Field trips and eerie accidents...
Professor Shandy, propagator of the world's most renowned rutabaga and Balaclava College's best amateur sleuth, takes on the case of the Giant Hogweed - a garden pest about to wipe out Britain's lovely hedgerows. With colleagues Dan Stott and Timothy Ames at his side, he leaves the groves of academe for some fancy fieldwork deep in the heart of Wales. But never in their wildest dreams did the three professors expect the bizarre events that awaited them.... Where Miss Hilda Horsefall's recipe for homemade lye soap becomes as valuable as Dan Stott's knowledge of The Chronicles of Narnia...and where pursuing the wild asparagus...or rather the Giant Hogweed...becomes a dangerous expedition indeed.
©1985 Charlotte McLeod (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
This fantasy stuck in the middle ages is not what you'd expect from the author of the Peter Shandy mysteries. Going on and on in a middle ages fantasy is not what you want Dr. Shandy to be involved in. Sorry. I really like this mystery series but this story does not belong. My recommendation is read it if you want but I was very disappointed.
I read many mysteries written by Charlotte MacLeod in the mid 1980's. I found her stories to be gently amusing with plenty of plot twists. I was delighted when I discovered that her books were available in audio editions. I don't remember reading "Curse of the Giant Hogweed". Even so, I chose it for my first MacLeod audio book.
The first chapter was the type of story I remembered, bringing smiles and chuckles. Then the story took an abrupt turn into a sort of fantasy world set hundreds of years in the past. It just didn't work for me. The humor is still there, but it seemed forced. The mystery is there, but was not enhanced by the "fantasy" setting.
The dialogue in the "fantasy" world was somewhat annoying to me. For instance, the fantasy world characters often added "eth" to their verbs, i.e. "heareth". I found it distracting and a little annoying. Perhaps it flowed better in print.
The narrator has a pleasant, deep voice. However from time to time a character would speak with an English accent. I'm not sure why. To me, his female character voices sounded a little like parodies.
The publishers blurb mentions The Canterbury Tales. I haven't read any part of The Canterbury Tales for many years, and don't remember much about it. It is possible that there is humor here that I missed,
I plan to listen to more Audible titles by Charlotte MacLeod. In this case I just chose the wrong one.
If you are reading the Peter Shandy series and expect another Balaclava mystery, be prepared. It doesn't take place at Balaclava College by a long stretch. On the other hand, the story stands up to expected quality, even if it falls down the rabbit hole with Alice (McLeod's own allusion).
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