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The Pleasures of Men

Length: 11 hrs and 14 mins

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Publisher's Summary

Spitalfields, 1840. Catherine lives with her Uncle in a rambling house in London's East End, with little to occupy the days beyond her own colourful imagination. Then news reaches her of a disturbing murderer known as The Man of Crows. Catherine becomes more and more involved as she hungrily devours the news, and is soon snared in a deadly trap, where nothing is as it first appears... 

As the murders continue, Catherine gradually realises she is snared in a deadly trap, where nothing is as it first appears... and behind the lies are secrets more deadly than anything her imagination can conjure.

The full narrator list includes: Clare Corbett, Roger May, Karina Fernandez, Andrew Wincott, Alex Tregear, Harriet Carmichael, Penelope Rawlins and Jane Collingwood.  

©2012 Kate Williams (P)2012 W F Howes Ltd

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Sasha
  • 08-03-2012


This is appalling writing, and a tedious unbelievable plot. The primary narrator is the pits as well (breathy,drawling monotony). I can't believe I listened all the way to the end. I think I was listening in disbelief, hoping it would get better, but it just got worse.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Charlotte
  • 15-02-2012

Difficult to follow

The narrators do a wonderful job, but even so, after 5 hours of listening I gave up, something I very rarely do, as I simply couldn't follow the plot and had no idea what was going on. Perhaps one to listen too in sections of 3-4 hours.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Stephen
  • 10-06-2012

steer clear!!!

I find it hard to emphasise how much I hated this book. The authoress drags it out and the plot stumbles and meanders and it's just so boring. I kept on until the bitter end hoping that it would get better. It didn't.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Rebecca
  • 24-01-2014

This book was a waste of time

What would have made The Pleasures of Men better?

The book relied on being sensational. The characters where unbelievable and not very well explained. It was set in an insufferably hot London that was at the same time damp.

What could Kate Williams have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

The author tries to build a sense of thrilling tension by not giving too much away but ends up confusing the reader. The chapters become monotonous with out moving the plot along. Having finished the book I'm still unsure of the motivation for Catherine. It's simply unbelievable that a girl of her class and status would be allowed to go around alone the way she did. Certain elements of the plot were never explained or resolved, characters were never fully explained, were they red herrings ? At one stage Catherine goes to the family home to find it abandoned and derelict. Why ? Was it her house ? Then she is surprised there by her uncle. But again, why ? how ? and what ? She's referred to as being rich but theres not much evidence of that. clearly there is a link between the men who abducted her brother and the present but Why, How, What ? Too much was unresolved and poorly constructed. Reading it became a bit of a bore.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Pleasures of Men?

I would have told her to go back and re write it from scratch.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • MRS
  • 20-10-2012

glad to get to the end

I persevered with this book because the characters were quite intrguing and the storyline following the murders of the lower class girls in London was interesting. I did not understand why the main female character was so tormented by her past and the regression on many occasions to previous experiences/dreams/fantasies made the whole read very disjointed. Having finally discovered the truth of her past, she simply runs away and the final 3 chapters on her life in France as a teacher seem to bear no relevance to the rest of the story whatsover and I have no idea why it was included. Unfortunately this one book by Kate Williams has put me off reading any future ones.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Debra
  • 14-07-2014

Hard work

What would have made The Pleasures of Men better?

I would have preferred more progress through the plot.

What will your next listen be?


How did the narrator detract from the book?

All the narrators sounded like the same person putting on different voices, every one of them forced and unbelievable.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

I was disappointed with the book: I think I was expecting a solidly mysterious story such as Wilkie Collins might have written.

Any additional comments?

Some of the passages were very clever, in particular the cryptic description of Lady Eduarda seducing her maid (you could just about tell where, in the text, it happened) - and in the same way, the technique of slightly obscuring the exact moment of death of the murder victims.