Lord Peter Wimsey and his detective novelist wife Harriet Vane return in Jill Paton Walsh's brilliant new continuation of Dorothy L. Sayers's classic mysteries.
When a dispute among the fellows of St. Severin's College, Oxford University, reaches a stalemate, Lord Peter Wimsey discovers that as the Duke of Denver he is "the Visitor" - charged with the task of resolving the issue. It is time for Lord Peter and his detective novelist wife Harriet to revisit their beloved Oxford, where their long and literate courtship finally culminated in their engagement and marriage.
At first, the dispute seems a simple difference of opinion about a valuable manuscript that some of the fellows regard as nothing but an insurance liability, which should be sold to finance a speculative purchase of land. The voting is evenly balanced. The warden would normally cast the deciding vote, but he has disappeared. And when several of the fellows unexpectedly die as well, Lord Peter and Harriet set off on an investigation to uncover what is really going on at St. Severin's.
With this return to the Oxford of Gaudy Night, which many readers regard as their favorite of Sayers's original series, Jill Paton Walsh revives the wit and brilliant plotting of the golden age of detective fiction.
©2013 Jill Paton Walsh and the Trustees of Anthony Fleming, deceased. (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
I enjoyed the placement of this Wimsey mystery in Oxford. The number of suspects together with the number of victims keeps the story interesting, and presses home the need for Peter, Harriet, and Bunter to find the perpetrator quickly.
Having heard The Attenbury Emeralds read by Edward Petherbridge set me up to be very disappointed by this narrator. Brenher's voice carries a glottal fry which results in most characters sounding as though they have been smoking and drinking since they were 12. Bunter seems to have been raised in London's East End and poor Charles Parker was made to sound like a pompous, aged military officer left over from the Crimean War. Minor characters' voices are not distinct and sometimes change, so it is easy to confuse them and have to "re-wind" to find out who is really supposed to be talking.
Compared with other Lord Peter mysteries this one is near the bottom. Characters were not fleshed out & differentiating between them was difficult
I enjoyed "Presumption of Death" & "The Attenbury Emeralds", but not "Thrones, Dominations". I probably will read another Paton Walsh, but NOT with this reader!
He could have done a little research. He pronounced Bredon with a short e, not to rhyme with tree as is correct. Hearing that over & over again gave me fits. Shrewsbury was pronounced as an American would pronounce it, not as Shrosbry. He almost sounded like an American putting on an English accent. Edward Petherbridge would have been my first choice as Ian Carmichael has passed on.
When It was over & I could stop listening to him!
Get another reader next time!
OCD over books, listening to 1 a day; ANY genre, fact & fiction. Influenced by Audible reviewers so I keep mine unbiased - FRONT to BLACK!
I couldn't figure out if this book is just boring or the narrator was ruining the experience. He made no distinction between character voices so it's hard to tell who is talking. I kept getting confused and losing the thread of the story. Even if the book was less intriguing, a narrator like Simon Vance or Simon Prebble would have kept the listener's interest. Hopefully, the print version is better. But for the audio version, after just 2 chapters, I gave up.
The narration was terrible. The narrator's voice is deep and heavy, although the Wimsey character is a lithe and lively man, described in one novel by another character as "a little English sparrow hawk."
Besides a voice so totally unsuited to the protagonist, the narrator was unable to properly voice other characters as well. His delivery was heavy and ponderous. Passages that carried an emotional punch were recited in as flat a tone as the ones where Peter was looking for a parking place. Also, it was often impossible to tell one character from another during a dialogue.
If all that weren't bad enough, he didn't pronounce key words correctly, including Bredon and Shrewsbury. And he read Bunter's lines in some godawful inappropriate accent.
I haven't been able to listen to the whole book yet, and will probably end up reading it because this narration is so bad I keep getting annoyed and distracted by it.
I'm not sure. The narration is so bad I haven't been able to listen to the whole book.
Edward Petherbridge, or Graeme Malcolm. Or Penelope Keith.
Irritation and anger, as well as disappointment.
If any book in the Audible catalogue has ever cried out for a do-over, this is it. Please, someone, produce this book with an appropriate narrator! Matthew Brehner is no doubt a good match for some books, but hopelessly wrong for this one, and didn't bother to learn correct pronunciations.
I'm very happy to have another Wimsey adventure penned by Jill Paton Walsh. I think she does an excellent job of progressing the characters while staying fairly true to Sayers' style.
Sadly, the new narrator did nothing for the book. I realize that Ian Carmichael isn't around to read to us anymore and perhaps Edward Petherbridge is busy. I have enjoyed their narration of the Wimsey series for years and am probably spoilt by their perfect grasp of the characters. I really wanted to like Mr. Brehner's reading, his voice is pleasant to listen to, but he mispronounces several vital names and gives some important characters accents and cadence that sound very wrong. It's not enough to ruin the book for me, nothing like the abominable new narrators of the Margery Allingham mysteries, but it was certainly not up to par.
The writing stays true to the characters and the story is engaging. I love all the Lord Peter Wimsey books and I hope they keep coming.
I acknowledge that the bar is set higher than it would be if this was any other work of fiction. The worst part was the narrator who would be marvelous if this was a children's book. Its like he wants to soothe us to sleep. The mystery really wasn't. And the actual reason I keep buying these - beloved characters - only cause me to wince at every deviation from how I perceive them to be. I need to give up hope and stop buying these.
This time the author gave us a good solid mystery and great literary quotations, but also produced an insipid Harriet. Would the woman who spent a year in the Senior Common Room at Shrewsbury College really have to ask what it's like to live like that? The author also retrieves Harriet's friends Eiluned Price and Sylvia Marriott from Strong Poison but inexplicably overlooks the fact that they are a couple. Additional similar faux pas about characters and relationships give the book a clunky feeling. The monotonous reader doesn't help. We are huge Sayers fans but struggled to get through this one on a cross-country road trip.
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