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Publisher's Summary

We could tell you about the bodies. We could tell you their names, where they were found, the states they were in. We could tell you about the suspects, too, the evidence, the investigators; join a few dots, even throw you a motive.

But what would be the point? After all, you know these people. You went to school with them. We all did. So if you really knew them then, you’ll already have all the answers....

©2006 Christopher Brookmyre (P)2015 W F Howes Ltd

Critic Reviews

"This is the book I would want if I were marooned on a desert island or lost in space." ( Independent)
"Another astonishing performance, travelling deeper and more movingly into human emotions than his previous works, without sacrificing his comic zest or meticulous plotting." ( The Times)

What listeners say about A Tale Etched in Blood and Hard Black Pencil

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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I found the storyline boring

Angus king was an excellent narrator whom I enjoyed listening to very much and will look for books with him as narrator

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Disappointing in spades.

Want a tedious, boring account of primary school kids plus slapstick comedy? Listen to this.

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Profile Image for Jacqueline
  • Jacqueline
  • 22-07-2015

"F*&%ing Brilliant!!!"

Would you listen to A Tale Etched in Blood and Hard Black Pencil again? Why?

Absolutely listen again, so funny, so clever. I missed some of the puns the first time and my son listened and heard different funny bits. Black comedy at its best. The use of and understanding of language and communication is wonderful.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

When Martin comes home to his gran after all the new words he has heard at school tells her emphatically how much he enjoyed it.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The ironry of the teacher taking the belt to a pupil saying there should be no violence in class or the headteacher taking delight in hitting a small child.

Any additional comments?

Don't listen if swearing offends.

16 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Andy
  • Andy
  • 18-03-2016

Beautifully crafted

What did you like most about A Tale Etched in Blood and Hard Black Pencil?

It is a skilled author such as Brookmyre that beautifully weaves two distinctive timelines and enable the listener to build attachments to key players in both stories. To love one character in the 1970s only to revoke those emotions 30 odd years later, and visa versa with other characters. Superb.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Too many to mention. JoJo as an example, whose character stretched your emotive briefcase to bursting point

Which scene did you most enjoy?

OMG.......the Assembly were MoMo the head teacher was lecturing the students. What narration, what a voice. And a school assembly thronged with 200+ kids, the inevitable farting scene had me in bits. I was driving at the time and had to pull over in fear of crashing.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Both. More of the former, but I did moist up round the eyes right at the the end,

Any additional comments?

Buy it, oh and Angus King is a legend

7 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 20-11-2020

Brilliant

People who whinge about the accents and swearing are ignorant of Brookmeyers books. He writes how they speak.

If you can't cope with that save us having to read your greetin over it

4 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for SAMANTHA LAWS
  • SAMANTHA LAWS
  • 19-12-2020

Just couldn’t follow it

The performance was great and I really enjoyed that part but the story was random with many characters and I found it hard to follow although I enjoyed the individual tales within the book, especially the ones from their young school days.

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Profile Image for Lily V.
  • Lily V.
  • 25-08-2020

Epic

This has always been one of my favorite Chris Brookmyre books. So much so I've had replace my paper back! Having audible means to I can potter about listening to the tale, laughing at all the bits you miss when reading to yourself, often having to read through the tears.
Also my favourite bits seem even better.
Next book please!

3 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Sumaki
  • Sumaki
  • 18-10-2017

Witty plot twisting throwback thriller.

What a great read. It was like re- living my school years with all the hierarchical struggles and relationships with an up yo date murder mystery unravelling at the same time.
I loved it and will certainly make my way through Brookmyre's library.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-04-2021

Fookin sooks & jobbies..

One of the very few books I just couldn't finish. I kept listening for much longer than I really wanted, in desperate hope that it would get better (given the high praise for the book). Described as a mystery & crime fiction, with dark humour, I thought it was neither funny nor a crime fiction, and frustrated & annoyed I had to give up towards the end. The crime in the beginning soon got forgotten & instead it was chapter upon chapter of an extremely detailed childhood. A ten minute account of a break time football game in year 5 nearly broke me. And it was so saturated with colloquialisms & slang, it felt alienating rather than adding local flavour to the story. Maybe you need to be Scottish & having had grown up in the 70's to appreciate this book. Or maybe the ending that I couldn't bear get to was so mind-blowingly amazing that it warranted the endless tales of schooldays past. I just know that this book wasn't for me in any way shape or form & would've given it a zero if I could.

Oh and one last thing, Christopher Brookmyre has been called the British Carl Hiaasen (which got me really excited) which I definitely didn't get that from this book.

2 people found this helpful

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  • G. Walton
  • 20-05-2016

Gripping

Nobody does it better than Christopher Brookmeyer. So good I'm about to read it again to see what I missed first time round.
Faultless narration by Angus King. Funny, moving and time travel back to my 70's childhood.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Patricia
  • 29-02-2016

Cleverly delivered

Christopher Brookmyer does not disappoint with this cleverly developed story . It has rich characters and the plot builds with the backstory of all characters with humour and for me a trip down memory lane. His skills at relaying those school years and the difficulties growing up, the impact of certain incidents reverberating through to adulthood and the consequences.
I loved listening to this and had many laugh out loud moments. It brought back so many amusing words and phrases anyone who spent any time in Scotland as a child would recognize.
I recommend this book. The narrator did an excellent job.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Macey
  • 17-01-2021

Excellent narration

Chose this book as a bit of a lucky dip and was very pleasantly surprised. The narrator was excellent and gave life to the characters and humour created by the author. I am sure I will listen to more of Christopher Brookmyre’s work.

1 person found this helpful

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