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Em

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  • reviews
  • 8
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  • Dying Fall

  • A Ruth Galloway Investigation
  • By: Elly Griffiths
  • Narrated by: Clare Corbett
  • Length: 10 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 828
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 740
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 735

Shortlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library. Ruth Galloway receives a phone call that bears shocking news. A friend of hers from college, Dan Golding, has been killed in a fire at his Lancashire home. Her shock turns to alarm when she gets a letter from Dan. He has made a discovery that will change archaeology forever but he needs Ruth's advice. Even more alarming, he sounds vulnerable and frightened. DCI Harry Nelson is also rediscovering his past. Up north for a holiday, he meets his former colleague Sandy MacLeod, now at Blackpool CID.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • readers

  • By Margaret on 25-04-13

A potentially good idea not followed through

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 21-06-18

Surprised this particular book in the series was nominated for an award - I enjoyed it but I don't think it stood out from the half-dozen other Ruth Galloway stories I've listened to so far. It was interesting seeing Ruth in new surroundings (and amusing to see Harry Nelson in old ones) but apart from a young detective, an Irish mother and a sweet dog, the new characters and the plot were thin. This is a shame, because the discovery that triggers the story is a humdinger.
Other reviewers have criticised the narrator, comparing her unfavourably with her predecessor. I'm not impressed by either of them - they're both hopeless at voicing male characters (just as there are male narrators who are cringingly bad at voicing women). In a sense, it's unfair to put all the blame on the narrator: they are, after all, only employees of the recording studio. If the management of the studio are so cloth-eared they can't understand the damage their chosen actor is doing to a book, it's time they considered a new career!

  • Thomas Hardy

  • The Short Stories
  • By: Thomas Hardy
  • Narrated by: Nigel Lambert, Eve Karpf
  • Length: 1 hr and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 2

We begin with one of Hardy’s best regarded stories, 'The Fiddler of the Reels'. Here Hardy exposes a supernatural and demonic theme, against a realistic and historical background of the Great Exhibition of 1851 and the first trains. A typical Wessex girl is gripped by the power of music and dance when a lone fiddler casts his spell on her, causing her cloying but plain suitor to leave suddenly for London.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • ENJOYABLE BOOK - MISLEADING TITLE!

  • By Em on 09-04-18

ENJOYABLE BOOK - MISLEADING TITLE!

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

Reviewed: 09-04-18

Would you try another book written by Thomas Hardy or narrated by Nigel Lambert and Eve Karpf ?

Written by Thomas Hardy: yes. I've read or listened to most of his prose and poetry, and am happy to read it again - some of it several times!
Narrated by Lambert and/or Karp: yes, but only if it was a book I wanted to read. They are both good narrators but when it comes down to it who reads a book is secondary to the book itself.

What did you like best about this story?

The Fiddler of the Reels
Hardy's humour. His ear for dialogue. His love of music. The setting of the story at a crucial time in British history, when the railway is accelerating great social changes.
For Conscience' Sake
Hardy's humanity, displayed here by his showing up the unkindness - and idiocy - of the Victorians' obsession with trying to force people to submit to rigid Christian standards of behaviour heedless of how much misery may result, how many potentially happy and useful lives wasted.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The description in The Fiddler of the Reels of the climactic five-handed reel in the inn, a bewitching, exhausting dance that Hardy must have seen (and accompanied on his fiddle) many times over as a youth..

Do you think Thomas Hardy needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No. Hardy has been dead for 90 years, so unless there are any undiscovered sequels among his papers there can be no follow up to these stories. Anyway, they are complete in themselves.

Any additional comments?

The stories make a well contrasted pair. My only (mild) gripe about the book is that it's called 'The Short Stories of Thomas Hardy' when it should called 'Two Short Stories by Thomas Hardy'.

  • Money for Nothing

  • By: P. G. Wodehouse
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Cecil
  • Length: 8 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25

The peaceful slumber of the Worcester village of Rudge-in-the-Vale is about to be rudely disrupted. First there's a bitter feud between peppery Colonel Wyvern and the Squire of Rudge Hall, rich but miserly Lester Carmody. Second, that arch-villain Chimp Twist has opened a health farm - and he and Soapy and Dolly Molloy are planning a fake burglary so Lester can diddle his insurance company.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Appalling reading makes it unlistenable

  • By twigs way on 04-06-14

NOT EXACTLY MONEY4NOTHING, BUT NOT PGW AT HIS BEST

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-04-17

Where does Money for Nothing rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Well, not in the top 50 percent....

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

There are two interesting aspects: first, that the most attractive character is Emily, a Welsh terrier (I'd have welcomed more appearances by her!); second, that possibly for the only time in a Wodehouse story one of the characters has a genuine moment of hate and fury - it was like biting into a meringue and cracking your tooth on a rusty nail.
Less interesting were the book's villains, who were so incompetent as to be fatuous rather than comic.

