I have such conflicting feelings about this book. It was a favorite of mine, growing up, but a recent re-read woke me to its racism and ableism. But II have such conflicting feelings about this book. It was a favorite of mine, growing up, but a recent re-read woke me to its racism and ableism. But I'd never heard the BBC radio play version, and not just am I a sucker for BBC radio versions, but this month I've done all the driving in creation.
For me, the mark of quality for a Peril version (tv, movie, audiobook) is how it translates this passage from the book:
"Still no news of that flying fellow, Seton, in his round-the-world flight. Pretty plucky, these fellows. That amphibian machine of his, the Albatross, must be a great invention. Too bad if he's gone west. Not that they've given up hope yet. He may have made one of the Pacific islands."
"The Solomon islanders are still cannibals, are they not?" inquired Poirot pleasantly.
In this version, that exchange becomes:
Hastings: Still no news of Captain Seton.
Poirot: Oh, the man who was flying around the world in that, um, how is he called?
Hastings: A seaplane.
Poirot: No no no, there is another word...
Poirot: That is it.
Hastings: The Albatross, that's what his plane is called. Too bad if the fellow's gone west. But he could always have come down by one of the more... remote Pacific islands.
Poirot: Let us trust not one inhabited by cannibals...
The differences are always incredibly telling.
Frederica Rice is voiced beautifully, as are the Australians, but John Moffett is not my Poirot, and neither is Hastings awesome. Most of all, though, there's somehow not enough End House by half in here...
But good pacing, good abridgement, functional sound effects, wonderful music....more
Surprisingly readable and quirky restaurant-based mystery. The protagonist is disorganized in an awesomely authentic late-twenties kind of way, and heSurprisingly readable and quirky restaurant-based mystery. The protagonist is disorganized in an awesomely authentic late-twenties kind of way, and her ex-Navy grandfather nearly stole the whole book, and I'd definitely read more of their crime-solving adventures.
The author did that thing where the protagonist doggedly pursues her investigation to protect her business but is spectacularly bad at crime-solving, basically running around shouting "Did you kill her????" at each suspect, but with the clever twist that her actions have repercussions, such as innocent people getting their feelings hurt and getting annoyed with her. It works.
Some quibbles: 9/10ths of the story was told from the protagonist's POV, but there were two 3-page POV switches, spaced a hundred pages apart that were basically Here, Have All This Backstory, and a good editor could have fixed that. The story's slow to start, and I could've used more food-related content; despite being set in a restaurant there's only one basic foodie scene three-quarters of the way through, smelling of panic, and the included recipes were kind of unrelated.
That said, I live in Vermont, and drive Rt. 7 for work quite a bit, passing numerous tiny, aging diners, and the setting felt both authentic and deliciously detailed. And that matters more to me than what kind of soup gets served at the end of the book. ...more
In contrast to pretty much everyone else who reviewed the book, I really enjoyed Burnett's folksy storytelling style, but it did seem like he could'veIn contrast to pretty much everyone else who reviewed the book, I really enjoyed Burnett's folksy storytelling style, but it did seem like he could've used a few more actual stories of humor & misadventure. True, the skunk chapter could've been halved easily and with little loss of quality, but the story of the campers being held hostage by a skunk was actually entertaining. Ditto the story about the chickens. Ditto pretty much all of the stories set at Lake Mead.
But there were a ton of stories that fell flat because they weren't entertaining circumstances to recount: a pair of climbers short-roped themselves, Burnett and his wife had trouble fitting all their stuff into a cabin, sometimes pipes froze at the ranger station. Those aren't particularly interesting circumstances in and of themselves -- and that's where I think the book falls short.
At the same time, there's a lot of interesting information here about the flora, fauna, history and geography of some national parks I hadn't even heard of before, I loved the entire Lake Mead section, and the ending chapter of Don'ts, illustrated with cases from around the country, was super-fun. I'll definitely pick up the sequel....more