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Summary

Kerstin Kvist didn't know what to expect when she took up a job with the Cosway family at their odd, almost grand, house. The family turned out to be even odder than the house: living at home with the widowed Mrs. Cosway were her four daughters and a son who haunted the house. Then, just as Kerstin was getting some inkling of what was going on, a stranger sets the family on a path to self-destruction...

©2005 Kingsmarkham Enterprises Ltd (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Minotaur

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    5 out of 5 stars

Slow burn story that never flags

Many hours of the recording are spent introducing the members of the dysfunctional Cosway family and their interaction with a Swedish nurse, Kerstin, employed to care of John Cosway, the one male in the household. He is labelled as mentally disordered by his overbearing and controlling mother. John has three sisters each psychologically abnormal in different ways which makes them memorable and quite distinct in this narrative. Very slowly. and without much happening, the tension builds with hints of a final catastrophe. Despite the slow-burn nature of the novel I was drawn into the story and never bored, eager to know how things finally turned out. The story is told in the main from nurse's recollections so ably voiced by he narrator that I felt Kerstin was speaking to me.

5 people found this helpful

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The Minotaur

This is a great story. Ruth Rendell when writing as Barbara Vine introduces the most interesting characters. Her books always have useful information and interesting quotes. The narration is superb.

4 people found this helpful

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Quite an odd yet evocative read

I do love these stories about dysfunctional, posh families from the past. This one had an engaging plot, but it petered out, rather than ending with a flourish.

3 people found this helpful

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Listen to it, it becomes really compelling

This started so slowly for the first chapters, if it hadn’t have been for Sian Thomas’s eminently capturing narration and Vines’ clear illustration of the infuriatingly bitter upper middle class characters grating against the austere elegance of the Swedish character, I might have given up on what turned out to be a truly amazing book.

Give it until the very first death in the village, for me, at that point the novel rocketed on and I couldn’t stop listening until complete.

2 people found this helpful

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Great book brilliantly read

Enjoyed this Barbara Vine very much. Yes, it's middle class and not particularly realistic, but the story kept me hooked throughout the full 11hrs+ - it was entertaining and that's what matters. Her fascination with slightly unhinged people is always interesting! Sian Thomas did an excellent job narrating, understated but spot on. I wish there were more narrators like her.

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent story, couldn't guess where it would go

I always love a Barbara Vine and this one didn't disappoint. Well done Sian Thomas.

2 people found this helpful

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The Minotaur

I've read this before in paperback and although it was a good book, I don't think that it is one of Rendell/Vine's best. I managed to recall some, but not all of the various plot threads.

The synopsis concerns Kirsten Kvist, a young Swedish woman who is engaged to nurse John Cosway, a man with mental health issues. The book's timeframe is set during the late 1960s in rural Essex. John, who lives with his aged mother and three unmarried sisters in a shabby manor house called Lydstep Old Hall where nothing is quite what it seems.

The narrator, Sian Thomas, was absolutely excellent, she really made the story come to life and every character was articulated in a completely different way. She is one of the best.

My opinion was that John's disability was pretty obvious, but that and the other plot tropes were interesting nonetheless.

2 people found this helpful

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Great story

Great story, good characters and brilliant narration. Thoroughly enjoyed this novel and found it quite absorbing.

1 person found this helpful

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great listen

Unusual story and beautifully narrated. Her speaking voice was a joy to listen to and the accent judged just right for the protagonist/diarist.

1 person found this helpful

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Superbly read

This is frustratingly unclear at the end, who killed X is not quite revealed. This lack of clear resolution of the ending is similar to other Barbara Vine books and sometimes I don't mind; as it's more the telling and the situation around events, than the cut and dried nature of the crime, but this is one I really wanted to know.

Sian Thomas narrates this audio book superbly; I really loved it because she brought the characters to life.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Needles
  • 16-09-17

A very mannered delivery

When you're sensitive to the nuances of a narrator's style, then a mannered delivery, such as the one given by Sian Thomas, renders the audiobook unlistenable. I persevered to chapter 6, as I'm a fan of Barbara Vine, but kept being pulled out of the world of the novel by the jarring quality of Thomas' implausible "Swedish" accent and irritatingly mannered delivery.
I can't, therefore, honestly rate the novel itself in its audiobook format, as I simply couldn't get far enough into it, and my rating is purely for the performance. However, Audible's coding of the review page requires I allocate stars for everything.