Have you listened to any of Jonathan Cecil’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Many of them! Although he was born in 1939, right at the end of the true era of Bertie Wooster, Mr Mulliner, Freddie Threepwood and co, his family's upper-class background, his Eton education and his own sense of comic timing made him the perfect Wodehouse narrator. As usual he gave his all to Money for Nothing (hence his five star rating), but there were passages that not even he could make really convincing.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

I wouldn't make a film of it!

Any additional comments?

Don't expect too much of it, and you should find It passes the time amiably enough.

  • Calamity in Kent

  • By: John Rowland
  • Narrated by: Peter Wickham
  • Length: 7 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 15

In the peaceful seaside town of Broadgate, an impossible crime occurs. The operator of the cliff railway locks the empty carriage one evening; when he returns to work next morning, a dead body is locked inside - a man who has been stabbed in the back. Jimmy London, a newspaper reporter, is first on the scene. He is quick on the trail for clues and agrees to pool his knowledge with Inspector Shelley of Scotland Yard, who is holidaying in the area.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • CALAMITY INDEED!

  • By Em on 19-02-17

CALAMITY INDEED!

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

Reviewed: 19-02-17

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Nothing, I'm afraid. Peter Wickham is one of my favourite narrators, the reader of the UK releases of Steven Saylor's marvellous Gordianus novesl (which - hint, hint! - it would be a pleasure to hear again as Audible downloads). But not even he can inject any life into this feeble story.

What was most disappointing about John Rowland’s story?

The story is told by Johnny London, a journalist recuperating from an unspecified illnesss (at least it hadn't been identified by the time I gave up the book). I did wonder if his flabby prose and impoverished vocabulary was the author poking fun at downmarket newspaperese - for example, in the course of the book's first 45 seconds or so, London meets a man who is "acting queerly"; has "something queer, almost grotesque, about his appearance" and is wearing spectacles that add to "the queerness of his appearance". ("Queer" here is, of course, simply a variant of "peculiar" and as such often used by writers such as Agatha Christie and Gladys Mitchell - but used sparingly. But Rowland uses it so often that even if he intended it as a joke it very soon wears thin. A good writer would have recognised that and even if he hadn't his editor should have done.)The friendly relationship between Johnny London and one of the policemen is unconvincing (in her early books, Ngaio Marsh also lumbered her inspector, Roiderick Alleyn with a journalist companion, but sensibly discarded him.)

What aspect of Peter Wickham’s performance might you have changed?

He did his professional best! No blame attaches to him.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment, obviously. I've enjoyed many of the British Library Crime Classic series, and the helpful introductions by Martin Edwards. But even he admits that the explanation for the cliff railway carriage conundrum lacks the ingenuity that should reward the reader of a locked room mystery. I took him at his word and didn't bother to skip through the book to find out what it was.

Any additional comments?

The British Library Crime Classics have lovely, evocative period covers.....but in this case "don't judge a book by its cover" was all too true.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Sinister Intent

  • Lexie Rogers, Book 1
  • By: Karen M. Davis
  • Narrated by: Kate Hosking
  • Length: 12 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2

For eight years Lexie Rogers has been a uniform cop in Sydney's red light district, Kings Cross. Having survived a violent knife attack, she's witnessed far more than most cops her age. Now she's back at work as the newest member of the Bondi Junction detectives' office and ready to start again. One of her first jobs is to execute a search warrant at a bikie clubhouse belonging to one of the two local gangs in the eastern suburbs.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • New girl on the block

  • By Em on 07-10-16

New girl on the block

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-10-16

Characterful heroine debuts in a novel exploring the seedy side of life in New South Wales' capital city (perhaps one day for a change someone will explore the nice side of Sydney - it must have one!). The author is an ex-cop so the book feels authentic and the story is fast and tense. But despite a strong romantic theme it lacks the humanity and humour of Jon Cleary's wonderful Sydney-set Scobie Malone series (only one of which is now available in Audible - shame!).
Unimaginative title, too - there's already 3 or 4 other books with the same title.
Will I be reading more in the series? Maybe, but I don't feel compelled to go straight on to the second book.
Full marks to Kate Hosking, always welcome as a narrator.

Dead Simple cover art
  • Dead Simple

  • DS Roy Grace Mystery, Book 1
  • By: Peter James
  • Narrated by: Tim Bruce
  • Length: 11 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 769
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 497
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 498

Dead simple. It was a harmless stag-night prank. But a few hours later, the groom is left buried in a coffin and the four friends who know where he is are dead.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant!

