Monday, May 6, 2019

Behold, Here's Poison (audionovel)

Behold, Here's Poison (1936) by Georgette Heyer
Read by Ulli Birve

Another of my forays into audionovel versions of mysteries. On the whole, I much prefer listening to books that I've already read at one time or another. Even if it's been a while (as with this one), things at least seem familiar once I get settled in. That's especially useful for mysteries--because I'm definitely apt to miss important points if I'm hearing the story for the first time (it's much harder to keep everything straight in my head if I'm not actually reading). Of course, with this one I still didn't catch on to who the murderer was even though I'd read it all before.

As with my previous audionovel reviews, I'm going to focus more on the reading performance rather than the story. For my views on Heyer's work, please see the review linked to the title above. Ulli Birve is a much more talented narrator than John Franklyn-Robbins was in Murder Must Advertise. Though her tone remains languid and cultured for nearly all of  Gregory Matthews's relations and acquaintances (for the most part--not counting the lower servants and the smoking shop keeper late in the story), she provides a strong range of voices and it is extraordinarily easy to keep the characters straight even though there are many of them. If I have any complaint on that score, it's that she goes a little overboard with the languid, listless tone for Randall Matthews. I do realize he's supposed to be the uninterested, sneering cousin--but she really overdoes it. I don't remember being quite so put off by his tone as it came to me off the page.

She is particularly good with the aunts, Gertrude and Harriet. Though I do think Gertrude gets short shrift in the story--she's the one who is the most honest and wants the truth to come out, no matter what it is. She knows her own mind and I only wish she weren't quite so abrasive. Strong female characters should be a good thing.

Overall, an excellent audio version of Heyer's novel. One I enjoyed quite a bit.
★★ and a half for the audio edition.

August = author birth month
Two deaths = poison

No comments: