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So Much Blood

Narrated by: Simon Brett
Series: Charles Paris, Book 2
Length: 6 hrs and 6 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (58 ratings)

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Summary

Charles Paris returns again, in a fringe show at the Edinburgh Festival, with another nubile girl to provoke him, his accommodating wife to console him and a gory murder to challenge him.

Edinburgh and the Festival are both background and foreground with Charles flitting between a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a ‘mixed-media’ satire, a late-night revue and his own one-man show on Thomas Hood. Then a fading pop star is murdered, there’s a bomb scare in Holyrood Palace and someone makes a suicide leap from the top of the Rock….

©1985 Gareth Owen (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

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

Edinburgh in the festival - all the world's a stage

This novel has aged better than most, or maybe it just seems so to me - I was there in 1974, too; fortunately a student, not a middle-aged roué ( of either gender ) like Charles Paris. The story is full of twists and turns, sometimes even cliffhanging - plenty of high spots in our volcanic city.
Charles of the books is much less cuddly than his Radio 4 avatar as played by Bill Nighy, less witty and more promiscuous, but of course of a previous generation - he'd be 87 by now, assuming his inexplicable taste for a certain nasty blended cooking whisky - wiser drinkers only touch GOOD malts - hadn't destroyed liver, brain and libido.
However, this book did evoke for me the atmosphere and magic of the big E in August. Things change in Edinburgh but the essentials remain.
There is the hideous sexism of the time, less pronounced than in other novels, perhaps because of the eclectic festival situation, and we're spared denigration of LGBT people.

Brett does a reasonable job on Scots accents. A generic music hall voice wouldn't have done for diverse characters - genteel Edinburgh isn't West Coast rural, or Glasgow (genteel or not), or angry young man.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Another winner

As always Charles Paris is a delight. Brett crafts his story with wit and a nod to academia that is engaging. I can never be bored by Paris

3 people found this helpful

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

Not stage struck - more stage battered.

1974, and Maurice, his agent, still not having provided suitable employment, actor Charles Paris accepts an invitation to take his one man show about Thomas Hood to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. In barracks like dogs smelling of perpetual cabbage dinners and surrounded by, mostly, students, the 47 years old actor finds himself witness to an unfortunate death by stabbing in one of the rehearsals. Deemed an accident by most, including, it seemed, the police, Paris was not so sure. Something in the terrified eyes of the victim earlier convinced him this was murder. Time for another Charles Paris investigation.

These humorous theatrical murder mysteries are great fun. Charles himself, a little pathetic but charming long separated but not divorced from his wife, has a definite way with the ladies, a long, if not overly successful, career as a profession actor and a propensity for finding himself in uncomfortable situations. Many of the books have been cleverly adapted as plays for BBC radio with Bill Nighy playing the lead role superbly. This edition is the unabridged novel, read by the author, Simon Brett. Although skillfully performed with the numerous characters voiced distinctly and individually, and the text clear and we'll intoned, frequent very audible intakes of breath during sentence narration is annoying. Nevertheless, this is an enjoyable, lightweight but intriguing mystery filled with the background of amateur theatre and some marvellous characters.

Each chapter is headed by a quote from one of Thomas Hood's mostly terrible punning poems, echoing Charles' surprisingly successful one man show.
Recommended.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

I got confused with all the different characters

Simon Brett is brilliant, both as a narrator and writer, but with this one, I think he's forgotten that the rest of us aren't ….
So what this needs is a cast list. I got totally confused with who is who and what is what and who has motives and who doesn't,and what was going on at all.
Still, I'm on my third listen and so maybe it will all come clear.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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surprised!!

Im surprised I liked this because I am so used to the fabulous Bill Nighy reading these but this was very good!