The Sittaford Mystery
Agatha Christie

Review of Book
In a world far removed from the forensic teams of 'CSI: Crime Scene Investigation', with their blunt force trauma samples and projectile tests, we're taken back to the time when suspicions of guilt or innocence were based simply upon what time train you caught. Fictional Sittaford of the 1920s doesn't have a single telephone and only one vehicle in the entire village. And pre-dating television and movies, the only references that the inhabitants of Agatha Christie's world had were "in books"..

There are red herrings and blind alleys in abundance, with the usual idiosyncrasies and prejudices that come from living in a small community - a question mark remains over whether one of the inhabitants is "a tradesman"… And with practically every character having a motive for the murder of retired naval Captain Joe Trevelyan, there is plenty of opportunity for amateur sleuthing - although Gil Grissom and Horatio Caine would have been horrified at the number of people trampling over the evidence..!

Review of Nat's Reading
Nat's narration tone and style, as always, fits the story perfectly. This one is light with a steady pace and very pleasurable to listen to. He has plenty of opportunity to use his voices; from the lilting Welsh of the murdered man's faithful servant, to the 'Estuary English' of the ebullient young newspaper hack, Charles Enderby.

It's his South African accents for two female characters that make the most impact on me though. Not only are they distinctive from one another and totally convincing - both as South African and as women - but it's the way as with all Nat's characterizations, that he delivers them. It's the difference between a person who can just about get by in a some foreign language with the faltering use of a phrase book, and the person who's learned the vocabulary, grammar and conversation in the classroom - or better still, someone who's lived in that country for a while.

This is Nat - he doesn't merely mimic the accent or dialect, he gets right inside the intonations, rhythm and inflections like a native. OK, maybe that's what you'd expect of any half-decent actor, but those I've listened to don't do audio with half so much skill. And in the case of the Willett ladies mentioned above, in keeping with the story's development Nat changes their accents almost imperceptibly from South African into Australian at one point - yet another minute attention to detail so typical of him that, added to everything else, make his audios so distinctive and diverting.

Published by
Chivers Audiobooks
ISBN 0754002365
Available on cassette only
Running time 6hrs 13 mins

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