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What made the experience of listening to The Strings of Murder the most enjoyable?
I have been bingeing on late Victorian murder mysteries lately. This weeks example is Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel. This story concerns disgraced young aristocratic investigator Ian Frey who is assigned to semi-barbarian Edinburgh to investigate the politically sensitive murder of a violin virtuoso. Frey is a bit of an a-hole of the snob variety given to snide comments. He is assigned to work not only with but under Inspector McGray, also an a-hole but of the thug variety given to responding to perceived insults with physical assaults. Worse, McGray is the head of an X Files like department and the clear demonic signs of the instant murder allow him free reign to his superstition, much to the annoyance of Frey. I was a music major as an undergrad and one thing that attracted me to this book is the musical connection. It seems a cursed violin may be responsible for a number of grisly death, the very violin that that Tartini (in real life) used to compose, or more accurately, to transcribe the Devil's Trill Sonata composed by the Devil himself in Tartini's dream and then owned by Paganini who (in real life) was alleged to have sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his virtuosity. Together they work to solve a grisly locked room murder.
What three words best describe Andy Secombe’s voice?
A little heavy on the Scottish accent, made it a little difficult to understand for a hick from the sticks such as yours truly.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Had to get past the over the top speech patterns but after a but you get to enjoy the characters
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I have over 400 titles in my library, this one is easily in the top 10.
For the most part I am grateful if the narration is not too annoying. This is real acting as opposed to just delivery. I just love that it is a Welshman that brings this English dandy, lassy and brusque Scot to life. And what attractive characters they are too, colourfully rendered and multi dimensional. The supporting cast of workman are just as lovable.
Combine these elements with a credible mixture of the occult an engaging mystery and a dash of humour and you have my perfect audio book.
24 of 24 people found this review helpful
This book was exactly what I was looking for - a great mystery story full of character, humour and a touch of the occult - think Sherlock Holmes with a lighter tone and an "odd couple" partnership. I particularly enjoyed its grounding in reality - from the use of the legend of Tartini's famous sonata to the authors note explaining the truth behind the revelation of the murderer, great touches that certainly added weight to the story and made its more fantastical parts more believable.
The only fault I had with this production was the obvious re-record of several chapters - the narrator took sometime to pick up the protagonists voice in quite the same way, which led to a few jarring passages that distracted from the story until my ears had adjusted. Not a deal breaker but a little irritating.
Overall a great listen and extremely enjoyable. I was very surprised to find this was the authors debut book and I will certainly purchase the next in the series in 2016.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful
If you want a mystery that's a bit different, a bit dark a tad gory but quite humorous in parts, then this one should fit the bill.
Inspector Ian Frey, being a touch arrogant in nature and supercilious in manner, is not the most likeable of men. To the dismay of his well to do family he had tried and disliked the study of both medicine and law finally deciding on a career as a detective. A job he is actually quite good at and, having solved one high profile case, he is more convinced than ever of his superior intellect.
Everything is going well, until, due to some political manoeuvres, he finds himself on the verge of losing his job unless he agrees to travel to Edinburgh to solve a very strange case. To his chagrin he finds himself subordinate to Detective Nine-Nails McGray. Poor Frey finds everything north of the border to be terribly offensive to his fine sensibilities - and is not afraid to say so. McGray though is having none of his fancy ways, nor are the house servants, in fact not even the dog shows any respect for him or his fine clothes.
The interactions between Frey and McGray provide the humour, yet there is a serious locked room mystery going on here, Frey takes his usual pragmatic and systematic approach to the investigation, at least, he tries to. Yet on more than one occasion he finds McGrays insistence on following a more unusual path to be both enraging and beyond belief. As past tragedies unfold and the present mysteries are revealed, the two men earn the grudging respect of the other.
Despite a bit of a shaky start when I didn't quite understand what was going on, all did become clear and the beginning fitted the end very well. Some of the characters did stretch my credibility a little, but this only added to my overall enjoyment of this entertaining story. The short violin interludes helped create a chilling atmosphere for this thoroughly enjoyable audiobook.
Andy Secombe did a pretty good job of all those accents, the only voice I didn't much care for was that of the crazy girl from the past, I found her just a bit over the top. I loved how he captured the pomposity of some of the political characters and how he somehow managed to seamlessly change those voices from pompous to obsequious when they were in the presence of the Prime Minister. All of the characters were clearly defined, especially enjoyable was the supercilious Frey. The pace and rhythm of the reading matched the story well.
This audiobook was provided by the author, publisher or narrator in return for an honest review.