Smoke and Whispers : Zoe Boehm

  • by Mick Herron
  • Narrated by Anna Bentinck
  • Series: Zoe Boehm
  • 10 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

When a body is hauled from the River Tyne, Sarah Tucker heads North for a closer look. She identifies the dead woman as private detective Zöe Boehm, but putting a name to the corpse only raises further questions. Did Zöe kill herself, or did one of her old cases come looking for her? And what's brought Sarah's former sparring partner Gerard Inchon to the same broken-down hotel? From derelict shipyards to its glitzy new quayside, Newcastle shows a different face everywhere Sarah looks. But then so do all the people she encounters, gangster, barman, scientist, cop - Sarah can't trust anyone. Nor can she leave until she's found the answer, however dangerous that discovery might turn out to be...


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


‘Smoke and Whispers’ is fourth in a series focussing on the character of Sarah (it’s called the Zoe Boehm series but Sarah is the narrator) who manages to get herself in range of fairly unbelievable investigative situations. This instalment is mediocre but, then, so were the others in the series.

I should not be beyond a decent writer’s skill to don a persona with a different gender, but Mick Herron doesn’t manage it convincingly. The protagonist, Sarah, isn’t really likeable and so the fallibility of her character merely comes across as fecklessness. In essence the character is written using too many female stereotypes for her rendering to be either plausible or admirable, neither do her many hang ups garner sympathy. She’s just a character who comes across as dithery and too much a victim to be an effective solver of crimes. It may surprise Mr Herron to know that we women don’t all obsess about our weight, cathartically shop or expect the nearest man to rid the vicinity of spiders.

The plot is pacy enough to be engaging, despite some fairly unbelievable developments, and there are some interesting secondary and tertiary storylines. This novel doesn’t have much in the way of mood changes or humour and less so because, actually, it’s just so sexist - Herron even uses the expression, ‘male-thinking’ at one point, really? It’s lazy thinking and I find those tired old cliches annoying. All of which possibly suggest that Herron was cutting his literary teeth on this book before producing the much more involving ‘Slow Horses’ series. I’m just glad I found those first!

The narrator was not up to the location; every single one of her Geordies either sounded dense or like a strangled parrot. She gives Sarah a voice which immediately characterised her as the embodiment of the ‘whining mammet’ so delightfully phrased by Lord Capulet.
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- K

Dire narration

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

No, the narration was distractly poor. I struggled to get to the end.

What did you like best about this story?

The interesting plot

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Anna Bentinck?

Sean Barrett

Did Smoke and Whispers inspire you to do anything?

Avoid this narrator in future

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- Mike

Book Details

  • Release Date: 19-08-2009
  • Publisher: ISIS Audio Books