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Jenny Jenkins

  • 35
  • reviews
  • 63
  • helpful votes
  • 68
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  • A Pocket Full of Rye

  • A Miss Marple Mystery
  • By: Agatha Christie
  • Narrated by: Richard E. Grant
  • Length: 6 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 313
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 285
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 280

Rex Fortescue, king of a financial empire, was sipping tea in his "counting house" when he suffered an agonizing and sudden death. On later inspection, the pockets of the deceased were found to contain traces of cereals. Yet, it was the incident in the parlor that confirmed Miss Marple's suspicion that here she was looking at a case of crime by rhyme....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another Brilliant Marple Mystery Performance!

  • By Scaramouche239 on 06-11-14

Richard E. Grant is a Revelation

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-09-18

I’ve enjoyed Hugh Fraser’s reading of Agatha Christie: perfect accompaniment for household chores. But I never thought much of Agatha Christie as a writer of characters — real, breathing characters — before listening to Richard E. Grant bring each of these characters to full, breathing life. Funny, sardonic, written with flair! Could this really be Christie — whose characters sometimes seem like dollhouse figures she has decided to move here or there in reassuringly predictable fashion? Yes. Very much her still — but with every word counting and every character given the care and interest their author intended. Bravo, Richard E. Grant!!

  • The Hollow

  • A Hercule Poirot Mystery
  • By: Agatha Christie
  • Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
  • Length: 7 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 360
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 335
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 332

A far-from-warm welcome greets Hercule Poirot as he arrives for lunch at Lucy Angkatell's country house. A man lies dying by the swimming pool, his blood dripping into the water. His wife stands over him, holding a revolver. As Poirot investigates, he begins to realize that beneath the respectable surface lies a tangle of family secrets and everyone becomes a suspect.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Hugh Fraser excellent narrator for Agatha Christie

  • By Kathi on 02-17-14

More Depth than the Usual Christie

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-18-18

Another superb reading of a Christie classic by Hugh Fraser.

I listen to these Agatha Christie’s while doing household activities and while they are almost always very entertaining l, I don’t expect to become emotionally attached to the characters. Most of the time the characters feel like cardboard stand-ins who Christie moves around like figures on a chess board.

But with THE HOLLOW, the characters showed greater complexity and depth and were less stereotypical and predictable. Poirot seemed subdued and almost tangential. As a book, it provided the pleasures of a real novel exploring the depths of human nature. That may be going too far — and yet it came closer to a more modern understanding of human nature with everyone having their own reasons and imperfections that we would do well to understand and accept. And yet all the traditional and expected Agatha Christie pleasures were as evident as always. I enjoyed it immensely.

  • Jeeves in the Morning

  • By: P. G. Wodehouse
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Cecil
  • Length: 6 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 398
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 292
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 289

Bertie Wooster, the dimwitted aristocrat with a heart of gold, had best avoid Bumpleigh Hall, but he pays a visit and soon is embroiled in a host of calamitous mishaps. Uncle Percy accuses him of burning down a bungalow; "Stilton" Cheesewright, betrothed to Bertie's ex-fiancée, barely controls his jealous rage; and Boko and Nobby blackmail Bertie into donning Stilton's stolen police uniform. Fortunately, Bertie's imperturbable valet, Jeeves, is nearby to perform a rescue.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Pleasure to listen...

  • By Julia on 12-06-09

"Jeeves in the Morning" = "Joy in the Morning"!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-29-18

Wonderful narration by Jonathan Cecil BUT be aware! JEEVES IN THE MORNING is the same audiobook as JOY IN THE MORNING, also available here on Audible. In retrospect, how obvious that is! But nonetheless, a pain in the neck to figure out if you have bought and listened to JOY IN THE MORNING years ago, especially since, let's face it, these wonderful Wooster and Jeeves stories do sound a lot alike even when completely different.

