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Publisher's Summary

With old friends like these, who needs enemies? It's a question short, mild mannered detective Edward Newson is forced to ask himself having in romantic desperation logged on to the Friends Reunited Web site searching for the girlfriends of his youth. Newson is not the only member of the Class of '86 who has been raking over the ashes of the past. As his old class begins to reassemble in cyberspace, the years slip away and old feuds and passions burn hot once more. Meanwhile, back in the present, Newson's life is no less complicated. He is secretly in love with Natasha, his lovely but very attached sergeant, while comprehensively failing to solve a series of baffling and peculiarly gruesome murders. A school reunion is planned and as history begins to repeat itself, the past crashes headlong into the present. Neither will ever be the same again. In Past Mortem, Ben Elton, previous winner of The Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger Award for Popcorn, delivers both a heart-stopping thriller and a killer comic romance.
©2004 Ben Elton (P)2004 Random House Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Ben Miles' reading...is flawless." ( The Times [London])

What listeners say about Past Mortem

Average Customer Ratings
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

one of his best!

I loved this! Ben Elton is a terrific storyteller!
I really enjoyed this book. glad it was on the booklist for bookgroup

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  • Peter Morton
  • 27-05-2015

Butchered by abridgement - dreadful

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Having all of what Elton wrote would have been a start.

Have you listened to any of Ben Miles’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I don't think so, but he makes a good job of what's left of the book.

What character would you cut from Past Mortem?

None

Any additional comments?

I never listen to abridged books but made a special exception in this case as it's the one Elton audiobook I haven't heard. Now I know why. The cutting is shameful. Chunks of the plot are missing and some scenes are so cut they read like notes the author might have made in the first place. Avoid at all costs if you admire Elton as a novelist as I do. I've a good mind to ask for my money back.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Corinne
  • 20-04-2008

clear and enjoyable

One of the rare listens that though short is compelling to the end! Well worth it!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Philip
  • 14-03-2007

Internet reunites old friends and enemies

"Past Mortem" provides an interesting tale around a question that many people have asked themselves: wouldn't it be fun to get together with those old highschool classmates? From personal experience, I would say maybe.... reunions can either be very boring, or provide a good opportunity to get back in touch with old friends. The characters in the plot have the same experience, however old feuds start to resurface, and are settled once and for all. A caveat: there were some shortcuts in the audiobook plot, which made me wonder if the work hasn't been too abridged. If you enjoy Carl Hiaasen or Nick Hornby, then Ben Elton is certainly a writer you need to discover. I first came across his work with the excellent "Popcorn", and have by now read most of his other work (including the excellent Big Brother parody Dead Famous). For me, "Chart Throb" by the same author outperforms "Past Mortem", but both are worth your while!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Nicola
  • 23-09-2007

Excellent...

I'm not a huge fan of Ben Elton, but this book looked a bit 'crimey' so I gave it a shot. I wasn't disappointed, Ben Miles' reading is excellent, the writing is pure Ben Elton style and the story line is a 'can't put down' type. Definitely worth the money and you will listen to it in one go!!

4 people found this helpful

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  • AudiobookDevotee
  • 23-07-2020

Abridged and nothing special

I was looking for audiobooks narrated by Ben Miles after a Coupling re-watch and found this one. I've enjoyed some Ben Elton books before so figured I'd give it a shot.

To be clear, this is abridged so I can't fairly judge the full book and I'll try to stay spoiler free.

The main character is a bit pathetic, he is a lech and quite meek although he has his moments. His police partner is much of the same. Neither are especially likeable and you don't find yourself routing for them in the book.

The murderer is kind of obvious. I don't think you could get it from the second chapter like another reviewer but it wasn't a surprise at the end. He acted in a very odd way for a successful long-term serial killer though. Killing a person every few months and then a bunch of people relating to an investigating detective within days. Seemed odd.

This book is very dated too. Friend's Reunited plays a big roll, now defunct, CDs get mentioned a lot, laughable computer security, apparently no competition commission for businesses etc. It's not Elton's fault but when people are going "Gosh, a computer, I've never touched one." It does seem weird.

There's also the comically violent bullying (everyone seems to ignore a kid getting stabbed and admitted to hospital for blood poisoning) and the really heavy handed message about it that the book tries to get across. Honestly, by the end of it you lose sympathy for the bullied characters because they whinge so much.

The rest of the book seems to flit between coincidence and lazy writing as the main character is pulled along for the ride. The police side seemed poorly researched too; I can't imagine a young woman being used as serial killer bait with a squad of armed police ready to leap out of a van and her only communication to be to the walky-talky of one cop who is out of sight of all the other police. Just stupid.

I never read abridged normally but I was glad of it in the end because the book ended more quickly. Ben Miles' narration was decent enough.

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  • C Williams
  • 28-01-2020

Great short listen on a short journey..

Cracking story and great characters. And a trip back to the eighties to... Ben brings the characters alive and keeps the story going at a great pace

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Julie
  • 07-12-2019

Gory murder story

This was very well performed. The detective aspect of this story keeps you guessing but it was a bit gory. The thing that I really disliked was the description of the sex between the detective and one of the women. I felt it was demeaning to all women with no plot justification.

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  • Taffo
  • 01-09-2019

Great book and story shame its abridged version.

Great book and story shame its abridged version. love Ben elton books wish more had audible versions.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • s
  • 19-09-2012

Very poor

I usually Love most of Ben Elton's books but this was very poor. I knew who'd done it by the second chapter. Very un suprising and dull. Don't go for it. Trying another Ben Elton's work. Also it was very short, lacked any story.

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