mystery in the sense that a crime is committed at the beginning and there is no mystery about who has done it. The mystery is just whether or not they will get caught. When things are seen through the eyes of cat or dog character, you can expect a certain differing from the emotions you get with a human narrator, but here oddly our human FO displays the same lack of normal human emotion as his pets, if not more so. Since others have described this book as "hilarious" perhaps that is part of the humor? I'm not really sure. Maybe it is a British thing. I am not always tuned in to British humor. The plot (no spoilers here) revolves around FO murdering a woman who ruins his peace and quiet by being annoying and the efforts of his pets and himself to see he gets away with it to preserve all of their peace and quiet. I couldn't help but notice that FO is a sociopath. I guess this fact is just played for laughs but it made it hard for me to predict possible directions the book would take. Oddly I didn't dislike FO and I was interested enough in his story. But I think one book of it was enough.
I've lost count of the number of times we've listened to this audiobook. The vocals are spot on with honours shared evenly. The story is delightful - Maurice and Bouncer are the sort of pets we all wish we had and FO so singular that in the end we've all ended up rooting for him. Add to that the vaguely incompetent police, the worldly-wise piano tuner, the pompous bishop, the satisfyingly oily Nicholas and the very strong evoked sense of the fifties and you have an absolute classics. It's about the right length for a return car-trip to my daughter at university too!
A much loved favourite and we all look forward to hearing the sequel - soon please?
"I can't get into this"
I tried to listen to this several times, but I can't stand the way that Leslie Phillips reads his part. He's a lovely actor, but in this reading he drawls one minute and then races ahead in a most irritating and mannered way. So I've given up.
This made me laugh. The supercilious cat, Maurice and his partner in crime, Bouncer, keeping their master in check and out of trouble, had me giggling to myself. Clever and funny, I highly recommend this.
A note, however, on the narration.
I initially found Leslie Phillips' narration of Maurice rather irritating - he has odd pauses, some strange pronunciations, and alternates between fast and slow in a rather inconsistent manner. I nearly stopped listening to the book as his part is the first part read, but I eventually got into his narration and thoroughly enjoyed the book.
I have to be honest and say that if he had narrated the whole book, I think I would have returned it and bought a hard copy rather than struggle through his reading, but fortunately, the reverend and the dog are narrated beautifully and this keeps Mr Phillips' part bearable.
"Exactly that !"
A load of Old Bones is a novel with a delightfully new angle!
A lot of us out there really do believe that animals communicate, but whether they actually go so far as to cover up for a murderer ......well.....!
Loved it....the narrators were well suited to their roles. Leslie Philips as a self-opinionated , egotistical cat, yep, I believed it !
Not a book to keep you gripping the arms of your chair but amusing and easy listening which keeps a smile on your face, and that has to be good, No ?
"Waiting for Bones in the Belfry"
Have now listened A Load of Old bones for the third time and it won?t be the last! Just love Maurice and Bouncer who make me look at cats and dogs in a different light. Am longing to listen to the sequels Suzette A. Hill has written! When will they be available?
A most entertaining listen. Enjoyed the narrators changing with the three main characters. To sum up in one word, fun.
"A Load of Old Bones"
The wonderful story of a vicar, a cat, a dog and a (sort of accidental) murder. I loved the three narrators for each of the three parts. A comedy told in a diary form from the point of view of the vicar, the cat and the dog. I have also listened to book 3, which is also available on audible, and can highly recommend that one too. Fingers crossed that the other books in the series are recorded soon. They are just a joy to listen to.
"Witty characterisations, splendidly read"
Suzette Hill's first book with such clever and witty animal characterisations is made perfect by the brilliant portrayals by Leslie Phillips and Grant Russell. The perceptions of the two animals are an amusing foil for the vagaries of the Rev. Oughterard and parochial post-war village life. Beautifully-written, I had a smile on my face listening to every word of it!
Worth a listen
My husband and I listen to audio in the car (via our ipod), and loved this one!
It's absolutely delightful and full of twists and turns and delightful characterisations, and Leslie Phillips as a cat is superb!!!
We only pray that they do some more of these stories...!
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