• Chantecoq and the Mystery of the Blue Train

  • The Further Exploits of Chantecoq, Book 1
  • By: Arthur Bernede
  • Narrated by: Andrew Lawston
  • Length: 6 hrs and 30 mins
  • 3.6 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

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Chantecoq and the Mystery of the Blue Train

By: Arthur Bernede
Narrated by: Andrew Lawston
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Publisher's Summary

In 1920s' Paris, the French king of detectives takes on a new batch of baffling cases in a series of traditional crime adventure thrillers.

Murder! 

When the Count de Roscanvel's body is found on the railway tracks, shot through the heart then hit by the Blue Train from Paris to Marseille, police accuse France's top young novelist and the count's beautiful wife is suspected of complicity. 

Harassed by the police and shunned by her family, there's only one place Countess de Roscanvel can turn to: a small house in Paris on Avenue de Verzy, home to...

Chantecoq, king of detectives, master of disguise.

With the help of his wily secretary Météor, intrepid daughter Colette, and star reporter son-in-law Jacques Bellegarde, Chantecoq finds himself caught in a race against time to save an innocent man and to restore the countess' honour. 

As an enigmatic former client returns to haunt France's greatest detective and a masked man stalks the Countess de Roscanvel, can Chantecoq solve the Mystery of the Blue Train? 

First published in France in 1929 (as Le Mystère du Train Bleu), and never before translated into English, this book is part of the Further Exploits of Chantecoq series, which sees the secret agent and expert spy catcher of Chantecoq and the Aubry Affair reborn as the greatest private detective of his age.

©2019 Andrew Lawston (P)2021 Andrew Lawston

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  • 05-24-21
Listener received this title free

Introducing the king of detectives

I received a free copy from the translator, because he's an awesome person. I promised a review, but if it's good it's because the book deserves it :)

First things first: is it very weird to listen to a book with a narrator you know. Especially as I haven't actually spoken to him for years (because Facebook).

This is a good old fashioned detective story. More like Sherlock Holmes than Hercule Poirot, but like both, boy does Chantecoq have a ego! It felt like he definitely needed to keep reminding us that he is the King of Detectives, when he could have shown us how brilliant he is instead. But I did like the cast of characters and hope that the next book as more of the understatedly competent Colette (Chantecoq's daughter)

The mystery kept me engaged, I won't spoiler the details, but I will say that 95% of it is pretty predicable, the final plot twist did take me by surprise. Thinking back over the course of the story, there are sufficient "clues" left that I guess its just my lack of brain power that didn't spot it. Or I was lulled into a false sense of "oh, it's pretty obvious" . It definitely falls into the "cosy mystery" category still though

Translation: The story flowed well, and there were enough French bits left in (e.g. M. Chantecoq, la belle countess) to give it the right Parisian vibe. I did struggle with some of the written clues, but I don't particularly cope well with written clues in an audio book anyway.

Audio book: Less noticeable on earphones, but definitely noticeable on turning the volume up on speakers there is a definite "hiss" and white noise present in the background. I guess that's because this was recorded during during lockdown? The narration was pretty good - lots of distinct accents and tones to distinguish characters. However, he does sometimes drop back into the "default" voice occasionally. But the Brummie accent one of the gendarmes had made me laugh

Looking forward to the next mystery