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Office of the Dead is not your typical mystery. The story builds slowly and keeps both the narrator and the reader wondering what is coming next. This is first person point-of-view done as it should be. Our narrator, Wendy, reveals enough about herself to become a well-rounded, sympathetic character. Her observations of Roth, the college, and characters around her draw in the reader. The book is full of interesting and sometimes creepy secondary characters.
While this story stands on its own, I discovered after finishing that it was actually the third book in a trilogy. The trilogy steps backward in time with each volume, which explains one of the issues I had with the story. There are hints of future happenings that are not explained. If the books were read in order, the reader would understand the references.
June Barrie was the perfect narrator for this volume.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful
This is the first part of a trilogy of books that starts in the 1950s. The early part of the book moves slowly as the characters are introduced and fleshed out and one might think it was going to be a simple family saga. However, after a while a mystery, with its origins in the pre-War period, emerges and one realizes that the story is much more complex and gripping. The structure of the book suits being an audio version as the story is largely told chronologically by a first person narrator remembering the past. It is excellently read by June Barry. I shall certainly listen to the next two parts.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
The author Andrew Taylor is in his mid sixties, which is why he understands perfectly the era of the fifties. I am the same age and can appreciate his novel which is superbly written. The narrator June Barrie was perfect. I was transported. Not sure if today's younger reader will appreciate this. But I do.
What other book might you compare Office of the Dead to, and why?
There are too many wonderful novels. I am about to read the next book the Judgement of Strangers, which is the middle novel of the Roth trilogy. It sounds very promising.
Have you listened to any of June Barrie’s other performances? How does this one compare?
She's not a prolific narrator, but I'm hugely impressed with this reading. I'm staying in rural China where there are no westerners, and it gave me hours of joy to be reminded of England and the spoken word.
If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
This has been made into a television series. In my opinion, Audible should rethink this rather meaningless question and delete it.
Any additional comments?
This is my second review in three years of listening, and only because I think the author and narrator deserves the praise, as they have given me so much pleasure. And I hope it gains a wider audience.