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Crusty schoolteacher/sleuth Hildegarde Withers can't escape mysterious deaths, even on a trans-Atlantic crossing on an ocean liner. En route to England she spends part of her time (when not feeling queasy) sizing up her fellow passengers. Her intuition helps when passengers and crew start dropping over the side, or just dropping, period.
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Oh, that accent!
Another great Hildegarde Withers mystery - good story and characters. But the English accent was woeful. As much as I have come to appreciate Julie McKay's interpretation of the heroine, the accents she affected for the various English characters were excruciatingly bad. While they did not put me off liking the book overall, they did detract from the usual pleasure.
Don't expect to listen to this mystery while doing anything else including driving. Modern sensibilities don't fit here.
Warning: torture and murder of British accents
We weren't able to pay attention to the plot as the performance is so bizarre.
I've listened to the preceding Miss Withers mysteries and found them entertaining enough. I have noticed that the narration is often at odds with the meaning of the text - as if the narrator hasn't read it through before performing it - but it isn't too intrusive.
Unfortunately, this novel travels to England and includes several British characters whose accents bear no relation to any existing British accent at all, with the exception that one of the Cornish accents is possibly Irish in inspiration.
I'm not just referring to Americanisms such as 'Tames' for 'Thames' which are common enough mistakes, or to stereotypical attempts at a British accent but with American vowels (I'm thinking Murder She Wrote when it ventures over the pond) but to a wholesale abandonment of the conventions of English pronunciation which renders many words utterly unrecognisable. On top of this, the accents are so bad that they utterly annihilate any attempt at characterisation.
At first it was almost unbearable but, listening in the car, we persevered and soon the main interest was not 'whodunnit?' but who would be the first to solve the mystery of the meaning of each new mangled word.
It's almost worth recommending for the unintentional comedic value, but I'll be reading rather than listening to the rest of the series.
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