©2004 Ruth Dudley Edwards; (P)2004 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
I was beyond pleased to have turned up the recent work of fiction by the noted English political writer. Those not familiar with the cast of characters, lead by the redoubtable Baroness Ida "Jack" Troutbeck and her assistant in matters of murder, Robert Amiss, may play a bit of catch-up, but Bill Wallis' extraordinary ability to capture the persona of each of the players will have you up to speed in no time. This is a bawdy romp, not for the easily offended, and the right-wing bent of Dudley-Edwards beliefs unapolgetically shine through the Baroness. It can, at times, get a bit caught up in the English political landscape which is a bit unfamiliar to we Yanks. Still and all, for the sheer entertainment value, the combination of Dudley-Edwards and Wallis is a winner at the dicey combination of mirth and murder.
Like all really good humorists, Edwards is funny no matter on which side of the great divide the reader sits. I laughed, I gaffawed, I snickered as the author neatly skews the foibles of the current literary and educational set with a rapier made of wit.
I had a great deal of sympathy for the character who was asked what kinds of books she liked to read and she responded, "Ones with stories in them."
The reader was also very good. The American accent he uses for one of the characters is not from Minneapolis, but he can be forgiven that for the rest of his character voices.
This is great fun. Regardless of how politically correct one is, the broad humor, combined with intelligence and evidence of genuinely caring for free inquiry and humane treatment of humans, should be a winning mix. Also, the reader is extremely gifted and takes on the various characters well.
Please, audible, bring us more from this combination of author and reader.
Saw this writer praised in a Marilyn Stasio column so downloaded this title - It was so funny and so well read that I listened to it again as soon as I finished it. Have been reading what other titles I can find at my library, but reading them can not compare to hearing Bill Wallis read Ms. Edwards' outrageous and clever right leaning humor. BTW, I'm a Democrat - but this is a joke I can take and want for more.
I agree with previous reviewers - this is a very funny book, but you have to be able to tolerate a certain amount of foul language. I enjoyed this book more for the personalities than the mystery.
The reader was excellent. He managed to keep the voices reasonably distinctive and intelligible to an American ear. Even his female American accent was OK - though it had more "magnolia" in it than is normal for a Minnesotan.
I'll be on the lookout for more by this author!
Bill Wallis is a good reader if you can listen with one hand on the volume button. He's got some great interpretations, but his narrative voice becomes an inarticulate mumble after you've made a dive to turn down the screeches of a parrot, or the loud imperious voice of its owner. Then you turn it up in order to catch the story line and get zapped again when another manic character begins a high volume rant. It's a good murder mystery with a surprise ending, but WHY don't the producers play these on ordinary machines and then MIX them?
I enjoy this author and would have liked to finish this book. I stopped about a quarter of the way through because I couldn't listen to any more swearing. It seemed like every character communicated this way. Pity ... I like the main characters, but there's a limit to my language tolerance.
I found this book did not hold together and the characters were shallow. I was expecting a witty satire, but had to stop listening after the first few chapters, as it wasn't holding my interest.
I am a big mystery fan and am always on the lookout for something new. I gave this one a try, but it didn't turn out to be my cup of tea. It wasn't terrible, and it was even sort of cute at times, but I thought the mystery was weak. It seemed as though the author wanted to make a statement in ridiculing literary pomposity and political correctness. Fair enough, I guess, but I was expecting something else.
"An Excellent Book"
Ruth Dudley Edwards' books are witty, wry and intelligent with a very palatable degree of social satire. Bill Wallis' reading of this book is excellent and could not be improved. Together the mixture is magic.
The Committee mentioned in the title is judging books for a literary prize and the book makes some wonderful jabs at the literary establishment, books and authors (I had a wonderful time working out who she was referring to). To this mixture is added several murders that have to be solved. So the book works well for whodunit lovers as well as those interested in literary criticism and social satire. Wonderful and witty. Why doesn't Audible stock her other books?
"Enjoyable tongue-in cheek murder story"
Carnage is the right word as the book award committee members get bumped off one by one! It's not a serious crime detection novel: more like a spoof Miss Marple story. It's meant to be funny and light-hearted?and it is. I enjoyed it. it was well read too, which makes a big difference.
"Death brought to book."
I have yet to hear anything disappointing read by Bill Wallis. Here he reads another case for Robert Amiss, Ruth Dudley Ellis’s investigator. This time Amiss is involved in judging a literary competition. A safe enough job one would think except in RDE’s world. The novel balances humour and suspense in a satire on the literature business. Excellent all round.
"Another wonderful romp!"
In this book Robert Amiss is working on a committee to chose a novel for a "Booker" type prize. Far from being learned literature lovers, the committee are (mostly) self-serving snobs with their own (extremely) PC agendas and "old Pals" acts to fulfill. When the "chair" of the committee is found dead from poisoning another has to be found post haste, and who better (?) than Amiss' friend Baroness Ida (Jack) Troutbeck, the most non-PC directoire knicker wearing academic to grace a comedy novel. Other murders follow, with a bit of a twist at the end. Bill Wallis is an excellent reader and does voices beautifully, not an easy task with so many characters!
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