When George Abbershaw is invited to Black Dudley Manor for the weekend, he has only one thing on his mind - proposing to Meggie Oliphant. Unfortunately for George, things don't quite go according to plan. A harmless game turns decidedly deadly and suspicions of murder take precedence over matrimony. Trapped in a remote country house with a murderer, George can see no way out. But Albert Campion can.
About the author: Margery Allingham was born in London in 1904. Her first novel was published when she was 17. In 1929 she published The Crime at Black Dudley and introduced the character who was to become the hallmark of her writing - Albert Campion.
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I LIKE this narrator quite a lot!!!!
I am not going to answer all these questions, I'm just going to write my review. I am writing this review primarily in defense of the narrator, who I think does a very good job, and as of my writing there are nothing but complaints about him in the written reviews posted. He does Margery Allingham the courtesy of reading her work the way she wrote it, and I appreciate that in a narrator. I did not like the narration of Frances Mathews, who read the only unabridged versions of Allingham on Audible prior to the full series coming out with David Thorpe reading, and I think Thorpe is much better.
Some have complained that in this book, Campion has an annoying, high pitched voice as read by Thorpe. Allingham tells us clearly in this book, on multiple occasions, that Campions voice is annoying, high pitched, and falsetto and Thorpe has the integrity and courage to read the character the way Allingham wrote him. Additionally, I find it annoying in some readers when they aren't familiar enough with the work to give the lines of dialog that occur before the explanations of them the correct emotional tone, an error Thorpe never makes. An example of the kind of thing I mean is a character will say, "I'm coming back now" and the reader will read it in a cheery tone of voice, and then the next line in the book is "he said sadly", and there we are with the jolt of a line read incorrectly by a reader that didn't do his or her homework and prepare properly for reading the the story. Thorpe has done his homework, he doesn't' make mistakes like this, his delivery is completely true to what Allingham meant it to be. There is no higher tribute a reader can pay to an author and it's one as a listener I REALLY appreciate, especially when I am fond of an author as I am of Allingham. Also, Thorpe reads with energy and sounds as though he is enjoying and appreciating the story as he reads it, and finally and perhaps most importantly, he GETS THE JOKES and reads the text in such a way that we can get them too. There is nothing sadder with these lovely examples of English humor than a reader who doesn't get the subtle humor and ruins it for the listener by reading it wrong. Allingham has some very funny lines, and Thorpe gets them all perfectly.
I do concede that he's not very good at country accents, and there is a "yokel" character in this book that has quite a few lines and is really a bit hard to take overall what with the bad accent and the unfortunate tone of voice used as well, but still I feel he does a great job overall for the reasons mentioned above, and does not deserve the hammering he's been taking here in the review section.
However, I've listened to almost the entire series now, and this is my least favorite, so all but the truly obsessed should probably skip this one and move on to the next in the series (Gyrth Challice) as a start. This book is clearly not the best Allingham has written by a long shot, though it's interesting to have because it IS the first in the series, and Campion was not meant to be the hero when she started writing, the series hero was meant to be the Doctor Abbershaw. If you do decide to start with this one, you can see why Campion became the series hero instead, he's far and away the character with the most pep, humor, interest, and energy, and a great deal smarter than the doc as well.
Overall I gave both the book and the performance four stars for the problems mentioned above, the rest of the series gets five stars for performance and story from me. Thorpe does tone down the falsetto voice on Campion as he goes on with the series, since Allingham does not continue to insist on it, and I find this fidelity to the author completely admirable in a reader.
The very beginnings of the Campion adventures