  • Three Act Tragedy

  • A Hercule Poirot Mystery
  • By: Agatha Christie
  • Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
  • Length: 5 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 399
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 352
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 355

Sir Charles Cartwright should have known better than to allow 13 guests to sit down for dinner. For at the end of the evening one of them is dead - choked by a cocktail that contained no trace of poison. Predictable, says Hercule Poirot, the great detective. But entirely unpredictable is that he can find absolutely no motive for murder.…

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Queen of Crime at her peak.

  • By Jane on 10-17-12

B-List Christie but A-Plus Narration

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-16-18

All the standard Agatha Christie elements are here — the remote country house and set of suspects, the quick and un-gory murders, the well drawn red herrings who may be imperfect humans but are not actually guilty of murder, the implausible plot that usually you somehow accept as possible. But the plot and characters here seem quickly sketched out and more implausible than usual as though Dame Agatha was hastening towards a deadline. Hugh Fraser captures every voice with believability and nuance of expression and endows this uninspired work with interest and liveliness. Bravo to Hugh Fraser — and despite the many flaws of this weak Christie tea, I am glad to have this audiobook as read by one of audio’s very best performers.

  • Lethal White

  • A Cormoran Strike Novel
  • By: Robert Galbraith
  • Narrated by: Robert Glenister
  • Length: 22 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,857
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 5,560
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,535

When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike's office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed, and cannot remember many concrete details, there is something sincere about him and his story. But before Strike can question him further, Billy bolts from his office in a panic. Trying to get to the bottom of Billy's story, Strike and Robin Ellacott - once his assistant, now a partner in the agency - set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Best 22 hours of the last week

  • By Jennifer on 09-27-18

Disappointed in good old "Robert Galbraith"!

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-10-18

I really enjoyed the first two Cormoran Strike novels and savoured Robert Glenister's narration. But halfway through LETHAL WHITE, I am putting it back on the virtual shelf. So much of the book thus far has been from Robin's perspective as she goes undercover in the House of Commons pretending to be the goddaughter of an obnoxious representative who is being blackmailed. You need someone to relate to in a novel, and if it's only going to be Robin, then she has to be less nervous than I am and have more gumption about getting out of her bad marriage than the least imaginative of my friends.

Even the great Robert Glenister reads as though his heart just wasn't in it. Glenister is a pro, but you just can't hide lack of inspiration. When he was first hired to read these books, Cormoran Strike's voice was the dominant one. Not the case in LETHAL WHITE where Glenister has to read from Robin's perspective for pages and pages. His very male voice tries to find a reasonable register, and though he achieves it credibly enough, he rarely fully inhabits that female voice.

The problem is, Cormoran Strike is now so famous, he has to outsource his detective work to Robin and others. He more or less phones in like Charlie in Charlie's Angels. Fame and renown are "problems" other fictional detectives have and their creators manage to find solutions. But this solution, of hiring less gifted folks to snoop around for you and acting like dull mortals is not the answer. Halfway through and most of the plot is focused on Robin being afraid that her identity will be found out. And she acts nervous and behaves fearfully. That's not actually fun or interesting. If I were in similar circumstances, I too would find my heart palpitating with every suspicious look and set of inquisitive questions. But I should never be the protagonist in a mystery novel -- and perhaps neither should Robin. There's just too much relatable nervousness, too many unpleasasant, annoying characters, and far too little intrigue or too little cool detective work by Cormoran Strike.

I had expected better from the wonderful "Robert Galbraith" and hope the next book gets back on track.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Artists in Crime

  • By: Ngaio Marsh
  • Narrated by: Benedict Cumberbatch
  • Length: 3 hrs and 19 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 228
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 203
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 201

It started as a student exercise, the knife under the drape, the model's pose chalked in place. But before Agatha Troy, artist and instructor, returns to the class, the pose has been re-enacted in earnest: the model is dead, fixed for ever in one of the most dramatic poses Troy has ever seen. It's a difficult case for Chief Detective Inspector Alleyn. How can he believe that the woman he loves is a murderess? And yet no one can be above suspicion.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Aii! Abridged

  • By Charles on 06-05-11

The Real Mystery: Why Benedict Cumberland Narrates This Silly Trifle?

