Pretty, young Anne came to London looking for adventure. In fact, adventure comes looking for her - and finds her immediately at Hyde Park Corner tube station. Anne is present on the platform when a thin man, reeking of mothballs, loses his balance and is electrocuted on the rails.
The Scotland Yard verdict is accidental death. But Anne is not satisfied. After all, who was the man in the brown suit who examined the body? And why did he race off, leaving a cryptic message behind: "17-122 Kilmorden Castle"?
©1924 Agatha Christie Limited (P)2011 HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
The only readers who might like this story are those who have a goal of listening to every Agatha Christie novel available. This one is a girl's own adventure, written with a running commentary about what similar heroines in the movies would do. It is not one the author's better efforts.
The theme of the bold, unprotected young woman off on an adventure to South Africa and what was then Rhodesia by rail and steamship had some moments, but the author 's approach of relating the story through the journal entries of two of the characters was ineffective and at times annoying.
Novels read by a single author almost always suffer a bit when the narrator does characters of the opposite sex. I have had listen to some pretty strange woman's voices when male narrators lack the ability to do female voices adequately. But this female narrator's efforts to perform the male parts of this novel were the worst screechings I have ever heard. She tried to mimic a "gruff" male voice for the journal entries of a male character that constitute almost half the novel. The result was terrible. This is a bit surprising because her voices and readings for the female characters were generally good. But I tried to get though this audiobook twice and couldn't stick it out to the end either time because the male voices were so bad. Perhaps the narrator should compare her performance to Joan Hickson's narration of a Miss Marple novel. Hickson does not try to imitate a male voice; she just uses a small variation in order to indicate a male voice. Likewise, male narrators who use a slightly higher voice for a female character instead of a falsetto seem to me much successful. After all, this is narration of a novel, not a one-person radio drama. Most readers accept the difference and buy accordingly. Few narrators are talented enough to correctly mimic a wide range of male and female voices, and this narrator is not the exception. The narrator could do much better. She simply has taken utterly the wrong approach in this performance, given her skills and quality of voice.
A good editor/producer would have prevented the narrator from using such an unsuccessful approach to narrating the male voices in the novel.
I see there are several more Agatha Christie novels read by this narrator. I hope someone has prevented her from taking the same disastrous approach to male voices in those audiobooks as she did in this one.
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