Members of the Grub-and-Stakers Gardening Club set out to find a murderer after a body is unearthed on a Canadian wildflower preserve.
©1981 Charlotte McLeod (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
I've loved Charlotte MacLeod for many years. She wrote the funniest, most delightful cozy mysteries of all time. The Alisa Crag series are especially delicious. The characters are hilarious and adorable; the writing witty and whimsical; and the stories an absolute pleasure.
HOWEVER, this narrator does no justice. She simply doesn't seem to have the flair that these characters need. As a matter of fact, the characters are almost indistinguishable from one another and, what little she does to them is inconsistent at best.
I've heard women do fantastic male voices, both in cadence and inflection as well as pitch. This is important in most novels with major male characters read by women. But this is even more critical when you have characters such as Osbert Monk. She does a fair Scottish accent, but that is the only reason you know Sergeant McVicker is speaking, but even that isn't consistent. Nor do you ever hear McVicker's twinkle or gentle sarcasm. And Osbert's absolutely hilarious writer of classic western fiction sounds more like a boring wimp.
The women are vaguely distinguishable, but completely uninteresting - not at all like the actual characters, themselves, each of which are unique and absolutely wonderful. She can't even create and develop, much less be consistent with the most distinctive character of all - Arethusa Monk.
When I read the books, I smiled during every minute and laughed out loud rather often. I don't think I actually laughed once in the listening. Clearly it isn't the book - it is the reader.
Audible, please be very careful when selecting narrators for the books you actually produce and be very critical of those you don't.
A different narrator. Oral interpretation is a very specialized form of acting. Only those who are very good at it should read novels. And, when humor is a fundamental element of a book, the requirements are even more stringent.
Absolutely, but it is an old cozy and, if ever produced, it would have to be on TV.
I adore Charlotte MacLeod's novels. Unfortunately, this reading was not as good is it could have been. The narrator is not able to differentiate easily between the characters and resorts to "quirks." For instance, one woman was given a very breathy voice and therefore had little emotion in what she said. It's a pity, because the novel is wonderful.
Charlotte MacLeod, writing here as Alisa Craig, is one of my take-to-a-desert island authors so you can expect a gushing review from me for this book and you'll get it. It's warm, it's witty, it's fun, it extremely well-written, it's cozy but my favorite word to describe her writing is gentle. This is a gentle mystery.
Dittany Henbit is a member of the Lobelia Falls Grub-and-Stakers as is everyone else in town. Archery is the main interest of the club but they do all kinds of civic duties when called up. Dittany, a professional typist, is up on a mountain which has been donated to the city as a preserve when she encounters a new employee of the water department, very strange since there is no water run up onto the mountain, and then the manager of the water department, very dead.
As the mystery develops, we meet a lot of the town folk and they are of the wacky yet lovable variety. I appreciate that even when presented as slightly weird, they are still treated with respect. We all have odd-ball friends and that's who some of these people feel like. Alisa Craig loves to use an interesting vocabulary. It comes across as almost Victorian at times but in a way that's fun, not old-fashioned. And very easy to read. I particularly love the Scottish police chief and his phraseology.
For me, this book and anything by Alisa Craig or Charlotte MacLeod is like getting home after a hard day and putting on your warm fuzzy pajamas to watch your favorite old movie. Just comfort and relaxation. Everything's going to be all right in the end and you're going to have a good time getting there.
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