adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B076FLV3HT
adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B076FLV3HT

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $15.17

Buy for $15.17

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

There were some things about Chief Inspector Wexford's trip to China that he could never have dreamt of: That an old woman would haunt him from one city to the next. That a man would be tragically drowned. Or that, back in England, he would be investigating the murder of one of his fellow tourists.

©2009 Ruth Rendell (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Speaker of Mandarin

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    38
  • 4 Stars
    36
  • 3 Stars
    20
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    3
Performance
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    42
  • 4 Stars
    29
  • 3 Stars
    6
  • 2 Stars
    7
  • 1 Stars
    2
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    31
  • 4 Stars
    27
  • 3 Stars
    21
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Under-appreciated gem of mystery writing

Any additional comments?

This is one of Rendell's very best, in my opinion. Wexford goes on a trip through China. This is the China of the 1980's--tourists have minders and travel conditions are far from luxurious. Wexford experiences the journey almost as a dream. The heat, the long hours on trains, the unfamiliar food, the complete dislocation from his ordinary life, and most of all the repeated glimpses of an old woman with bound feet--combine to create a sense of being in a hallucinatory haze. Back from his journey, he gets involved in a murder connected with one of the people on his tour. Rendell succeeds brilliantly in creating an unforgettable and spellbinding atmosphere.

10 people found this helpful

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

GOOD STORY

This is an interesting story. I enjoyed the mingling of the cultures, and the performance.

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

Quite dated but good suspense

Ruth Rendell was obviously an educated and widely read author, as authors need be. I so enjoy her quotes from esoteric poets and references to other authors, and learn something from each book of hers that I've listened to, which by now is quite a few. It is disappointing, though, when educated people resort to racial epithets, and it's difficult to live in these times and not feel strongly about her casual use of them. I think it's safe to suggest that novelists in whatever genre should assiduously avoid talking about any culture not their own with any kind of disdain. These days, it seems to reveal in the speaker or author a small mind, however many books they might have read.
Still, the book is well done, with a good plot twist that isn't out of left field. I did think that I should have seen it coming.
The performance suffered a bit from unevenness of accents for each of the two main Inspectors, the voices for whom the actor barely changed inflection, cadence, or tone, so it was almost impossible to sort out who was saying what at any point, but luckily there wasn't much conversation between the two men so it didn't ruin the listening experience.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lbr5
  • Lbr5
  • 05-21-21

Very disappointing- a great story poorly read

This is spoilt by the narrator. His tone is monotonous, the delivery rushed and it is impossible to distinguish between characters. Wexford and Burden are indistinguishable.
I’ve listened to all the previous Wexford’s with enjoyment. This was irritating throughout.
I will not purchase another book read by Michael Bryant

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Nicola
  • Nicola
  • 09-22-21

Great plot

Interesting story and characters as usual - but the narrator just didn’t fit my view of Wexford and Burden.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for jullieanne barham
  • jullieanne barham
  • 04-13-22

The worse ever

whilst decorating, I've been listing to all the Wexford books and then I got to this one. I couldn't even get through one chapter. Is it a robot. I'll skip this one

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-12-22

Different reader, same quality

I'm not sure why some reviewers don't like the actor reading this. Sure, it's a bit disorientating when there are at least three different performers reading the available Wexford range; but this was as well done as the rest, merely different.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Juno Sobers
  • Juno Sobers
  • 03-11-22

Not that great

This book was kinda boring actually I struggled to finish it if I had paid for it I would have got a refund

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Freakmandu
  • Freakmandu
  • 03-06-22

awful narrator

Great book, ruined by the narrator who rushed through the narration and halfway through switched the accents of two main characters, got quite confusing since Wexford has had the same lovely burr throughout the series thus far, but suddenly he lost it completely and passed it to Burden.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Berry
  • Berry
  • 01-19-22

Bizzare! Wexford and Burden have swapped accents!

I have listened to every one of Wexford audibles, but I actualIy wasn't inspired to read this because the title put me off! However, this being the only Wexford book remaining that I hadn't listened to, I decided to give it a go. Surprisingly though and inspite of my reticence I actually enjoyed the story, and the beginning being located in China was a welcome and unusual start. HOWEVER, Wexford and Burden seem to have exchanged accents!! Burden is the one with the local dialect and Wexford with the more refined tones. I don't know if the narrator had been told who to cast in which part, but he got this very wrong. Sadly, the narrator has since passed away and this faux pas makes no difference to him - so this is just a heads up to anyone who reads my review.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 01-10-22

Narrator

Another good story. Liked the Chinese setting at the beginning.

Like this narrator, apart from him getting Wexford and Burden’s accents back to front!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Wedgewood
  • Wedgewood
  • 12-29-21

A story in 2 tenuously linked halves

There’s a trip to China at the start of the novel. Ignoring the uncomfortable expression of racial and gender stereotypes that make one wince from time to time it’s hard to understand why this translocation of Wexford. The story could easily have been told without it.
Having said all that, there is a coziness to these stories and Wexford always gets his murderer.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Zilpah
  • Zilpah
  • 12-06-21

Interesting Travelogue Shame about the Plot

I first read this book over 30 years ago and was fascinated by the author’s description of Wexford’s holiday in 1980’s tourist China. This time around I was equally fascinated by the travel but not so impressed with the second part of the story set back in England. Wexford investigates the murder of one of his fellow travellers who coincidentally had lived in his part of the country. The writing was very good but I could not maintain my interest in the story. The regulars were kept in the background and there were too many new characters to keep track of. The narrator was not my favourite, he started off on a clipped monotone like he was reading a news report but he did improve somewhat as it went on - albeit at a cracking pace.