Private detective Nigel Strangeways receives a call for help from Wonderland, a new holiday camp that has recently opened only to be plagued by a series of cruel practical jokes conducted by someone calling themselves 'The Mad Hatter'. The camp's owners are convinced a rival firm, desperate to put them out of business, is behind the events. Or could it be a disgruntled employee, or even one of the four hundred guests currently staying at the camp? As the pranks become increasingly dangerous and tensions rise, Nigel must do all he can to uncover the Mad Hatter's true identity - before it's too late.
Nicholas Blake was the pseudonym of Poet Laureate Cecil Day-Lewis, who was born in County Laois, Ireland in 1904. After his mother died in 1906, he was brought up in London by his father, spending summer holidays with relatives in Wexford. He was educated at Sherborne School and Wadham College, Oxford, from which he graduated in 1927. Blake initially worked as a teacher to supplement his income from his poetry writing and he published his first Nigel Strangeways novel, A Question of Proof, in 1935. Blake went on to write a further nineteen crime novels, all but four of which featured Nigel Strangeways, as well as numerous poetry collections and translations. During the Second World War he worked as a publications editor in the Ministry of Information, which he used as the basis for the Ministry of Morale in Minute for Murder, and after the war he joined the publishers Chatto & Windus as an editor and director. He was appointed Poet Laureate in 1968 and died in 1972 at the home of his friend, the writer Kingsley Amis.
"A master of detective fiction" (Daily Telegraph)
"His plots are ingenious" (Times Literary Supplement)
"The Nicholas Blake books are something quite by themselves in English detective fiction" (Elizabeth Bowen)
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Painful to listen to
I have never posted a negative review before, but this is the worst reading I have come across after several years as an audible subscriber. I can't really comment on the story because I found this impossible to listen to. The reader is speaking in a bizarre singsong pattern that sounds as if he is reciting a nursery rhyme. I realize that the author of the Nigel Strangeways series was a poet (real name Cecil Day Lewis, Poet Laureate of England 1968 to 1972) but I doubt he would have appreciated this performance. Absolutely abysmal.
Clearly, nothing (the man has been dead for 40 years so the question is really moot). I have always enjoyed reading this series, just couldn't stand listening to it.
Have someone else do the reading! This performance was terrible. It showed no comprehension for the meaning of each sentence as it was read - just a rote, singsong rhythm that distracted greatly from the content.
Disappointment. I looked forward to listening to this series of clever mysteries written by a master wordsmith, but the total lack of respect and effort in the reading was a complete turnoff.
I listened to one other title in the series before this one, with the same reader. The reading was not particularly good, but acceptable. This one is not.