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3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 17-12-17

Ruined by the wrong reader

I read all of the Flashman books many years ago and loved them, Flashman is described in the books as big and bluff and hearty, so with that image in mind, why choose this reader? He reads perfectly well, but not in a way suitable for this character at all. I had to stop listening as it just ruined it all for me. Maybe if I didn't already know the books and have my own version of the character's 'voice' in mind, it wouldn't matter, but I am so disappointed with it that I can't listen to any more. If they were read by someone suitable, I'd order them all.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 23-11-17

Enjoyable nonsense with a rubbish ending!

It started out well as an enjoyable bit of nonsense, very well read, but what a terrible ending! This is going to be hard to explain without spoiling it, but the main two characters behave like idiots at the end, going along with the villain's plan long past the point when they have the advantage and have no reason to do what they do. Absolute rubbish that spoiled the whole thing. The ending made me feel like I'd wasted my time and money and been let down by an otherwise good writer. Will stick to the Haunted Guesthouse stories and give the rest of these a miss!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 31-07-17

Not suitable for holidays

The method of teaching is fine - lots of repetition which seems to work ok. Could do with slightly longer pauses to think about your answer, so not really suitable for listening to while doing other things (which I wanted to do) as you need to able to use the pause button.

My BIG complaint about this is the content. The first three and a half hours are learning to ask people if they speak Danish and tell them you are American! (I gave up after that).

As a Brit going to Denmark for 3 nights I just need to learn some basics like 'yes, no, please, thank you, sorry, excuse me', and how to ask for train tickets, check platform numbers, ask where to find a taxi, or a toilet or a tourist info office, booking into a hotel, ordering food, paying a bill, shopping etc.

In practice you never need to ask if someone speaks English as whatever language you speak to them in, and no matter what you say, they will probably realise you are foreign and if they speak English they will reply in it and if they don't they will reply in their language and shrug.

This is much more suitable as an introduction to learning the whole language for if you are going to be living in the country and want to be fluent. Either that or they are just dragging it out to get you to buy more sections - either way it's a waste of time, money and effort if you just want practical basic phrases to get around abroad for s few days.

The best language courses for basic, holiday language are the Collins ones, such a pity they don't do Danish.

Really disappointed. with this one.

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2 of 3 people found this review helpful

1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 13-12-15

Smug, sarcastic and trying too hard to be funny

Having read other reviews, I was so disappointed. I think perhaps this is one of those books that you either love or hate - I hate it! I’ve listened for three hours and I can’t go on. The author’s ‘voice’ is very strong, he makes cynical and sarcastic descriptions that interrupt the ‘reality’ of the story. It’s trying far too hard to be funny and to me it just comes across as smug and unpleasant. I love the English Country House Murder Mystery genre but I prefer the light spoofing humour of James Anderson more than this sarcastic, cynical offering. Not for me!

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-03-15

Easy intro to Italian

I have always struggled to learn foreign languages but after a holiday in Italy I really wanted to learn some Italian for my next visit and this is perfect. The words and phrases that you learn are appropriate to a holiday – how to buy and book things such as tickets, hotel rooms, restaurant tables, taxis etc. and how ask for directions. I have tried two other Italian courses which, being American courses, spent the first half hour teaching you to say ‘I am American’ and seemed more geared towards language suitable for someone working in Italy, but because this is a UK course the content is very much more appropriate to being able to pop over to Italy for a few days holiday.

Italian and English have a lot of words that are very similar, so progress with vocabulary is fast. The way that different endings on words changes the meanings and tenses was very well explained in a practical ‘how to’ way with no difficult grammatical explanations.

At first I felt I was being talked down to a bit, but soon got into the relaxed, simple style of learning and now I appreciate how the no-pressure, repetition works – you really do learn so much, so easily, as long as you do listen frequently. I found that about half an hour a day was perfect and because the pauses are generally long enough for you to think of the answer, you don’t have to keep pausing it, so it’s easy to learn while doing something else such as gardening or housework.

My only complaint is one for Audible – you have to buy all four parts to get the numbers and alphabet sections mentioned in the first part. Also as each section is priced so low, rather than waste more expensive credits on them, I bought each section in addition to my credits. I would have preferred one or two big downloads for a credit each.

Don’t let that put you off – if I can now speak in basic Italian (and I can!) then anyone can – it’s brilliant thank-you, I’m even considering trying another language just for fun!

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 31-10-13

Completely wonderfully silly and brilliantly read.

Any additional comments?

If you’re the kind of person who sees the story unfold in your mind as it’s read then you will appreciate the very visual humour of this book, some of the action descriptions made me laugh out loud - in public - (in particular the vampires walking on their knees falling into an open grave).

With a full cast of criminals, vampires, undertakers, body snatchers, bankers, vampire hunters and poets, and the female characters every bit as scheming and dark as the male, I found this the most enjoyable book I’ve listened to, or read, for a long time. There’s a lot of entertaining nonsense with coffins and bodies being moved around, dubious rhyming from John Keats and the most wonderfully pathetic vampires ever.

The reading is superb and the ‘voices’ of each character absolutely perfect (don’t be put off by the introduction!). I’ve listened to this three times already and this will definitely join my ‘favourite books to listen to when I want a laugh’ collection.

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2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 15-09-13

For cricket fans only

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

Hard-core Wodehouse fans only and then only if they love cricket!

Has Psmith in the City put you off other books in this genre?

If this had been my first Wodehouse there would never have been any more.

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

The performance is fine - it's the content that's rubbish.

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Unless you love cricket to the point of wanting to listen to long (15 minute) descriptions of matches - no redeeming qualities for the rest of us.

Any additional comments?

If this had been my first PG Wodehose book there would never have ever been any more! It’s a series of loosely connected incidents concerned with cricket and avoiding work while employed at a bank. None of the usual imposters, mistaken identities, formidable aunts or unwanted engagements that PG Wodehouse usually delivers with such wit. The entire first fifteen minutes of this book is spent in a description of a cricket match! This is for hard-core Wodehouse fans who love cricket only – be warned!

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0 of 3 people found this review helpful