Skip to main content

Book 32: Vintage Murder by Ngaio Marsh; audiobook read by James Saxon

Since I have already posted about the audio version of another Marsh detective novel, Artists in Crime, which was read by a different narrator, I figured I would do one for this one as well, just to compare the narrators. There have been a number of different audiobook narrators for the books in this series, but Philip Franks and James Saxon have each narrated more of them than any of the other narrators and therefore I decided it would be interesting to compare their styles and techniques.

As I mentioned in the previous post, I was mainly happy with Philip Franks' narration of Artists in Crime, with the sole exception of his pronunciation of Roderick Alleyn's last name. His reading was even and the voices just different enough to tell them apart, and his pacing was good.

James Saxon, who narrated this book, pronounces Alleyn's name the way I have always thought it should be pronounced, i.e. the same way as Allen, which is good.

Saxon has (or rather had - he died in 2003) a different style of narration than Franks. He has good pacing, but there the similarity ends. For one, it is more stagey than Franks', i.e. he has a tendency to exaggerate too much.
He does make an effort to make all the voices distinctive, which is good, but he sometimes overdoes it. For some characters, he goes overboard and exaggerates too much. His interpretation of female voices is not convincing. For example, the voice of actress Valerie Gaines, one of the witnesses to the murder, sounds too much like the widow Twankey for this kind of book, and while his interpretation of a very drunk former actor, who is a key witness in the case, is entertaining, it is also completely over the top and too pantomime-like for my taste. It's not right for this kind of a detective novel, even if there is humour in it, because the humour is supposed to be subtle, not in-your-face.

I also feel that his interpretation of the New Zealand accent is more northern England than Christchurch. However, he isn't one of those narrators that made you regret having bought the audiobook (thank goodness for Audible's return policy), and you get used to his style after a while.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

List love: 10 recommended stories with cross-dressing characters

This trope is almost as old as literature, what with Achilles, Hercules and Athena all cross-dressing in the Greek myths, Thor and Odin disguising themselves as women in the Norse myths, and Arjuna doing the same in the Mahabaratha. In modern times it is most common in romance novels, especially historicals in which a heroine often spends part of the book disguised as a boy, the hero sometimes falling for her while thinking she is a boy. Occasionally a hero will cross-dress, using a female disguise to avoid recognition or to gain access to someplace where he would never be able to go as a man. However, the trope isn’t just found in romances, as may be seen in the list below, in which I recommend stories with a variety of cross-dressing characters. Unfortunately I was only able to dredge up from the depths of my memory two book-length stories I had read in which men cross-dress, so this is mostly a list of women dressed as men. Ghost Riders by Sharyn McCrumb. One of the interwove

Mystery author # 14: Patricia Wentworth

This time around I read three books for the review. Patricia Wentworth wrote about the same number of non-series mysteries/thrillers as she did Miss Silver books, but all I managed to get my hands on are Miss Silver stories, so the author review is based on them alone. (Typically, I came across some at the flea market on the weekend after I wrote the book reviews, but I’ll review them independently when I feel like reading them). Title: Grey Mask Series detective: Miss Maud Silver No. in series: 1 Year of publication: 1928 Type of mystery: General crime Type of investigator: Amateurs and private detective Setting & time: London, England, 1920’s Some themes: Blackmail, kidnapping, theft, murder Story: Charles Moray returns to England four years after his fiancé, Margaret Langton, jilted him, a week before their wedding. He discovers that she is a member of a secret society and that some of its members are planning to cause an heiress, Margot Standing, to lose her inheri

How to make a simple origami bookmark

Here are some instructions on how to make a simple origami (paper folding) bookmark: Take a square of paper. It can be patterned origami paper, gift paper or even office paper, just as long as it’s easy to fold. The square should not be much bigger than 10 cm/4 inches across, unless you intend to use the mark for a big book. The images show what the paper should look like after you follow each step of the instructions. The two sides of the paper are shown in different colours to make things easier, and the edges and fold lines are shown as black lines. Fold the paper in half diagonally (corner to corner), and then unfold. Repeat with the other two corners. This is to find the middle and to make the rest of the folding easier. If the paper is thick or stiff it can help to reverse the folds. Fold three of the corners in so that they meet in the middle. You now have a piece of paper resembling an open envelope. For the next two steps, ignore the flap. Fold the square diagonally