• Coffin, Scarcely Used

  • A Flaxborough Mystery, Book 1
  • By: Colin Watson
  • Narrated by: Simon Shepherd
  • Length: 6 hrs and 35 mins
  • 3.9 out of 5 stars (110 ratings)

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Coffin, Scarcely Used  By  cover art

Coffin, Scarcely Used

By: Colin Watson
Narrated by: Simon Shepherd
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Publisher's summary

In the respectable seaside town of Flaxborough, the equally respectable councillor Harold Carobleat is laid to rest. Cause of death: pneumonia.

But he is scarcely cold in his coffin before Detective Inspector Purbright, affable and annoyingly polite, must turn out again to examine the death of Carobleat's neighbour, Marcus Gwill, former prop. of the local rag, the Citizen.

This time it looks like foul play, unless a surfeit of marshmallows had led the late and rather unlamented Mr Gwill to commit suicide by electrocution. ('Power without responsibility', murmurs Purbright.) How were the dead men connected, both to each other and to a small but select band of other town worthies? Purbright becomes intrigued by a stream of advertisements Gwill was putting in the Citizen, for some very oddly named antique items....

Witty and a little wicked, Colin Watson's tales offer a mordantly entertaining cast of characters and laugh-out-loud wordplay.

©2018 Colin Watson (P)2019 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about Coffin, Scarcely Used

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  • ch
  • 06-25-23

I had a good nap while listening to this book.

Fairly difficult to follow if you’re from my side of the Atlantic. Too much stream of consciousness, combined with the dry Brit wit and plummy verbosity.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Well written and amusing

Great story with lots of interesting characters and twists. Don’t understand the negative reviews. Not soapy or predictable. Well narrated.

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1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Carefully Crafted Puzzle

I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery. Unlike another reviewer, I thought the narrator did a very fine job. I can't imagine what she expected, but I believe Shepherd was a perfect choice to read this book.

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4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent, more please!

Please acquire the rest of the Flaxborough mysteries series so that I can buy them. I love the author's sense of fun as he creates intriguing plots and characters. However, the wry observations on human behavior and hilarious internal thoughts and the dialog are just wonderful. These mysteries are so entertaining and Simon Shepherd is the perfect narrator for them, More please!

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3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Couldn't get into it

Should've been a contender, but I had trouble following the story. By the end, I still had no real idea of the characters, nor exactly what had happened. It wasn't a bad, or dull, book; just never got an traction. Will try another to see whether that works better as the writing itself, and narration, were fine.

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2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Hard to follow

I was really hoping to enjoy this story as the plot sounded very interesting but I had such a difficult time following the story. There were many times that I had to rewind and listen again for some of the details. The whole experience was not very enjoyable. There also was not enough of a distinction in the narrator’s voice when switching amongst the various characters. I was often puzzled which character had made statements.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Too many moving parts

I have to agree with the other reviews which note that the story was (more often than not) a challenge to follow.

I think the principle issue was the number of primary and secondary characters and the narrator’s inability to use his voice to differentiate between them (even when the gender differed).

This is the first audiobook where I felt it may have been better if I had read the kindle version. :-/

There are some snarky witticisms that can be caught if the listener is closely following.

This was my second time listening as I needed some background “noise” to work by and didn’t want to be distracted by listening to music.

I’m going to download the second book in the series and hope the experience is better.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Perfect for Catherine Aird and Dorothy Sayers fans

I haven't researched this author yet, but this is a story the equal of those of the Golden Age of Mystery -- fans of the beloved Catherine Aird (Sloan and Crosby series) and Dorothy Sayers (Lord Peter Wimsey series) and Ngaio Marsh (detective series) will enjoy this novel. This novel is for people who like intellectual mysteries, who enjoy puzzles, who like the well crafted tongue in cheek wit of British mysteries of the 1930's thru 1970's … I am very much hoping this author has written many more, as I've already collected all of the Airds, Sayers, Marsh, Nero Wolfe (Rex Stout), and other golden age writers. If those novels run to your taste also, and you can tolerate a well crafted slice of life romance with complications, then I recommend Georgette Heyer to you … try The Reluctant Widow first , it's very amusing.

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