In the first book in the Nigel Strangeways classic crime series, an obnoxious schoolboy is found dead at his school Sports Day. Can amateur detective Nigel Strangeways help find the killer?
©2012 Nicholas Blake (P)2012 Audible Ltd
Have re-discovered "quality time." Evenings listening to good books have replaced mindless tv watching. What a difference!
This was a book that I thought I'd enjoy (and I still think that). But I had a lot of difficulty listening to it. The premise is interesting--a murder at a private school, lovers who early on look vulnerable to being suspected...but that was as far as I got.
I usually finish most books, even if they are not as good as I had hoped. But this narrator was very exasperating. At times he would pause for breath several times within a sentence--leaving the listener with a choppy experience of the narrative, and usually he read too fast--leaving me feeling so frustrated--backing it up to have to listen to an extremely uncomfortable delivery all over again.
But I want to say that oddly, he had surprising interludes where he read beautifully--he was especially brilliant with voices of certain characters--capturing the nuances of speech of snobby intellectuals perfectly! I thought that his talent there would make it okay to listen to the rest, but alas, I finally just gave up. I do want to finish the book--I think it will be very good in the written form. So I'm going to find the book and just read it.
Tell us about yourself! Attorney/Rancher - eclectic taste in books in both fiction and non-fiction. Preference for British authors in mysteries, love well written dialogue and hate historical fiction.
Characters were silly, story was silly and I really thought the detective should have taken up another career.
"Classic English Golden Age murder"
Not really, because I wasn't altogether happy with all aspects of the narrator's performance. Nicholas Blake/Cecil Day-Lewis was a donnish crime-writer in the Sayers/Crispin mould. His literary approach calls for a more classically-educated reader than Kris Dyer, who mispronounced many references which he could easily have verified on the internet.
Strangeways himself, I always enjoy this kind of learned eccentric with buffoonish tendencies.
I've heard him reading the third Strangeways novel, There's Trouble Brewing. He does a much better job in A Question of Proof. His strength is in mimicking regional accents, so he does a great job on the dialogue. However, he seems to have had the same vocal training as Princess Diana - i.e. he breaks every phrase and sentence into chunks of three or four words, which makes his delivery jerky and under-inflected. Question of Proof has lots of dialogue, so is not spoilt by this mannerism; but the other book has lengthy monologues from the hero, which become very tedious thanks to this mosaic-like narration.
Frequent laughter throughout, much of it from the belly.
Given that they are paid professionals, I wish narrators would take more trouble over easily-checked details of pronunciation, foreign phrases, etc. Thanks, however, to Kris Dyer for supplying a treasurable blooper - the 'crème passionelle'.
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