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Bats in the Belfry

A London Mystery
Narrated by: David Thorpe
Series: Robert MacDonald, Book 13
Length: 8 hrs and 36 mins
4 out of 5 stars (34 ratings)

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Summary

Bruce Attleton dazzled London’s literary scene with his first two novels, but his early promise did not bear fruit. His wife, Sybilla, is a glittering actress, unforgiving of Bruce’s failure, and the couple lead separate lives in their house at Regent’s Park. 

When Bruce is called away on a sudden trip to Paris, he vanishes completely until his suitcase and passport are found in a sinister artist’s studio, the Belfry, in a crumbling house in Notting Hill, and Inspector Macdonald must uncover Bruce’s secrets. 

This intricate mystery from a classic writer is set in a superbly evoked London of the 1930s.

©2018 Estate of E.C.R. Lorac (P)2018 Isis Publishing Ltd

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Old fashioned whodunnit

If you like your murder mysteries in the Agatha Christie mould, then this is for you. No particular depth to the characters, who seem two-dimensional stereotypes, but there are enough twists to keep your attention. A few non-PC turns of phrase, but that was the style of the day. I thought I'd guessed the ending from quite a way back, but I was mistaken. So, well done E C R Lorac.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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old fashioned

A quaint style of writing but the good story and supurb narration make it really enjoyable. I recommend this to detective fiction fans.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars

unbelievable story, inappropriate narration

Although many 'classic' detective novels are to a degree unbeleivable, this was ridiculously so. The plot far too convoluted, the characters simply pastiches, and the solution totally ludicrous. I like David Thopre as a narrator usually but here he sounded far far too cheerful and 'chirpy' when describing deaths and mutilations. I listened to the whole thing but only because I had a long drive and nothing else to listen to. Even then I almost just turned it off!! It came on the heels of listening to Edmund Crispin - and the contrast between this silliness and Crispin's well-written and witty Gervase Fenn could not have been greater!!!

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mary B. Wheeler
  • 19-02-19

Jolly Good Mystery

I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery. There were lots of clues, many different suspects and a dandy of a climax. I thought that I had it figured out several times, but then there was another plot twist. By the end of it, I had no idea which one or even several had done it. David Thorpe does his usual, outstanding job as narrator. This is a dandy of a mystery and I highly recommend it.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Ijw
  • 29-05-19

Plot twist. Of course.

Well written and engrossing - until the end when you throw the book at the wall. Author cobbles up convoluted, 'hidden motive' resolution simply to play gotcha.

Could have been excellent study of disfunctional mind in the syle of Columbo - all clues pointed that way. But instead reader is supposed to believe way too many machinations when simple murder would do.

Conclusion: read for the fun of it. Plot moves along swiftly, with minimum of 'who was where when'. Just don't expect a satisfying ending.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Pamela
  • 10-08-19

Deftly woven, Perfectly narrated

ECR Lorac has written a mystery as intricately twisted around itself as any I have ever read. All the clues are in the hands of the reader but they are obscured by a blizzard of other possibilities. I was deeply invested, throughout, in trying to avoid the many logical yet false trails presented. Lorac kept me guessing and I prize that in a mystery writer.

David Thorpe’s narration was appropriate throughout. He was subtle and prioritized first rate storytelling over an unnecessarily dramatic reading. His choice was perfect for this book.