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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 17-08-18

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.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-07-15

Take a chance

Sometimes you have to take a chance on a book. I remember doing this with this book in printed form years ago, and never regretted it. The audiobook is clearly and intelligently read and loses nothing in the 'translation'. I have no real interest in fantasy literature, but this book (and the whole series) stands apart. There is a wit and intelligence in the writing, which sets Mr Fforde apart from most other novellists. He has the ability to exploit and develop ideas without ever slipping into smug cliche or lazy plot devices. The Eyre Affair works as a stand-alone item, but it also the start of a series. Yes, take a chance...

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2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-07-15

More of the same, sadly

I tried the second volume in the hope that I might warm to the characters, but they proved to be even more irritating in volume 2. Excellent narration with clearly defined characters and accents, but Mike Grady is wasted on this pretentious material. It's the author showing off and then blaming it on the main character. Won't be buying any more in this series.

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3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-07-15

So irritating

An excellent audio-narration but the characters are so irritating. Yes, Morley is expected to get on our nerves, which might be a smart literary device, but gets very wearing. WIll try the second volume, but more in hope than expectation. Don't expect a standard whodunnit.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 25-06-14

A range of intriguing ideas

I must admit that I bought this for the section on Epicurus, given that "pleasure", "leisure" and Epicurus appeared in an Open University module I had come across. In that respect, it fleshed out the OU material and demolished the slur about epicureanism. The audiobook is even-paced, occasionally interspersed with some awful accents from readers quoting from various international authors. It would have been better had Lynn Redgrave's calm voice narrated everything. All things considered, this is a book that can be listened to repeatedly and in small sections, if you wish to engage in the diverse ideas on offer.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 25-06-14

Fascinatingly thorough

The idea of an actor running through such a large body of work almost on an episode by episode basis is one that ought to dissuade all but the hardened devotee from doing more than just dipping into the work from time to time. However, there is something more here, and the varying viewpoints that Suchet adopts, plus the compelling biographical thread make this compulsive listening. I must admit that at the start bits of it seemed a little pretentious or 'luvvy', but by the end I was won over - not least by Suchet's sincerity and compassion.

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-05-14

Sound without voices

This is a fascinating story, well told. Elmes has a light touch and an eye for well-chosen examples. The problem with this reading, however, is that it lacks the original recordings. Elmes is not a talented impersonator, so there is only so much that he can convey via a description of the vocal delivery and the way in which different lengths of pause are indicated by the number of dots left in the printed quote. Clearly, this is an audiobook, so it is constrained by being a vocal version of the book, but you will end up feeling that something is lacking and wondering how it might have been conveyed differently.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-11-13

Excellent early-ish stuff

A fascinating survey of France, the Mediterranean and Asia Minor in the late 1860s. It's the little snap-shots that provide most pleasure. The pen-portraits of Napoleon III and Tsar Alexander II are worth setting again more standard historical summaries. There are, as might be expected, playful digs at aristocratic pretension and the dirt, laziness and corruption of many ordinary people, but Twain is similarly unforgiven about some of his own countrymen. The Crimean War is referred to on occasion, but it is interesting to note the lack of real reference to the more recent American Civil War in a work that relies on building parallels for readers back in the USA – readers who understood the copious Biblical and classical allusions more than their more counterparts.. There is throughout a balance between naive expectation and ultimate disappointment, which will speak to many a tourist who finds that guidebooks and popular imagery often distort a more prosaic reality. I personally preferred his subsequent "A Tramp Abroad" on Germany and Switzerland, though the range of discussion is broader here. The reading in this version is faultless.

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2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 29-04-13

Is it worth the cost?

You judge. The full book (of which this is just one of the apprendices) is called a Tramp Abroad and is available on Audible for not much more and with a narration that sounds like Mark Twain!

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1 of 4 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 29-04-13

Missed opportunity

This could have been a very useful learning tool, but it is rushed through, with some of the worst sound quality I have heard on an Audible product.It sounded like someone gabbling away at the end of a poor telephone connection.

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