That Nelda Roundheels had been murdered would have been of little interest to anyone - except that her body turned up in the bishop of Winchester's bedchamber with a letter to the bishop, from the king's most important enemy, rolled up in her breastband. The bishop and his knight, Sir Bellamy of Itchen, realize immediately that the purpose of putting the body in Winchester's bedchamber is to embarrass and discredit the bishop. And the reason for this attack on Winchester is his calling of a convocation to chastise the king for acting high-handedly against the bishop of Salisbury. Had the king himself ordered this outrage? Had the king's favorite, Waleran de Meulan, ordered it? Unfortunately the answer is not so simple to find; there are many other noblemen who want the king's favor and might attack Winchester to get it.
To save Winchester's reputation it is urgently necessary to discover who killed the woman and who placed her in Winchester's bedchamber. Bell, to his mingled joy and distress, is ordered to ask Magdalene la Batarde, whoremistress of the Old Priory Guesthouse, once his lover but now estranged, to help him solve the mystery.
©2006 Roberta Gellis (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
Such a shame the narrator has changed. It spoiled my enjoyment of the story.
I find her cadence annoying and condescending.
Sorry Susan but your long winded rolls of the tongue for most characters. Being use to the personality and voices and ways and now you decide to spoil the 4th book, not sure I can stand this voice too long.... Sorry barry
"Great book. A real shame about the narrator."
Sadly, no, the print edition is much better. This is a wonderful story - much more involving that the first three books. (As hard as that is to believe! The first three were amazing!) The narrator made this recording painful.
I would have to re-read the book. Thinking back at the recording I've just finished, I keep grinding my teeth at the painful "personality" the reader tried to give the characters, and can't get past them. I think perhaps the early battle scene where Bel protects the Bishop?
Her narration was sing-song. Her characterizations were massively irritating. The Bishop always snarled. Bel always hissed and drawled. Magdalene sounded continuously air-headed. Diot sounded like a back alley tough. Although everyone was "speaking" French, one character had an affected French accent. Right up until the narrator forgot who was talking, then the wrong painful "voice" said the next line which didn't belong to them.
A lighthearted bit of slap and tickle is a lot of fun - right up until someone steals the state secrets.
"My First Audible Return...."
The narrator was horrible - I don't believe she had read/listened to any of the earlier works. She made Madelaine sound simpering and stupid. I couldn't get past the first few chapters.
Didn't understand the characters - completely distracting
Miss May did a wonderful job with the earlier books - I encourage the publisher to record this one again...
"I miss Nadia May's reading"
Good story but this narrator is too sing-song-y for my taste. Every sentence seems to have the same rhythm, the same inflection. It's soporific and makes it very hard to follow the actual story line.
"Story engaging; Performance Horrible!!!"
In terms of the story, among the better ones. I have long enjoyed this series. But the performance was terrible! The only reason I listened to the end was because I am a Roberta Gellis fan.
Characterization of different voices, different genders. At points I actually muted because I simply could not stand her reading and characterizations.
Don't employ Susan Duerden!
I will NOT ever listen to another book by this reader....
"Narration spoiled the enjoyment of the book"
I would not. The narration was very poor and detracted from the story.
The mystery was well crafted and the outcome was not immediately evident. I am tiring of the angst filled relationship between the Bell and Magdalene. The series is becoming a bit too much of a romance for my tastes.
She has very little range in her characterizations. Magdalene sounds breathy and simpering rather than the strong, confident character that is written. Also, she and Diot sound so much alike it is difficult to tell them apart. Although written as childlike, her Ella is a caricature of a little girl voice and it is actually disturbing to listen to her delight in her profession. The Bishop of Winchester sounds like Snidely Whiplash. Suffice it to say, I will not listen to any more books with this narrator.
"Deserves more credit than it's getting"
I grabbed CHAINS OF FOLLY as soon as I saw it was available, in spite of the beating the new reader was taking from listeners. The Magdalene la Batarde series is a delight for medieval mystery lovers, and CHAINS OF FOLLY is no exception. I wish Gellis had continued the series after this.
It is the rare reader who can produce both male and female voices faithfully, and this reader's voice is especially high. She shouldn't even try to sound male. The more successful strategy is to create the character by temperament, not timbre. However, her comprehension of the author's intention seems superior.
"Still worth the listen."
I do love Roberta Gellis, so I bought this despite the negative review about the narration. It's not Susan Duerden's best, but I found that it improved as it went along and I did enjoy it.
"Don't buy this one!"
Despite the narrator's sing-song reading through much of the story, the story carried itself fairly well until the critical moment of The Big Fight, where there was a major part of the action missing from the recording! (Part 2, 4:14:36). Were there pages missing from the book itself or did the person overseeing the recording nod off?
"So they changed the narrator....big deal"
Never saw print version
Every one was complaining about her narration. I've listened to her narrate several other books and she did a really good job. After Nadia May who narrates at a slower pace, it does take a while to get used to Ms Duerden. I slowed my audio by 1/4 and it was much more enjoyable for me. The story was good and sometimes you have to let go and get on. I've listened to series where they changed the narrator. If the story is good and the narrator is decent as it was in this case.....get past it people. If you can't change the speed on your portable device, maybe you should look into getting one you can do that with. It realy helps with many Audible stories.
I almost did, listened Friday until the last 7 chapters and did the rest on Saturday.
People should listen to the free listen before they purchase......If I don't know the narrator I always do that. Because I can adjust the speed of the play back I find that many narrators that usually speak to quickly, or have a too high voice if I slow it down by 1/4 it still sounds natural and makes a big difference to the quality of sound.
"Another whodunnit in medieval London"
murder mystrery or practical joke?
Sir Bellamy was my favorite character because I enjoy watching him struggle to reconcile his desire for Magdaline with the knowledge of how she supports herself.
Actually, not much. her main virtue is her authentic middle class British accent. Her delivery was monotonous. She has a narrow range of emotions to bring to her narration.
Join Magdalene la Batarde in medieval London and solve another whodunnit.
Ms. Gellis needs to widen the scope of her research on this historical period so that she can offer a fuller view of medieval life. She spends too much time on the aquisition of meals and expalining the legal and spiritual status of prostitutes in this period of history. Her books are short enough that I feel her editor could easily eliminate several references with no detriment to the storyline. Adding more details and vignettes about court, family and relgious life would be welcome additions to her narrative. If she could add a little more accurate historic detail (e.g. the lute is a rennaisance instrument a few centuries to the future), she could bring medieval London to life.
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