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-12-18

I have sometimes asked myself, “Would I pay to hear Benedict Cumberbatch read the telephone book? Is he just that great?”

Yes, Benedict Cumberbatch is just that great. But even his ability to infuse every character with nuanced individuality and the narration with a breezy irony, I thought I detected a hint of impatience with the clunky plot twists, absurd dialogue, and superficial characterizations of this 20th century relic, as his voice swept across the script like a cool breeze eager to be on its way.

Hard to imagine why BC agreed to do this production — unless it was one of his first paying gigs. The money could not be great, the prestige could not be high, the artistic interest would have to be minimal. Perhaps he is actually Ngaio Marsh’s grandson and he is paying filial homage to her legacy. Whatever the reason, even Benedict Cumberbatch could not redeem this little silly parcel of a mystery that seems to have fallen off a truck packed with mysteries from the Golden Age. As Agatha Christie and Margery Allingham go barrelling off, we are left with a small, clumsily-shaped approximation of an English murder mystery.

“Why have Americans never embraced Ngaio Marsh?” ran the headline of an article I once read in an English newspaper. Apart from not being able to pronounce her New Zealand name (the G is more or less silent), and If ARTISTS IN CRIME is any indication, it’s because Marsh’s settings seem like ancient history, and her plots are preposterous (to the point of involving aspirin as a knock-out drug). Her upper crust detective Roderick Alleyn demonstrates his insouciance by calling his sidekick Sergeant Fox “Brier Fox” and complimenting another subordinate with a jolly “good sleuthing,” which I believe even Nancy Drew never deigned say to her sidekick George as they hopped into her roadster. And at least Hercule Poirot could summon some sympathy for the murdered victim at the heart of the case — which Alleyn never does.

Other readers have objected to the fact that this novel has been abridged, which they failed to notice on purchase. I can attest that three hours of this ridiculousness is more than enough— and I speak as someone who still manages to delight in Hercule Poirot’s summoning of a manor house’s inhabitants into the library for a step by step explication of the grand denouement. In other words, I have high tolerance for corny cozy English mysteries. But if you go into ye olde tea shop for scones and clotted cream, you expect more than brick-like cakes heaped with gobs of glop.


  • The Murder Room

  • An Adam Dalgliesh Mystery
  • By: P.D. James
  • Narrated by: Charles Keating
  • Length: 14 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 616
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 245
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 242

The Dupayne, a small private museum in London, is in turmoil. As its trustees argue over whether it should be closed, one of them is brutally and mysteriously murdered. Yet even as Commander Adam Dalgliesh and his team proceed with their investigation, a second corpse is discovered. Someone in the Dupayne is prepared to kill and kill again. Still more sinister, the murders appear to echo the notorious crimes of the past featured in one of the museum's galleries: the Murder Room.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Classic P.D. James

  • By Jim on 11-23-03

The Best Adam Dalgleish

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-29-18

If you don’t know PD James’s cerebral, character driven mysteries, don’t start here. The run up to the first murder is long and detailed. You will learn more detail about the characters than you can ever really use — though this is the technique James uses so as to give all the characters equal weight and possibility of suspicion. And one of my favorite James characters, Chief Inspector Kate Miskin, has only a small role here. But Adam Dalgleish in all his restraint, intelligence, humanity, professionalism is here in full and so well represented by Charles Keating’s narration. I have tried to listen to PD James on audio when read by Penelope Dellaporta. But although I myself am a woman on the older side, I find her narration far too ensconced in the voice of an older woman to serve James’s characters fully. Though PD James is an older woman writer, and certainly not hip or plugged in to tech changes and the like, she is one of the greats in terms of understanding and becoming humans of all ages and genders. Her narrator must be able to do so as well. And Charles Keating does. At one point in the novel, a character makes a Jane Austen reference. It is not overreaching to say that PD James has many of Austen’s gifts for finely observed character studies and the role they play in moving the plot along. Charles Keating brings almost all the characters alive, especially those from the middle and working classes (hey, it’s England— they don’t pretend these distinctions don’t exist!). The arrogant upper class are drawn and read a bit broadly. And why not? Perhaps the nature of arrogance is that it’s not a subtle presence.
Penguin Random House, I hope you read these reviews and will consider re-recording those novels read by Penelope Dellaporta and let the great and not-arrogant
Adam Dalgliesh have the voice he truly deserves.

