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Life is waaaaaay too short

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

Reviewed: 15-05-20

I waded through until about 1.5 hrs from the end, at which point, beginning to give up hope that the book would take a sudden interesting twist, I Googled the ending, and found that, no, it does not. I gave up. I don’t mind inverted mysteries, where you know from the start who did it, and how, and why, as long as I don’t know all of those! Otherwise, where’s the hook? It was just a dull dull plod.

Good but not great

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

Reviewed: 21-04-20

This book is good enough, although it really just goes over old ground covered by previous books on the subject, and doesn’t add anything new. I could have done without the constant “quote unquote”, which was irritating. It was interesting to listen to this during the lockdown, where for the first time for many of us in the UK we are experiencing what food scarcity fears feel like. I am definitely eating much more, which I attributed to stress, but on reflection is definitely due to the restriction on food choices, variety, and fears over restocking. Makes me feel ashamed of having had so much, when around the world people battle with food scarcity constantly. We are so over privileged. If I want a treat, I can drive to the store and choose from hundreds of items, in as much quantity as I want. Usually. Now, things are a little different, and it’s for sure having an impact. Good to see that acknowledged on the authors Instagram page.

Didn’t live up to the hype

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

Reviewed: 20-11-19

I never saw the TV adaptation of this book, maybe that would have made it more enjoyable, I don’t know. I got about halfway through and gave up - I just did not like any of the characters, or feel any sympathy or interest in what happened to them.

1 person found this helpful

Couldn’t stand the narration

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

Reviewed: 08-04-19

This may have turned out to be a good book, I don’t know. I couldn’t get past chapter one; it’s seldom that authors make good narrators, and this is no exception. Over emphatic, over enthusiastic, virtually every word in every sentence is audibly italicised and finished with exclamation! marks!! I found it exhausting and irritating.

Good, bad, and indifferent

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

Reviewed: 03-10-18

I'm generally wary of these "year of" memoirs, which have flooded the book market in the last few years. I've yet to find one that didn't feel gimmicky and insincere, and most of the time, I don't bother with them. But this looked interesting, so I gave it a go. First off, I think it was a mistake to allow the author to narrate the book. It usually is. A professional actress would have brought it far more to life; the author's voice is too flat and sad, which perhaps is appropriate for the tone of the book, but just left me feeling blah. I also didn't like the interjections in her mother's voice. But that's mainly because, as the book progressed, I felt angrier and angrier with the author's parents, particularly the mother. I have no idea if the author is aware of how much of her issues in every field that she tried to address were clearly coming from her upbringing, but it was unpleasantly apparent throughout. Underlined by the actual mother's voice in the narration. It seemed to me that a year of psychotherapy was what was needed, not a twelve month self help project.

Nevertheless, the book was well written, and held my attention. It did share the usual issue of these "year of" memoirs: twisting the results in a very predictable story arc, disaster at the start, a few twists and turns midway through, and a positive outcome at the end. This was slightly exaggerated by the fact that the year was broken down into separate projects for each month; this well worn story arc became much more obvious when it was repeated each month, regardless of the topic. I'm sure a lot of readers expect this, the rags to riches idea, but personally, it makes me distrust the story, and the reality of it all, when it seems that I'm being spun a tale, rather than participating in a real life story.

This all sounds negative, but actually, overall, I enjoyed the book.

10 people found this helpful

Wow, I never knew that Poirot came from Jamaica!!

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

Reviewed: 05-06-18

It's almost (but not quite) worth purchasing this audio book, just for the laugh of hearing Anna Massey murder Poirot's voice. Actually, her character accents are all pretty appalling. Who chose her for this book????

Excellent story, let down by narration

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

Reviewed: 22-05-18

I think I've been spoiled by Hugh Fraser (why hasn't he recorded all of the Christie books?) - David Suchet's narration skills are surprisingly inadequate in comparison - even his Poirot. While he gives a masterly performance of Poirot on film, the voice is somehow wrong on audio format, too mincing, too weak. And his other character voices are truly awful, especially the women.

1 person found this helpful

Agonising Narrator

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

Reviewed: 11-01-18

Why, oh WHY, did the publishers choose this narrator for the wonderful Heyer's detective novels? I was so baffled by her strange pronunciation that I Googled her: she turns out to be Australian, which explains why her British accent is so strangled and weird. She pronounces words in the strangest way: known becomes kno-wan. She mispronounces many expressions: prophesied becomes prophesised, sal volatile as pronounced sal volla-tile.

And the accents!!!!! Where do you start..... The accent of the Scottish policeman in this story reminds me forcibly of Joey's attempt at a Southern accent in Friends ("de Sout will rise again, man!"). It is so atrocious, it varied between practically every possible accent in the world, EXCEPT for Scottish.

I can only assume that narrators like this have not actually been auditioned before being booked, because I don't believe that anyone with a brain could think this is an even adequate attempt at narration, let alone one good enough for customers to purchase.

Plodding

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

Reviewed: 03-12-15

I am a huge fan of Golden Age detective fiction, but I must say, not a fan at all of Freeman Wills Crofts. This is the second of his books that I've listened to, and I found both incredibly slow and tedious. Not helped by the narrator, I think, who plods through the book with the same snail's pace as Inspector French.

4 people found this helpful

Snore........

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

Reviewed: 07-07-15

This book was, at best, ponderous. It's an inverted mystery, ie, we know the villain, method, etc, right from the beginning. The book is in two parts: the committing of the crime, and the very dull police procedure that leads up to the solution. I desperately hoped right up until the end that there would be some redeeming twist in the tale, something to lift it out of the humdrum, but there wasn't. The ending was as flat as the rest of the book.

The narration was bearable but not inspired, with a very slight stop/start effect that did nothing to make the book more lively.

All in all, a real dud.

6 people found this helpful