  • By Keziah on 17-07-08

DEAD SLOW

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

Reviewed: 17-06-15

Having read/listened to all the Inspector Banks novels so far published, I thought I would give the Roy Grace series a try - Peter James has been talked about as being up there with Peter Robinson.
Unfortunately the opening 20 minutes of this, the first Grace book, were so slow and frankly dull I lost the will to continue, despite Tim Bruce's valiant attempts to conjure a decent narration out of a sow's ear.
All I can say is that the subsequent books must have been an improvement on Dead Slow; if they hadn't, the series would have rapidly come to an end. So I may try one of the later ones some day.

  • Death on the Rive Nord

  • By: Adrian Magson
  • Narrated by: Roger May
  • Length: 11 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 5

Picardie, 1963. A truck drops a group of illegal workers by a deserted stretch of canal in the dead of night, desperate travellers in a pipeline, searching for a better life. Days later, one of them surfaces, stabbed to death. For Inspector Lucas Rocco, finding the victim's fellow travellers presents problems. Most Algerian immigrants are welcome, but trawling for any who aren't is a sensitive issue loaded with threats of civil unrest - something which terrifies his bosses in the Ministry.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Slow start like a long fuse

  • By Rogayah on 08-11-18

A SAD DISAPPOINTMENT

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-05-14

Any additional comments?

I enjoyed the first Inspector Rocco novel. Sadly it seems to have been a one-off. I gave up on this one after a few chapters. It is quite simply dull - as dreary as the landscape in which Rocco finds himself. The North African villains are as convincing as the baddies in an early Bond movie. It's perhaps significant that Roger May is an excellent narrator of JIm Kelly's crime novels but here sounds uninvolved with what's going on.

  • The Tractate Middoth

  • By: M. R. James
  • Narrated by: David Suchet
  • Length: 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 199
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 178
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 174

A young librarian receives a request for an obscure Hebrew book from a sinister gentleman, unaware of its contents. Montague Rhodes James was a noted British mediaeval scholar and provost of King's College, Cambridge (1905–1918) and of Eton College (1918–1936). He is best remembered for his ghost stories which are widely regarded as among the finest in English literature.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • not engaging enough

  • By Amazon Customer on 03-01-14

LIGHT ON FRIGHTS, BUT WORTH A LISTEN

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 29-12-13

What did you like best about The Tractate Middoth? What did you like least?

The Tractate Middoth is one of the least scary of M. R. James's tales and it's to David Suchet's credit that he has resisted the temptation to ham it up. His precise, understated delivery ensures that such disquieting moments as the story has do not leap out at the listener but slide insidiously into his or her mind.Only the burst of music at the start of this recording strikes the wrong note. It's neither eerie nor ominous - just irritating!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Misterioso

  • Intercrime, Book 1
  • By: Arne Dahl, Tiina Nunnally (translator)
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 11 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 7

After successfully - but bloodily - dismantling a complicated hostage situation at a bank in the suburbs of Stockholm, Detective Paul Hjelm is faced with the requisite investigation by Internal Affairs. It is a potentially career-ending inquiry, but he is plucked out of it by the National Criminal Police commissioner, who drops him into an elite task force of officers assembled from across the country to find an elusive killer with a sophisticated modus operandi and even more sophisticated tastes.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • PERSEVERE - IT'S WORTH IT !

  • By Em on 12-08-11

PERSEVERE - IT'S WORTH IT !

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-08-11

The impact of Scandinavian crime writing on the English-speaking world, whether in novels or television series such as the incomparable 'Forbrydelsen', means that any newly translated author is going to be judged against fearsomely high standards. Certainly Arne Dahl suffers in comparison with Henkell, Fossum or Lackberg;' Misterioso' combines a rambling plot with passages of such irritatingly obsessive detail that I came near to giving up at the end of the first part. Fortunately weaknesses in the story-telling are offset by the strength of the characters, both major (a disparate group of police officers brought together to track down a serial killer) and minor (including a down-and-out bankrupt body-builder and vodka connoisseur, the hilariously frank, disillusioned wife of a Swedish magnate, a small town police inspector whose hopes of impressing his big city colleagues evaporate when he realises he has overlooked a vital clue, and a physically-wrecked retired soldier with an uncanny understanding of jazz [jazz plays a central part in the book]).
In the end, I was glad I persevered. The plot strands come together in a satisfyingly tense climax that neatly mirrors an earlier, life-changing experience of the leading detective, and as in Henning Mankell's books, we learn much about the stresses placed on Swedish society by an increasingly diverse ethnic population and the country's proximity to the mafia-ravaged satellite states of the old USSR.
And, by the way, the elite club of mystery-reading darts players can safely add 'Misterioso' to the (very) short list of books not to be missed (the other is Ngaio Marsh's 'Death at the Bar' - happily also available from Audible!).

2 of 3 people found this review helpful