  • Rumpole: The Penge Bungalow Murders and other stories

  • Three BBC Radio 4 dramatisations
  • By: John Mortimer
  • Narrated by: Benedict Cumberbatch, Timothy West, full cast, and others
  • Length: 2 hrs and 55 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 172
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 159
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 155

Benedict Cumberbatch plays the young, feisty, devastatingly acute Horace Rumpole in this collection of cracking cases, also starring Timothy West as the older Rumpole. Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders: It is the '50s, and two war heroes have been shot dead. Defending the suspect is deemed hopeless, so the case is handed to a novice. But the novice's superiors didn't count on the tenacity and wit of the young and hungry Horace Rumpole.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • BBC Performance...no a true audiobook

  • By LynR on 08-14-18

Benedict Cumberland as Young Rumpole: Delightful!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-23-18

Of course, was Rumpole ever really young? He was probably born a curmudgeon and Timothy West, who reads the Rumpole stories on audio and does so wonderfully, also plays the older reflective Rumpole to perfection here. But Benedict Cumberbatch adds a wry, dry twist to these stories that always leave me wanting more. Perfect casting all the way around -- and effective abridgment of the original by the writers and producers.

  • A Murder Is Announced

  • A Miss Marple Mystery
  • By: Agatha Christie
  • Narrated by: Emilia Fox
  • Length: 8 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 412
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 376
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 369

The villagers of Chipping Cleghorn, including Jane Marple, are agog with curiosity over an advertisement in the local gazette that read: "A murder is announced and will take place on Friday October 29th, at Little Paddocks at 6:30 p.m." Unable to resist the mysterious invitation, a crowd begins to gather at Little Paddocks at the appointed time when, without warning, the lights go out....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful Agatha Christie... horrific narration

  • By Alex on 10-17-16

Each Character's Voice More Annoying Than the Next

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-23-18

Penguin Random House identifies Emilia Fox as an acclaimed audio book reader, but it is hard to make that claim with this performance. I have listened to dozens of Agatha Christie and other mysteries on audio, and this ranks as one of the worst. It's always a tricky line to toe as a reader, to present a silly or annoying character without being unbearably annoying to the listener. Somehow the best readers manage this trick, but Emilia Fox, no. The high-pitched shrieky tones of half the characters are simply unbearable. The best readers also manage to slip into male and female voices without it feeling false, yet Emilia's male voices remind me of my own feeble attempts to sound male when imitating people I know, but dropping a few registers but bringing little conviction to the shift in gender. All in all, with this book, I never fell into that happy suspension of disbelief that takes place when the best readers, such as Hugh Fraser, read the best stories, such as Agatha Christie's.

As a kid, I preferred reading the Miss Marple tales to Hercule Poirot stories. But thanks to Hugh Fraser's superb renderings of Poirot and Hastings, and Emilia Fox's irritating rendition of Miss Marple and her band of vicars' wives and the like, I am now on Team Hercule Poirot. I will probably not relive all those great Miss Marple moments on audiobook because this rendition of A MURDER WAS ANNOUNCED was simply unbearable. The publisher would do well to vet the readers and ask if they are helping to keep this series of mysteries alive. Audio books keep these novels alive and even encourage the sale of text versions. Hard to imagine anyone savoring this collection of irritating characters in a cozy yet murderous English village as told by Emilia Fox.

