Major Harry Maxim is drawn into the shadowy and deadly world of East-West intrigue. A deserting English corporal, a cabinet convulsion in East Germany, a double murder in a small West German town, a widowed piano teacher in Yorkshire: they're all somehow related by a deep, dark secret from the past. And it's up to Harry Maxim to uncover the secret-before it's too late.
Gavin Lyall (1932-2003) lived in Hampstead and enjoyed sailing on the Thames in his motor cruiser. From 1959 to 1962 he was a newspaper reporter and the aviation correspondent for the Sunday Times. His first novel, The Wrong Side of the Sky, was published in 1961, drawing from his personal experiences in the Libyan Desert and in Greece. Lyall left journalism in 1963 to become a full-time author, writing 17 novels before his death in 2003.
How could the performance have been better?
This was one of the worst audio readings I have heard. It is clearly inappropriate to have an American reading a story that is set in Britain with British characters, as this inevitably jars especially when place names are mispronounced. However, even worse is that the story is read with a 'Vincent Price horror' tone and delivery that is totally at odds with the story.
Do you think The Conduct of Major Maxim needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?
It already has a follow up
Any additional comments?
Not the best of Gavin Lyall's books, but it is a short, brisk thriller
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Brilliant story - wanted to replace my old often-listened-to chewed up cassette tapes with CDs but it's never been available in that format. So I was pleased to find it at last on Audible - but oh dear! They've changed the reader!
It's an ENGLISH STORY! The British Secret Service and Westminster and the Corridors of Power. So they've got an American to do it!!! He'd be perfectly good for a James Lee Burke, Lee Child or a Tom Clancy, but NOT this.
Please, please, please, replace the reader with the original Robin Browne version, or at least make the original available too!
The story is densely and intelligently plotted, with a wonderful turn of phrase and a dry wit, subtle and elegant. It makes more famous spy characters look like a Sumo Wrestler. But so much is lost in this version. The reader valiantly attempts after a while to employ an approximation of an English accent, but with so many of the characters - especially the Cockney ones, it just doesn't work.
Sorry Clinton, not getting at you, it's not your fault. But someone has made a very wrong choice and it's done the excellent Gavin Lyall no favours.