Like Music to My Ears

Solve: Capturing the vibe with the right accent

I'll Keep You Safe

There I was in the visitors’ gallery of the Old Bailey (London’s famed criminal courthouse made famous by Rumpole of the Bailey). The male and female barristers were indeed dressed in black robes with white collars and wigs of various shades of off-white, with tight rolls of curls and little ponytails down the back. The prosecuting barrister, with his elegant British accent, was reading the testimony of a young gang member accused of murder, with every third word being “like” (just as young folks do in the U.S.) and saying the “F” word with emphasis every other sentence.

I'll Keep You SafeThe situation made me realize how a charming, easy on the ears accent can really enhance the listening experience by capturing and projecting the right vibe for the characters and the story. But the intriguing thing is that it doesn’t necessarily mean the narrator’s accent has to match the location.

For example, I’LL KEEP YOU SAFE, the most recent in Peter May’s Lewis series, takes place on a Scottish island and is narrated by Peter Forbes with a strong but very easy to listen to and understand Scottish accent. Forbes ALSO narrates the recent re-recording of May’s THE FIREMAKER, the Chinese Thriller series which takes place in Beijing. In an Audible Sessions interview with May and Forbes, author May comments that he has come to view Forbes as his voice. May says that it doesn’t matter if the narrator is Scottish, Chinese, American, or English, it is the way the narrator is able to make the subtle changes in character that does the book justice. For the listener, this allows for a wonderfully engaging listening experience. Read more…

Ellen Quint
A mystery writer, audiobook reviewer and Audies judge. Ellen is currently the program chair of Sisters in Crime-NY and has published two crime short stories: Crossing the Line (Family Matters); Taking the Brooklyn Bridge Back (Where Crime Never Sleeps).

Following Sherlock Holmes to Las Vegas

Vegas and London have more in common than you think

Sherlock in Vegas

Void MoonWhile this isn’t a travel blog, the treks I am doing this spring have been intriguingly enlightened by mystery audiobooks, which can deepen one’s perspective on a location. I started the month of April with a trip to London and ended it with a jaunt to Las Vegas. On the surface, the cities have little in common: one city steeped in history, the other where it is still not clear whether civilization has a foothold; one cold and rainy, the other parched from unrelenting desert sunshine. But scratch the surface, and mystery writers have found endless sources of inspiration in both. Since I covered London in my previous blog, I will focus this post on Las Vegas audiobooks.

A good starting point is an older (2000) stand-alone, Michael Connelly’s VOID MOON, read by L.J. Ganser, which like many Connelly books shuttles the listener between L.A. and Las Vegas. A switch-up for Connelly, the main characters in this tale are criminals, one sympathetic (Cassidy Black) and the other despicable (Jack Karch). Ganser performs a totally engaging tale that takes the listener into the back office and the overhead air-conditioning ducts of the Las Vegas high roller resorts. Read more…

Ellen Quint
A mystery writer, audiobook reviewer and Audies judge. Ellen is currently the program chair of Sisters in Crime-NY and has published two crime short stories: Crossing the Line (Family Matters); Taking the Brooklyn Bridge Back (Where Crime Never Sleeps).

Greetings from an audiobook lover’s London

Solve: Exploring London in real life and on audio

Sherlock and me

London, with its long history, winding streets, grey skies, and multinational population, has been and continues to be a brewing pot for mysteries, spy thrillers, and psychological dramas. Walk across Tower Bridge, down a twisted street, into a pub, and you will recognize a scene from one of your favorite audiobooks.

House of SpiesWhile Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon series takes the listener all over the world, his latest, THE HOUSE OF SPIES, starts at Charing Cross Road, which is why I found myself right there looking cautiously for white vans with terrorists jumping out. With narrator George Guidall’s voice in my ears, I mainly worked at not getting run over by cars and busses speeding by from the wrong directions at intersections. Guidall’s rendition of Allon also followed me into the National Gallery of Art, where I imagined finding the multi-talented spy master and art restorer standing, with his head slightly tilted, contemplating Caravaggio’s The Supper at Emmaus. Although Silva is very clear that his characters are fictional, I still found myself looking for Julian Isherwood and his art gallery around St. James. This is the power of the characters that Silva has created and that Guidall now voices. Read more…

Ellen Quint
A mystery writer, audiobook reviewer and Audies judge. Ellen is currently the program chair of Sisters in Crime-NY and has published two crime short stories: Crossing the Line (Family Matters); Taking the Brooklyn Bridge Back (Where Crime Never Sleeps).

