Sunday, 20 July 2008

Friend of the Devil

I have mixed feelings about detective fiction audio books. They help ease the tedium of long-distance commuting, and that is a major plus. But there is always the risk that, in seeking to negotiate traffic, one may miss a plot twist or a crucial development in the narrative. Nevertheless, after a break from them, I’ve decided to listen to a few more audio books.

And where better to start than with a recent Peter Robinson story, Friend of the Devil? Robinson is a highly accessible writer, whose easy style is well suited to audio adaptation. An added bonus of this Hodder audio book is that the reader is Neil Pearson, a charismatic actor whose credits include ‘Between the Lines’.

The story is a good one, with a nice blend of complexity and characters. Two women are murdered on the same day; one is a pretty young girl, killed in an urban maze, the other is a woman who is confined to a wheelchair, who meets a shocking end. The investigations are led by Robinson’s main protagonists, Alan Banks and Annie Cabbot, and the threads are tied together neatly after about three hours’ listening.

The abridgement was carried out by Peter Mackie. I haven’t read the whole novel, so it’s not easy to judge the quality of the necessarily ruthless editing. I had the impression that one or two sections of the story were rather brutally truncated. But it may be that I missed something important as I dodged the HGVs on the Thelwall Viaduct.

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