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Mark H

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Bold Venture Starring Humphrey Bogart & Lauren Bacall cover art

Great stars but not great radio

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

Reviewed: 06-04-18

I am a fan of the films of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall and it was great to hear their voices, but the storylines they were fed in this series really have not stood the test of time. You get a lot of audio time for your money, but it was wasted on me as I shelved this book after listening to just a couple of the tales.

1 person found this helpful

Enjoyable, accessible, crime mysteries

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

Reviewed: 06-04-18

This was my first taste of the Cherringham series and I enjoyed the three stories that this book contained. They seemed to me to be ideal for a television series that would entertain but not offend. And Neil Dudgen does a great job in bringing the characters to life. If you like Lovejoy and Rosemary & Thyme then you will enjoy this.

A terrific 'who done it' of its kind

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

Reviewed: 25-03-18

This audio book was bought to life by the narrator, Cornelius Garrett, who gave voice to a plethora of characters in a consistent, entertaining and distinct manner. Top marks for this voice actor. The book itself is of the Lord Peter Whimsey style, although with a policeman rather than a gentlemen detective solving the riddle. It it necessary to suspend disbelieve in the same way that you would with a Dorothy L Sayers novel and I would say that this is of a comparable quality to DLS in all respects: story, characterization and page-turning prose. Top quality light entertainment. I would recommend it to anyone who likes stylish murder mysteries with a good plot, lots of red-herrings, several twists and turns, but without blood and gore.

A lifestyle choice shared by a witty author

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

Reviewed: 22-01-18

I was unsure what to expect from this book, but the reviews were good so I took a chance. I am pleased that I did. The book is a day-by-day account of one year in the life of book shop owner Shaun Bythell, who lives and works in the Scottish ‘book town’ of Wigtown. It sounds as if it could be bookish or boring, but it is neither. Whist the backdrop is the second hand book business, it is really an account of the characters that Shaun interacts with, which includes customers, colleagues, friends, family and those from whom he buys his stock of books. The book captures life in a similar way to Alan Bennet, but perhaps with a rather more judgemental and droll description of some characters. This is especially true of his assistant Nicky, whose unconventional lifestyle, behaviours, values and quick wit significantly enrich the book. Shaun’s generosity of spirit, his socially inclusive perspective and his outgoing nature that has cultivated many friendships also means that he has a lot going on with which to fill a diary.

Several times, Shaun rails against Amazon.com and the negative impact it has had on the book trade (from a sellers perspective), which I am sure is true. However, it is a little ironic to be listening to his views on an audible book, sold by Audible ( an Amazon company).

Finally, I want to highly commend the narrator, Robin Laing, whose interpretation and delivery were outstanding. His Fife accent for Nicky was ideal.

7 people found this helpful

Good but not great

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

Reviewed: 02-01-18

I am a fan of Nevil Shute because he is a master story teller. However, although it was very good, this book did not really tick all of the boxes for me. There were two issues. First, the story was a little to prosaic for me, which is really more a reflection of my own tastes than a criticism of the author, as I normally go for who-done-it mysteries that require more suspension of disbelief than necessary with this book. Second, I found the changes between the two central characters were sometimes a bit 'clunky'. Nevertheless it was a well written book and if you like 'realistic' stories that follow peoples lives and their experiences. And if you are interested in books that give sharp insights into the values and social norms during the first half of the 20th century then you will probably like this.

1 person found this helpful

What wonderful archaic prose

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

Reviewed: 18-12-17

I'm not an angler, but I thought I would buy this as it has such good reviews. I'm really pleased that I did. The characters in the book are played by superb actors who bring the story to life. The manners and rich expressions of the time are a joy to listen to. And the details of how to catch, prepare and eat the fish were quite a surprise. I suspect that all of the advice was given in good faith by the author and it may be completely true and accurate, but it is from a time when 'facts' were not quite as tested as they are today. So some descriptions can only be described as wondrous. If you enjoy the prose from a bygone era and either like angling, or are prepared to forgo interest in the subject to bathe in the prose then give this book a try.

1 person found this helpful

Story telling at its best

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

Reviewed: 09-09-17

This mid-twentieth century novel was written by a popular, successful and prolific author and it has passed the test of time. It is a story that takes place during World War II and its characters are mainly a small heroic group of men who, in spite of the dangers, embrace their duty to fight the Nazis. What lifts it above a 'pot boiler' war story is the quality of the writing, the coherence of the plot and the back stories of the main characters that allows you to empathise with their situations. By some standards it might be thought of a little slow, but I suspect that its pace reflects the realities of what living through WWII was like. Also, the sensibilities of the time come through, which I think added to the verisimilitude of the story.

I thought that this book was a real page turner and I had to wait for a chapter to end and quickly stop my MP3 player in order to break away from it. It is a really well written story. If you have read (and liked) 'A Town called Alice', by the same author then you will probably enjoy this book.

Finally, the narrator does a terrific job in portraying the many characters and bringing them to life. His interpretations were consistent and realistic. I will definitely check out some of his other audible performances.

Two for the price of one

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

Reviewed: 22-08-17

This is a very well written book that is easy on the ear. The characters are well drawn and believable. It weaves two different murder stories together and the use of two narrators makes it easy to differentiate the stories. If you enjoy murder mysteries that reflect an Agatha Christie type approach of puzzle solving then you should enjoy this. Personally, I would have preferred the two stories to have been separate books, which has influenced my rating. Finally, both narrators did a really good job in making the story come alive.

Sci-fi page turner

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

Reviewed: 05-08-17

This talking book is an excellent Sci-fi novel. Basically, it is a well written story that has been expertly interpreted by a team of very talented voice actors. The story is set in the world as we know it, rather than an alien environment, and so it is easy to suspend disbelief and to become engaged with the characters and their situation. The book is presented as a selection of audio files, which worked very well. This format is a bit unusual, but I thought that it was really appropriate, and for me it did enhance the listening experience.

This book deserves its high rating, although there were a few aspects of the novel that were a little under par and which make it a very good story, rather than a classic. Also, I understand that there is some interest in turning it into a movie and I think that it could make a great film. It would also make a great short story, or serial for radio, if it was heavily edited. Again, I want to commend the team of actors for great narration that bought the characters and story alive.

Classic adventure story

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

Reviewed: 29-07-17

Kim is a classic, very well written, adventure story and whilst it is undoubtedly dated, it has passed the test of time and is still an entertaining read. The prose and its narration is excellent and the story has twists and turns to keep you interested. If you have seen the Hollywood version then you can expect similar fayre, as the film is a very good interpretation of the book. However, it is a book of its time and it is dominated by male characters, in the way that Sherlock Holmes stories are, so I'm unsure whether it will appeal equally to both sexes. Finally, Sam Dastor definitely gets five stars for his excellent and consistent narration.