  • Set the Boy Free

  • The Autobiography
  • By: Johnny Marr
  • Narrated by: Johnny Marr
  • Length: 9 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 283
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 265
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 264

An artist who helped define a period in popular culture, Johnny Marr tells his story in a memoir as vivid and arresting as his music. The Smiths, the band with the signature sound he cofounded, remains one of the most beloved bands ever and have had a profound influence on a number of acts that followed - from the Stone Roses, Suede, Blur, and Radiohead to Oasis, The Libertines, and Arctic Monkeys.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The best autobiography I've ever read!

  • By Lulu P. on 01-24-17

One of the Great Rock and Roll Memoirs

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-12-18

Like Patti Smith's "Just Kids", Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run", Bob Dylan's "Chronicles", and Keith Richards' "Life," Johnny Marr's "Set The Boy Free" is the story of a young kid discovering himself as an artist by falling in love with music, sitting up late at night listening to the records he loves over and over, struggling to re-create what he hears on a guitar and, in failing to replicate what he heard, creating a new musical voice and vision. (I am pretty sure they also all loved the great American girl groups of the early 1960s and I think we still need to wait for that great book.)

Listening to Johnny Marr's thoughtful, Manchester-inflected voice, I could envision all that he experienced. The first time I listened to the book, I was on a long car ride and wasn't able to pause and listen to the music he references in the book. This time around, I took all the time I wanted. I listened to the obscure, the forgotten, the never-heard, and the much-loved: the early Everly Brothers his mother fell in love with and listened to over and over, Mott the Hoople, The Smiths' first single "This Handsome Man," and Johnny's latest album as a solo artist.

I had bought the book as a one-time Smiths fan and was astonished to find that I had become a Modest Mouse fan at the same time that Johnny Marr joined the group. In these days where I listen to music on iTunes and Spotify, I no longer have the close read of the album cover that helped me learn the names of every member of a band. But now I know why I loved those Modest Mouse songs: that twangy, driving force of Johnny Marr's guitar that is both percussive and melodic. Imagine being professionally defined by the band you were with for a few years in your 20s! Such seemed to be Johnny Marr's fate after The Smiths broke up. Yet this is a story of constant self-discovery and discovery of new forms and music, without denigrating or shortchanging The Smith years, which were great ones. Johnny brings to life the thrilling connections he and Morrissey made once they'd found each other and worked with the kind of inspired complementary partnership of Richards-Jagger and the other great songwriting teams that makes you feel that there might be a God or that music might be God itself with inspiration being that light yet powerful touch that makes all the pieces fall in place after years of struggle. Anyone who has been an artist or writer will recognize and connect with Johnny in his description of those early moments of stumbling into and onto the sound you had always wanted to make without realizing it. Like great poems, a great song is familiar and new at the same time. As Morrissey writes in a much later, post-Smiths song, "Let The Right One In," "You have every right to say, what kept you so long?" (Sorry, Johnny!)

I have read some criticism of Johnny's emphasis on clothes and what he wore. In every city around the world, young working class people express their creativity, their refusal to be stifled and suppressed, their insistence on asserting their individuality, their originality and ability to transform everyday materials through their clothes. This was true in the 1970s punk world I lived in, the 1980s hiphop world, in Lagos, in Japan -- clothes are the art form of young people without money, without a government-sanctioned, society-encouraged voice, the way to be seen, to be heard, and yes, to be admired as beautiful young people should be celebrated and admired. And for Johnny Marr and the girl who would become his wife, Angie, clothes and the way they transformed and wore them became means for being seen and heard that led to their lives as artists.

This book is also about Johnny's ability to grow and evolve as a person -- all the while remaining the person of integrity, kindness and love of music he has always been. That he remains married to the girl he fell in love with at first sight and helped forge a life with as a teenager -- well, in these sometimes dark days, I will always love a great love story. More love, less hate, more music, more openness, more growth, more pride without arrogance, appreciation for the creativity and art of others, hard work as the condition in which inspiration makes itself known: this is what "Set The Boy Free" is really about. I am so glad Johnny Marr not only wrote it, but read it.