©1994 P.D. James; (P)1996 Chivers Audio Books
Fantastic! The story unfolds slowly, giving you plenty of time to enjoy Ms. James's extraordinary character development. The action proceeds at a fairly steady pace all the way to the end -- when character and action merge -- something she's done before. And she's the only one able to pull it off. Excellent job by the reader, also.
I have only gotten 2 hours 19 mins into the recording and got completely lost as the thread of the story was dropped. I looked up the print version of the book and have found that sections of the book have been chopped out and stuck in at other points. I was tripped up at the point where Blackie is looking at her future and despairing of it, and suddenly the story jumps into the middle of a conversation. Literally into the middle of it. You've no idea who was speaking or what they were speaking about. I looked it up in the print version to discover it's actually the continuation of the conversation between Rupert and James that you thought was done because the recording moved on. In the book it's all one conversation. Since this is a mystery, I find this chopping up of the story most distressing. I now have to wonder what else has been misplaced and is misleading me. Or worse, what's been chopped out completely. I had always thought that unabridged meant that I was going to get to listen to the book as the author wrote it. I'm very glad that I used one of my monthly credits for this book instead of $73.75! This is really a shame, and I probably would not be so frustrated if I wasn't sure this was an excellent story. I suppose I shall have to put up with the choppiness and keep referencing the print book when the recording doesn't flow.
This was my third P D James after Death in Holy Orders and the Murder Room and I thoroughly enjoyed it - as I did the other two. It is a little slow to develop but by a quarter of the way in it really has you hooked. The pressure builds to a big finish. Michael Joyston as narrator does not have the superlative English dialect skills of the narrator in the other two books but he is certainly no slouch. For mine it dead heats with Death in Holy Orders as an outstandingly good listen. Highly recommended.
I enjoy Ms. James, the way she weaves a scene and develops characters is wonderful. I did feel that this book wasn't her strongest. I found some of adjectives used to be a bit repetitive. By comparison with Death In Holy Orders and the Murder Room, this is not as strong. If this is your first "James" title and you liked it, you'll love the rest. If you didn;t, try one of these others before you scratch her off you list
the story is wonderful and a great PD James story. HOWEVER, I wish I read the review before purchasing. There is a HUGE cut and paste error. A new character is interviewed and brought into the story in a way that is clear that a chapter or two is missing! I had to listen to it 3 times to determine my ipod had not skipped and it wasn't a mechanical error. I am not sure if this is a Audible issue or the publisher--but there is a significant editing issue; it take some time to realize that the story changed and the reader is left to wonder what other parts of the story was edited out.
The parts of the books are mixed up in the recording. Please stick to the book pages and chapters order when recording. I was totally lost and had to stop listening - will start from the beginning - with a regular paper book. As I said, the story is great.
This is one of PD James best. Great characters, interesting story. Narration is excellent. Jayston is one of my favorite narrators.
trying to see the world with my ears
As noted by other listeners, there are a couple of snippets out of order (just before the "end of side two" announcement from the old cassettte version), but these don't interfere over all with the clever tale, characters and atmosphere expected from P.D.James.
Jayston's style is more reading than a dramatic narration with many voice inflections, but I like that style for a slowly unfolding mystery.
You may hear echoes of "A Mind to Murder" if you've read/listenied to that - I don't think James was recycling plot pieces as much as revisiting a narrative 30+ years later with her richer storytelling skills.
A good story, well crafted. It is a little excessive in the (largely irrelevant) introspection indulged in by the characters. Modern critics (and some crimewriters) sometimes criticise Agatha Christie for her sparsely-drawn characters, missing the point that her brushstrokes were so effective that they did not need embellishment. P D James often seems to veer to the other extreme, perhaps as a reaction to this misleading view. As to the narrator, Michael Jayston, he is excellent in every respect.
I am a Company Rep in Central Qld. I travel around 60,000klms a year and rely on my Audiobooks to keep me company on my Country Trips!
Apart from my unabashed admiration for Michael Jayston, the PD James writing style includes a range of words which are uncommon in other Authors. This tends to impact the listener more. A good tale, well told!
"A Good Read"
A good read - but not a great read. I expected better than this, from a well-respected author. The story is well read by Michael Jayston and expertly crafted, but lacks the element of suspense which engenders the desire in the reader to carry on reading (or listening).
"Good writing and narration"
I enjoyed this very much. PD James' writing is so intelligent and sometimes very beautiful. I prefer books with less gore than seems to be fashionable and so this suited me from that perspective. Michael Jayston is a perfect fit as a narrator and brought the characters to life. My only criticism is that there are so many deaths that you have to suspend credibility a bit too far, and I felt that let it down a little, but I think many would disagree with that. A great listen.
"Another Good James outing"
I read this P.D. James at the time of pubication and it always stuck in my memory, amongst all her others. For this reason I chose it as my first James audio book purchase. I wasn't disappointed but it didn't quite have the excitement that I remembered. Nonetheless, it was well read by Michael Jayston, whose pace of delivery is pitched just right - and I did enjoy the ending - unlike the previous reviewer. With P.D. James you get good solid writing, plot and characterisation - this one didn't let me down on any of these - and the narration is good too. For me, it was a good choice, worthy of 4 stars or a 'Very Good' report.
"Standard PD James"
Good, standard PD James. As usual, I found the beginning of the story, where the characters were introduced, more compelling than the ending, which was overly contrived. Well-read.
"Brilliant yet again"
There are few authors who can creative good and bad characters alike and make them all equally as interesting to the reader. P.D. James is one such novelist. Yet again she brings a thrilling read from start to finish with a plot that weaves in many different directions unpected to the reader but always carrying us along with it.
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