Her death reveals a paucity of friends, a grasping brother and a tenacious colleague determined to find out if that last trial held any clues to her suicide. The transcript holds intriguing hints, but it is a witness who holds the key to the truth of Marianne's character and suicide...
©2008 Frances Fyfield; (P)2009 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
The story moves slowly, and the detective work is not very thrilling. It's a simple mystery story, with a little emphasis on mystery. It's also a love story, with much less emphasis on the love. It's not about spies and gimmicks. The detective work unfolds slowly. Overall there isn't much depth to the characters.
The protagonist (if this book has one) is an impoverished seamstress named Hen. It's possible to identify with her, which makes the book more readable (or listenable). I found this book interesting enough, but I admit I am easily satisfied. The narrator is good, but her voice is a little harsh. I may buy another Fyfield, but then again, I may not. And if I had the choice, I would prefer some other narrator.
As a rule, I always try to leave positive reviews but I can find nothing good to say about this audiobook. The story is predictable with an implausible premise in which a probate lawyer and a seamstress team up to solve the mystery of a wealthy lawyer's suicide. But there is no real mystery to speak of, and the the off-the-shelf plot is so overused I could predict the ending befoer we'd reached the midpoint. Hen and Peter are such a dull and passionless pair that is it was a struggle to care about them and I caught myself hoping that the cardboard cut-out villain Rick would put me out of my misery and finish them off promptly. Especially as the rest of the book is populated with such unpleasant characters that I wish I could wash them out of my head. Not that I think fictional characters have to e 'nice', but there was nothing interesting about any of them - no charm, wit, mystery, allure, pathos, back-story or any other quality even approaching interesting. Just a gang of bitter, nasty, self interested, friendless losers.. The writing was so lifeless and flat it felt like even Fyfield, the author, had lost interest and was struggling to keep going. But bad as the story was, the narration was by far the worst part of this audiobook. It was truly dreadful, delivered in an emphysemic wheeze by Lenska who seemed to have her cheeks stuffed with cotton wool and, as the previous reviewer has said, used the same ridiculous voice for every male character. In fact, there were just two pitches to her narration - aggressive snarl or submissive whine. Perhaps, if the narration hadn't been so dreadful the story might have had some life to it. But that's as charitable as I get. I'm feeling quite cross that I wasted a credit and 10 hours of my life listening to this nasty piece of work. I'll steer clear of both author and narrator in the future.
My first reading of a Frances Fyfield novel but it won't be the last. Some great characterisations, especially the manipulative, unconscionable 'bad-guy'. And I'm almost inspired to take up sewing after the descriptions of the beautiful costumes and workshop.
The narration was wonderful.
I am new to the concept of audio books and found that the whole weekend had passed me by as I only attened to matters that allowed me to keep listening to the narration! The reading was excellent - and captured the spirit of the book well. My only criticism is more a small disappointment - at times I found the male voices were all a little too familiar and therefore sometimes difficult to identify.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the reading style and would recommend it to others.
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