An Instance of the Fingerpost

  • by Iain Pears
  • Narrated by Paul Michael
  • 5 hrs and 58 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

An utterly compelling historical mystery, in the tradition of Umberto Eco and John Fowles. The setting is England in the 1660s. Oliver Cromwell's short-lived republic is a thing of the past, and Charles II has been restored to the throne. At Oxford's New College, fellow Robert Grove is found dead under suspicious circumstances, and a young woman stands accused. We hear from four witnesses: a physician hungry for fame, the son of an alleged traitor, the king's chief cryptographer, and a renowned Oxford antiquarian - only one of whom is telling the rather extraordinary truth. Who is it? Pears' skillful plot-weaving will keep you guessing until the final seconds.

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What the Critics Say

"Deftly plotted, briskly written...Iain Pears has brass and talent to spare." (Newsweek)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

An Instance of the Fingerpost

Read the book, eschew the audio. The abridgment edits out too much of the interesting historical detail, a pleasure of historical fiction, which set the milieu of the times and provides rich context for the characters and plot.
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- Keene

Eviscerated rather than abridged

I confess that when I downloaded this, I didn't notice that itt was abridged. I had read the book years ago and thought it was incredibly good: a thought-provoking look at a society just beginning to think scientifically, wrapped in a shifting story centered on the mysterious central character.

To my horror, the "abridgment" simply cuts out all the meat of the story with an ax, leaving us with a threadbare little Rashomon story. It's a horrible thing to inflict on a magnificent book.

Having said that... The reader is truly wonderful. Not only does he bring the accents of the characters to life (including Italian-accented British English and Robert Boyle's Scots burr), but he can switch accents in mid-sentence to accommodate both a narrator and a conversation.

My advice is read the book -- it's terrific. Look for other readings by Paul Michael. And with any luck someday an unabridged "Instance of the Fingerpost" will join the unabridged "Stone's Fall" (another shockingly good book by Iain Pears, this one about the rise of international capitalism... Wrapped in a very readable mystery) on Audible's virtual shelves.
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- Lynn

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-14-2000
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio