Dorothy L. Sayers, long considered one of the top mystery authors of our day, has excelled herself in this delightfully macabre tale, a truly rare find for anyone interested in top-flight crime fiction.
©1995 Dorothy L. Sayers; (P)1998 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"The tale is better written and has a good deal more characterization than one finds in the average detective story." (New York Times)
. . . this is perhaps not one of Sayers's most memorable mysteries, but one of the few that is available. I wish that Audible carried more of her titles.
This is an excellent entry in the Sayers line of work with Lord Peter Wimsey, and the reading works well.
However, part of the text was left out. For one not already familiar with the story, the missing piece may cause a little confusion coming into the conclusion. On the other hand, maybe it wouldn't be noticeable to someone who hasn't reread most of Sayers' novels several times!
A story with a preponderance of male characters being read by a female voice? That's what I wondered about when I took this from our public library years ago on audio cassette. But I was surprised and delighted then and remain surprised and delighted now. May conveys Wimsey, Bunter, Parker, the dowager duchess--everyone--to perfection.
Of all the Wimsey stories, this first in the series stands out as the one with the most comedy. Yes, it's a dark tale chillingly told. But there are fine moments of levity that relieve the gloom; sometimes this early edition of Lord Peter can almost sound as if he were about to drop in at the Drones Club for a quick spot before lunch.
And the story is good. In fact it's superb. But I'm not gong to say any more for fear of spoiling it for you.
I've always loved Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter Whimsey novels. I particularly looked forward to this purchase since only a few of her works are available as audiobooks. It was a disappointment. Nadia May makes the suave Lord Peter come across as a grating fishwife and a horse's patoot. I don't remember him being so idiotic and silly. She also reads WAY too fast, obliterating every dramatic pause and letting one character's dialogue run into the next. I doubt I'll get through it. I wouldn't recommend it.
Audiobooks have literally changed my life. I now actually ENJOY doing mindless chores because they give me plenty of listening time!
Gentlemen of Lord Peter Wimsey's class aren't expected to take up employment, and some view his involvement with crime to be in very poor taste. But he can't help getting wrapped up in a good case of murder, and this one is a doozy: a man is found laying in the bath at an architect's home completely naked, save for the presence of a pince-nez perched on his nose. The architect can't have committed the murder and the body strangely resembles Sir Reuben Levy, a powerful banker who has disappeared overnight. I liked the ongoing construction of the Lord Wimsey character and the many incongruous elements of the story that Sayers weaved in were very entertaining. Definitely a series worth pursuing, which I hope Audible will make available in the unabridged editions sooner than later.
Author of My Zombie Dog
This book was an okay mystery, but I'd heard so much about the author that I expected more. I found it a little dull. I've loved Agatha Christie and thought this might be similar. However, there were some amusing moments in the story.
I'll try another one to see if maybe this was just one I couldn't connect with.
First of all, why a woman narrator? Considering the story, a man would have made more sense. This particular woman was shrill, over-exuberant, and talked way too fast. I tried slowing the narration down, but still couldn't listen to it. I was looking forward to becoming reacquainted with Lord Peter, but ended up hugely disappointed instead.
The narrator was a distraction to the story. Many years ago, I read this book and enjoyed it. The over-theatrical narration was too distracting, too fast-paced and too energetic for my personal preference.
With so many fine British readers available, including Ian Carmichael who has read several of the LPW books as well as portrayed Lord Peter on BBC radio and BBC/PBS TV, why was a woman ever chosen as the reader? Maybe the $2.95 Kindle price deal had something to do with it? Nadia May is a fine reader, but try as she might, she really was out of her depth in a book with predominantly male characters, and try as I might, it was a struggle to continue to listen all the way to the end.
In spite of Lord Peter's affected manner and the at times jarringly dated attitudes reflected in the books, there is a reason why people are still reading Sayers. If you have never read the LPW books and enjoy Christie, Tey or Marsh, or if you last read them years ago, I recommend you read this one in print only and start your audible experience with a male reader, preferably Carmichael.
"No Ian Carmichael"
Oh dear! What a mistake. I love the DLS Wimsey books, but I didn't realise that this was not one of those narrated by the excellent Ian Carmichael. Instead this is narrated by a woman who speaks so quickly and in some strange pretence of upper class accent and (male!?) voice that does not portray either Wimsey or Bunter in any way, shape or form.
Would not purchase another with this narrator.
If it had been delivered by Ian Carmichael (or probably any male narrator)!
"totally inappropriate narration"
I like the book enormously, but found the narration impossible. I gave up listening before the end of the third chapter, and have deleted it from my mp3 player to free space for something worth while.
The story is fine, but not as performed in this version - choose another narrator and enjoy it!
The voices given to Wimsey and Bunter were completely inappropriate. Wimsey is a cultivated, upper class Englishman, not a vulgar cheeky chappy, and Bunter should be a properly self-effacing gentleman's gentleman.
I won't be buying other books narrated by Nadia May.
The world of advertising is a perfect foil for the wit of Lord Peter - in fact some of this is strangely prophetic in the butter department! Sparkling, pacy and full of gorgeous sounds of thunderstorms, crackling fires and ticking clocks.
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