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When Dolly’s mother - her only friend - dies, 23-year-old Dolly becomes a second mom to her younger brother, Pup. Socially isolated and booze-addled, Dolly believes that Pup’s occult power, and a talisman he’s made for her, will give her the life she wants. But as Pup grows older and her father takes a new wife, her carefully constructed home begins to fall apart - and those around her begin to die. Is it coincidence, magic, or murder?
With careful plotting and unnerving ease, Rendell delves into the inner life of an outcast.
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By Carol on 10-09-14
How a Badly Chosen Reader Can Ruin a Good Story
What disappointed you about The Killing Doll?
I have probably read or listened to most of Ruth Rendell's novels, so I know that some are more engaging or easier to get into than others, and I know that some reading styles are more enjoyable than others. With this in mind, I have attempted at least four times to listen to Mary Kane's rendition of The Killing Doll, hoping that once the story was under way, the irritation of the reading voice would diminish. Unfortunately, Kane's reading style is so distracting that I simply cannot get into the story, so I will have to purchase this novel in text format if I decide I really want to read it.
You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?
I have listened to hundreds of books over the years as I drive the 50 miles or so to work and back each day, and a good reader can make even a poorly-written book worth listening to. On the other hand, a bad (or a badly chosen) reader can ruin the experience of a good book, and this is what Kane's reading of The Killing Doll succeeds in doing. Every word, it seems, has the same amount of emphasis placed on it, resulting in a monotonous string of words that quickly disengage rather than engage the listener. She inserts verbal pauses where there cannot possibly be commas in the text, a very distracting, habit that causes the listener, to feel as if s/he is in, a car with a new driver who is just, learning how to use a stick shift! And she gives the impression of wanting to get this task of reading over as quickly as possible. Another strike against this choice of reader (which is not her fault) is her very pronounced American accent, which does little to draw the listener into the setting of the novel or the conversations (both interior and exterior) of its protagonists.
Any additional comments?
In fairness to Mary Kane, I did go online to listen to other samples of her reading. While her voice still verges, to my ear, on the monotone, and while I still find her pauses within sentences unnatural, it did seem a better "fit" when reading American texts.
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