In the first book in the Nigel Strangeways classic crime series, an obnoxious schoolboy is found dead at his school Sports Day. Can amateur detective Nigel Strangeways help find the killer?
©2012 Nicholas Blake (P)2012 Audible Ltd
Not really, because I wasn't altogether happy with all aspects of the narrator's performance. Nicholas Blake/Cecil Day-Lewis was a donnish crime-writer in the Sayers/Crispin mould. His literary approach calls for a more classically-educated reader than Kris Dyer, who mispronounced many references which he could easily have verified on the internet.
Strangeways himself, I always enjoy this kind of learned eccentric with buffoonish tendencies.
I've heard him reading the third Strangeways novel, There's Trouble Brewing. He does a much better job in A Question of Proof. His strength is in mimicking regional accents, so he does a great job on the dialogue. However, he seems to have had the same vocal training as Princess Diana - i.e. he breaks every phrase and sentence into chunks of three or four words, which makes his delivery jerky and under-inflected. Question of Proof has lots of dialogue, so is not spoilt by this mannerism; but the other book has lengthy monologues from the hero, which become very tedious thanks to this mosaic-like narration.
Frequent laughter throughout, much of it from the belly.
Given that they are paid professionals, I wish narrators would take more trouble over easily-checked details of pronunciation, foreign phrases, etc. Thanks, however, to Kris Dyer for supplying a treasurable blooper - the 'crème passionelle'.
"Think I'll read this in print"
This was a book that I thought I'd enjoy (and I still think that). But I had a lot of difficulty listening to it. The premise is interesting--a murder at a private school, lovers who early on look vulnerable to being suspected...but that was as far as I got.
I usually finish most books, even if they are not as good as I had hoped. But this narrator was very exasperating. At times he would pause for breath several times within a sentence--leaving the listener with a choppy experience of the narrative, and usually he read too fast--leaving me feeling so frustrated--backing it up to have to listen to an extremely uncomfortable delivery all over again.
But I want to say that oddly, he had surprising interludes where he read beautifully--he was especially brilliant with voices of certain characters--capturing the nuances of speech of snobby intellectuals perfectly! I thought that his talent there would make it okay to listen to the rest, but alas, I finally just gave up. I do want to finish the book--I think it will be very good in the written form. So I'm going to find the book and just read it.
"Almost unlistenable, but great Classic"
Nigel Strangeways! I find him amusing and entertaining. This was the first and we learn the snipe was always a prodigy from a young age. Blake's characters are pleasingly eccentric, and well- representative of their classes' stereotypes. Golden age mysteries!!!
His voice was OK but some insane director/producer had him read in a very annoying, stilted manner with oddly placed hesitations. I've not ever heard the like before even after listening to over 2000 audible books.
I have persevered listening to this classic series with long gaps in between books. I have to wait for my TMJ flare-up to abate. I need to be able to grit my teeth throughout! The stories are good, some more than others as in any series and worth the downsides.
"Not worth the cost."
Characters were silly, story was silly and I really thought the detective should have taken up another career.
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