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A Pleasure and a Calling Audiobook

A Pleasure and a Calling: A Novel

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Publisher's Summary

In the tradition of Patricia Highsmith's Tom Ripley novels comes a deliciously unsettling, darkly funny novel about a man who quietly spies on the private lives of his neighbors.

You won't remember Mr. Heming. He was the estate agent who showed you around your comfortable home, suggested a financial package, negotiated a price with the owner, and called you with the good news. The less good news is that, all these years later, he still has the key. That's absurd, you laugh. Of all the many hundreds of houses he has sold, why would he still have the key to mine? The answer is; he has the keys to them all.

William Heming's most at home in a stranger's private things. He makes it his business to know all their secrets, and how they arrange their lives. His every pleasure is in his leafy community. He loves and knows every inch of it, feels nurtured by it, and would defend it - perhaps not with his life but if it came to it, with yours. Things begin to change when Mr. Hemings' obsession shifts from many people to one, and then a dead body winds up in someone's garden. For a man who is used to going unremarked, Mr. Heming's finds his natural routine becomes uncomfortably interrupted.

©2014 Phil Hogan (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved. Produced by arrangement with Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (100 )
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3.8 (89 )
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4.2 (89 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Janice Sugar Land, TX, United States 02-05-15
    Janice Sugar Land, TX, United States 02-05-15 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Invisible Man"

    I enjoyed this selection as a refreshing change from the myriad police procedurals and crime thrillers that recycle the same old characters and the same old plots. William Heming is a true original, remaining completely invisible as he indulges his obsession to exist within the lives of those to whom he has sold homes – searching their photo albums, eating their food, sometimes even creating secret nesting places where he can hide and observe. Sinister and decidedly creepy, there is also surprising and welcome humor as Heming takes care of his community by dishing out his own style of justice to those who are less than model citizens. He cultivates an affable, easygoing but forgettable personality to maintain his invisibility, and it’s easy to be charmed by this façade. But through his first person perspective he reveals the darker side of himself. The flashback sections of his childhood were the most riveting for me, revealing the building of a sociopath through his own eyes – with a few convenient omissions he may or may not remember. This reminds me of the kind of stories seen on the old Alfred Hitchcock Hour – not gory or violent, but seriously twisted and impossible to look away.

    21 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    EJJ 03-04-15
    EJJ 03-04-15
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    "Very Creepy and Entertaining"

    Creepy story, but the creepiest character is the one you'll like best. Excellent narration perfect for the tale. Very well done.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Justin Spears Kitts Hill, Ohio United States 01-24-15
    Justin Spears Kitts Hill, Ohio United States 01-24-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Great read with an amazing narrator."

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The main character is definitely quite eccentric, but that is what makes this such a good listen. The narrator makes this an absolute pleasure to listen to.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Malena United States 05-14-15
    Malena United States 05-14-15 Member Since 2011
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    "Fun and creepy!"

    Loved this book. These "unreliable narrator" books are popular right now, for a reason. It's not so much that Mr. Heming isn't truthful, he just forgets to add some important details when relating the story.
    Lots of fun twists.
    This reader gave Heming the right attitude and style.
    I'm looking forward to Phil Hogan's next book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ruth Bain 11-02-16
    Ruth Bain 11-02-16
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    "An unpleasant "calling""

    Decent narration but an unpleasant story. Lots of twists, but after i finished I was left feeling that the story was rather pointless.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    robin PENNINGTON, NJ, United States 07-31-16
    robin PENNINGTON, NJ, United States 07-31-16 Member Since 2013
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    "Change your locks before reading this book!"
    If you could sum up A Pleasure and a Calling in three words, what would they be?

    Wonderfully creepy story!


    What other book might you compare A Pleasure and a Calling to and why?

    Because of the unique central character, Mr. Heming, this novel is unlike any other within this genre that I have encountered. He is both sociopath and altruist. He lives quietly in the shadows, preferring anonymity as he persues his passion for duplicating the house keys of his real estate clients. What he does with the keys, as well as the consequences of his behavior, are both unexpected and intriquing.


    What does Michael Page bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Michael Page is a talented narrator. He accentuates the subtle humor of the author, as well as the disturbing content of this work in ways that would not likely be duplicated by only reading the novel.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    When was the last time you changed your locks?


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurie A. Bobskill 01-15-15
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    "A guilty pleasure!"
    Would you listen to A Pleasure and a Calling again? Why?

    I rarely listen to a book twice, but I could make an exception for a book this droll and convoluted.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Mr. Heming, of course. Despite his horrific behavior he has enough of the self-deprecatory that it's difficult not to cheer him on.


    Have you listened to any of Michael Page’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not. But I will look for his narrations henceforth!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Had I started earlier in the day I might have. But it was fun to have the conclusion to look forward to this morning.


    Any additional comments?

    I'll have to see what else Phil Hogan has written. I'm sad to see that this title is a one-off on Audible. And I almost didn't sample it, funny enough, because I thought it was about golf. And in a way it was!

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura 01-24-15
    Laura 01-24-15
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    "don't waste your time"

    have read many murder mysteries with much better plot lines, dull!
    don't bother using a credit on this one , boring

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    TyrannosaurusRix 09-11-17 Member Since 2017
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    "O.C.D. meets psychopathy"
    If you could sum up A Pleasure and a Calling in three words, what would they be?

    Just delightfully creepy


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    Herrick, in his mind the smartest bloke in town, very nearly trips himself up several times with the police. But he just keeps scrambling and orchestrating new evidence to keep himself clear. You know he must eventually be caught, though not necessarily in this book, because he simply cannot stop engaging in his hobby. And more to the point, he sees nothing particularly wrong with what he's doing.


    What does Michael Page bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I love anything narrated by a Brit. And the nonchalant self-justification of the main character, as well as the kittenish menace of Zoe (who really has no idea whom she is messing with here) are perfectly portrayed.


    Any additional comments?

    Mr. Herrick loves from afar, and only wants to maintain the civility and good order of his quaint English village. And who hasn't fantasized about exacting petty revenge on some jerk for their arrogant or thoughtless behavior? Send them a dozen pizza deliveries in an evening; turn off their public utilities; change their address at the post office, deposit dog poo on their heart rug, etc. Harmless payback - mostly. But some acts of revenge spread ripples of unintended consequences. Fortunately for our protagonist these are acceptable elements of the game and never trigger a twinge of conscience. See what you made me do to you? One extreme act leads to further excesses and coverups, and our antihero seems to glide right through police inquiries.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Vilas Grulee 09-15-15
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    "A flawless gem!"
    Would you listen to A Pleasure and a Calling again? Why?

    Yes. This unique and nuanced novel will surely delight me again even though I know the ending. The first person narration is perfectly performed. I loved the amusingly creepy protagonist.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Pleasure and a Calling?

    I won't say as I don't want to be a spoiler. But there are many. This book is so is perfectly crafted that the story moves forward rythmically. I couldn't stop listening.


    Which character – as performed by Michael Page – was your favorite?

    Mr. Heming, of course.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I laughed frequently.


    Any additional comments?

    This would no doubt be a good read but the narrator was so perfect that the theatrical dimension he adds to this audio book makes it that much more special.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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