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So It's not easy to write this review. I have mixed feelings about this book. First of all--to give it it's due--it was written in the early 1970's, so one must think in that time frame . Simon Bognor is an unlikely investigator sent to look into the murder of an undercover agent who had been posing as a religious in a friary. Bognor has little experience in doing this sort of work, and is not completely sure he wants to go anyway. But he gets there, and has to sort out murders that take place in a friary that sells it's signature honey to other parts of Europe.Only Bognor suspects the honey-selling is not what it seems--are they sending out more than honey? This book, recall, was written during the time of the Cold-War.
So the book is okay--I think I'll try another in the series. But I'm not crazy about the narrator. Although in one way, he perfectly gives the flavor of the stilted stereotypical British mannerisms that are often amusing, his voice (to me) would be better suited to a Monty Python episode (and I do love Monty Python--but perhaps not here). There is some dry wit in the book, so perhaps that works. However, as I listened, I found myself "translating" what I was listening to into how it might have sounded in my own mind if I had been reading the book (with my American accent). And I discovered I liked, or at least understood, it better that way. I felt that the prissy snobbish style would have worked better in a British country house mystery than the different environment of the friary where all the people came from various backgrounds.
However, that is my taste. I'm pretty sure that the narrator fully intended to push the limits of that sort of snobbish, crisp upper class (and maddening) style of speech. And I'm sure it probably works well with the book--except that I simply did not like it. I love it in PG Wodehouse works, but not this one. Others may find it hilarious. I also felt he read just a little bit too fast--kept feeling I was often one sentence behind in listening. All that being said, I still enjoyed the book, see promise for the next ones. Wish it had a different narrator, but I won't let that stand in the way of listening to another.
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Any additional comments?
this is the first job simon Bognor has been sent to investigate how information is being passed to iron curtain countries and as important who murdered brother luke whio is a secret agent. he has no experience in finding murders so is playing it by ear.
enjoyed this well written story with good characterisation and plot
john lee performed the book well bringing the characters to life.
looking forward to the next in the series..