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The Crocodile Bird

Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson
Length: 10 hrs and 48 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (89 ratings)

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Summary

Eve and Liza, Mother and Daughter, live a quiet life in their remote home; a rustic gatehouse of a country mansion. At first glance their lives appear quite ordinary, except that Liza has almost no knowledge of the outside world, has never played with a child her own age and has witnessed her mother commit murder, on multiple occasions.

Eve and Liza, Mother and Daughter, live a quiet life in their remote home; a rustic gatehouse of a country mansion. At first glance their lives appear quite ordinary, except that Liza has almost no knowledge of the outside world, has never played with a child her own age and has witnessed her mother commit murder, on multiple occasions. Now, as the police come searching for a missing man, they must vacate their secluded home, shattering Liza’s sheltered world. With 100 pounds and her secret lover, Liza gradually learns about the world, her mother’s tale of betrayal, desire and obsession and just how like mother, like daughter she really is.

©1993 Ruth Rendell (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Unexpected

I suppose now in the days of CSI and crime dramas like it the crimes perpetrated in this book are relatively tame. But as a new reader to Rendell and the Whydunnits I'm really finding these stories addictive. They are well told and structured. This one particularly has a girl called Liza recounting her strange upbringing to her boyfriend, whom she has run to as her mother sends her away.

A thing to note is that when I say strange upbringing, I don't mean weird in the awful sense that she lives with a murderer and every weekend they go on butchering escapades of the local tourists. The book is many times more subtle than that and is brilliant for it. You can identify with the why - and that I am finding is what makes Ruth Rendell surpass being a crime writer. She tells stories so well. I am so excited that I now have her entire collection to read!

Set in the late 80s but not at all dated as classics never are. Juliet Stevenson is my favourite narrator, her characters subtle but her range is wide.

A really enjoyable book. Strove will stay with me the same way that Manderley does.

3 people found this helpful

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Brilliant

Wonderful atmospheric story, beautifully read. One of the best audiobooks I have listened to. Ruth Rendell at her best. The first class narration by Juliet Stevenson makes it a winner in my eyes.

3 people found this helpful

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Flawless

Any additional comments?

An absolutely wonderful book, beautifully written, impeccably plotted, just fabulous. Ruth Rendell is such a brilliant writer, being a great storyteller as well as writing prose of exceptional beauty and clarity.The pleasure of the story is greatly enhanced by Juliet Stevenson's exquisite narration. She has such a lovely voice, never mispronounces anything or puts a stress on the wrong word, and makes the characters come fully alive with her range of voices and accents.

2 people found this helpful

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A great read

Wonderful story telling by narrator. The relationship between mother and daughter subtle and moving
The writer builds the suspense so you are hooked

1 person found this helpful

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The Crocodile Bird

I read this book years ago, but it was great to be able to rediscover it via an audiobook. The themes are murder, isolation and obsession, so it's more akin to a Barbara Vine novel than a non-Wexford Rendell. The characters were well-crafted and believable.

Juliet Stevenson's narration was clear and perfectly suited for the story. Her performance of the working class Sean was also commendable.

A great listen, recommended.

1 person found this helpful

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Atmospheric story that pulls one in

I enjoyed this story that has many of the attributes that characterize a Ruth Rendell novel: alienated characters living on the edge of society; an uneasy sense of menace all pervaded by the atmosphere of the place where the story unfolds. It all starts slowly as the characters are introduced few of whom are sympathetic yet I wanted to know how things would turn out for them and I was drawn into their lives and couldn't stop listening not knowing how it would end.

Juliet Stevenson is a marvellous narrator making me feel I was listening to the voices of real people.

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Most enjoyable

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Excellently written and read! An intriguing story. I definitely recommend this.

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Beautiful unfolding of story and characters

The characters and excellent storyline fully captured my imagination right from the very first line.

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Dire, absolutely dire.

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No. Ruth Rendell is capable of much better. I waited and waited for something to happen.

What did you like best about this story?

The narration.

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

She is one of my favourite narrators.

Could you see The Crocodile Bird being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

Definitely not. I can't imagine anyone commissioning it.

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  • Ilana
  • 16-03-12

Gripping

Liza, a young girl of sixteen must flee from her secluded home, the gatehouse of a great mansion, to avoid being questioned by the police about a crime that her mother Eve has just committed. She makes her way to her lover and proceeds to tell him, in the style of The Arabian Nights, the story of how she came to be in this situation, in the process revealing a life story full of intrigue and horror. Until then, Eve had tried her best to shield Liza from the world and all it's modern amenities, and most of what Liza knows about life is gleaned from the 19th century books available in the mansion. Liza looks just like Eve, and must find out whether she is a an exact copy of her mother in deed as well as in looks, or whether she can exercise her own free will. I found this tale quite gripping, enough so to include it among my favourite reads of the year, and the narration by Juliet Stephenson was of course excellent.

1 person found this helpful