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What made the experience of listening to The Monogram Murders the most enjoyable?
The story. I think that Ms Hannah has captured the essence of Agatha Christie's story telling style. There is a lot of reliance on dialogue to move the plot along, always interspersed with Poirot's egomanic claims that HIS little grey cells are superior to his offsider's!
The only 2 comments that I make about the book, is the setting is not a classical Christie setting - elite hotel, aristocratic home or simple English country village. (Indeed the village in this story bears more relation to Midwich that St Mary Mead!) The other comment is that the writing is a bit more detailed than I am used to with Agatha Christie, making the story a bit too long.
However, neither of these was a significant barrier to my enjoyment of the book. I congratulate Sophie Hannah on an excellent replication of a Hercule Poirot tale, and await her foray into Miss Marple's world.
Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?
Not on the edge of my seat, any more than one of Agatha Christie's stories did. What it did do well was to get me to exercise my little grey cells. I thoroughly enjoyed the many and varied red herrings as they trailed across the story.
Have you listened to any of Julian Rhind-Tutt’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
I haven't heard Julian Rhind-Tutt previously, and I thought that his personification of Poirot was especially good. I liked his voice and the pace at which he read.
One problem that I did have was that he varied the volume of his voice rather too much, and that even with earphones that sit inside my ear, there were times when I had to turn the volume of my iPod very high (if I had time) and then, when using hie regular voice, it was much too loud.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
No extreme reaction - a quiet delight that there is someone who can write a good copy of Agatha Christie's style.
Any additional comments?
If you are a Christie afficionado - read it. If you have never read Christie - read it, but then read some Christie afterwards
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
This was a slog. So much repetition, such frustrating narration, shitty payoff at the end. I've never hated Poirot before.
What disappointed you about The Monogram Murders?
Every single aspect. The many non-English accents used by the narrator were grating on the ear, The plot was- frankly - awful. Fiction requires the 'willing suspension of disbelief' and while some lack of realism is acceptable, this book was too ridiculously unrealistic for comfort. A Scotland Yard detective who leaves corpses in an unguarded crime-scene overnight and goes home to mope.... one of the many badly written scenarios presented in the first hour of listening, Characterisation was shallow and anyone with a concept of Poirot needs to avoid this book at all costs because in this book, the weak and inconsistent character presented jars on the listener. Every scene is drawn out to beyond tedium - so much so that summoning enthusiasm and commitment to the story is impossible, and the elaboration so extensive that you forget what the original premise of the scene was supposed to be.
What could Sophie Hannah have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?
Not written it.
It was dire - the worst book I've encountered in a long time.
How a publishing house editorial team allowed something with such glaring weaknesses to reach publication, is quite beyond me.One example, taken from several I could quote: the mysterious sherry is referred to as 'Harveys Bristol Cream'. That phrase jarred on the ear - would it have been known as such in the 1930s (or whenever this farago was apparently set)? Quick online research suggested that this marketing phrase to describe the product was developed in the 1960s. Before mass-media advertising, products would rarely have been referred to in this way.
How did the narrator detract from the book?
Although Rind-Tutt has a pleasant voice, it does lack variety in tone. In his defence, he had long boring, dull passages to read so it was an uphill task to enliven the text.. Many actors have dismally failed to deliver Poirot in a realistic, non-caricatured way, and Rind -Tutt has now joined their ranks (Only David Suchet and John Moffatt have succeeded.) However, the accents of the boiler maker and restaurant staff were equally caricatured and I found them unpleasant to hear. The boiler maker mocking Poirot's accent was particularly grim.
What character would you cut from The Monogram Murders?
All of them. The only interesting character was Fee, the waitress, who showed some insights and made some telling statements which - exasperatingly - were not followed up by Poirot. You had the feeling that if she had only stated what she knew, she could have solved the mystery without troubling Poirot or poor pitifully drawn Catchpole.
Any additional comments?
I live in Holland and had an unexpected day of driving ahead of me so swiftly downloaded an audiobook to keep me engaged and chose this one because of misleading ratings. I've asked Audible to restore my credit under the Great Read Guarantee as this was far from that. I endured 5 hours of it because I had no alternative - but deleted it from my device at the end of the journey. I very rarely give up on a book, feeling that you have to judge it as a whole - but my life is too precious to waste another moment listening to such tosh.
22 of 23 people found this review helpful
If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?
Some one who is not an Agatha Christie fan, even then, maybe not.
What will your next listen be?
Any other Agatha Christie to get the mood back.
What three words best describe Julian Rhind-Tutt’s performance?
Sorry, too much over the top as Hercule Poirot
You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?
The story could have been OK if it had been a good deal shorter
Any additional comments?
I found it long winding and boring. At one point I thought the conclusion was drawing near i noticed there were over three hours left. It just goes on, and on, and on.
In no way would Agatha Christie have written this book.
I am really disappointed as one critic said that Agatha Christie fans would nor be disappointed, well, the critic was wrong.
17 of 18 people found this review helpful
Enjoyed this but found it a bit too long.
Good: in the style of classic Poirot
Not so good: voice volume was up and down and sometimes hard to hear followed by very loud. Story was a little repetitive adding new pieces to the puzzle but over did it a bit.