Before you fly, don’t forget to download these audiobooks

Solve: Getting Ready for Take-Off

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock HolmesIn a couple of days, I am off to the United Kingdom. I am packing clothes, lots of good walking shoes, an umbrella, and several audiobooks, some new and some already well-listened-to, to accompany me on the long flight across the pond.  I find that on overnight journeys, when my eyes tire from the screen (watching a movie or reading a book), audiobooks entertain, relax, and make the time fly by.

I need look no further than this year’s Audie Award finalists to find audiobooks to set the mood for my trip. For a mystery buff going to London, the first choice has to be Sherlock Holmes.  In the best male narrator category is Stephen Fry reading Arthur Conan Doyle’s SHERLOCK HOLMES. I’m looking forward to listening on my long plane trip, and then paying a visit to Baker Street and the Old Bailey.  I’ll be taking pictures for my upcoming blog post. Read more…

Ellen Quint
A mystery writer, audiobook reviewer and Audies judge. Ellen is currently the program chair of Sisters in Crime-NY and has published two crime short stories: Crossing the Line (Family Matters); Taking the Brooklyn Bridge Back (Where Crime Never Sleeps).

The voices of women crime solvers of the past

Solve: In celebration of March’s International Women’s History Month

To Die But Once

To Die But OnceBold, brave, fierce women—amateur sleuths, trained medical professionals, photographers, and spies are the heroines in the historical mysteries that come to mind in celebration of International Women’s History Month (March).  Well-researched, well-written, and well-narrated, these audiobooks provide listeners with an illuminating and inspiring view into the challenges facing women in recent history.

The first and second world wars seem particularly rich as the inspiration for women mystery authors writing lead women characters.  Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series takes us on a journey from 1913 through the latest entry, TO DIE BUT ONCE, taking place in the beginning of WWII. While Maisie Dobbs, a private investigator and psychologist, unravels serious crimes, she also provides insights into the emotions of ordinary people trying to get on with their lives under the shadow of war. Earphones Award winner Orlagh Cassidy has become the voice of Maisie Dobbs and the associates who surround her. Read more…

Ellen Quint
A mystery writer, audiobook reviewer and Audies judge. Ellen is currently the program chair of Sisters in Crime-NY and has published two crime short stories: Crossing the Line (Family Matters); Taking the Brooklyn Bridge Back (Where Crime Never Sleeps).

Welcome to the mysteries of my Brooklyn

Solve: An introduction

Ellen Quint on the Brooklyn Bridge

By way of introduction (and confession), I am a mystery and audiobook addict. Thus, it is an honor and a fright to take on the responsibility of the Solve blog, picking up from the great work of Jen Forbus.

People ask: “When do you have the time to listen?” Since I don’t commute, there is no listening in the car.  The answer is:  I listen when I walk (and I get in my 10,000 steps every day). I listen when I load and unload the dishwasher, when I fold laundry and do any of my other dreaded housekeeping chores. Deeper confession—I listen when I can’t sleep. I told you that I’m an audiobook addict. Read more…

Ellen Quint
A mystery writer, audiobook reviewer and Audies judge. Ellen is currently the program chair of Sisters in Crime-NY and has published two crime short stories: Crossing the Line (Family Matters); Taking the Brooklyn Bridge Back (Where Crime Never Sleeps).

Solve: Staff Picks and Mystery Favorites

Wondering what we’re listening to lately? It’s a mystery.

Munich

A lot of us here at AudioFile happen to be mystery fans, so for our inaugural staff picks post, of course we had to share the thrillers that have been keeping us glued to our earbuds. We’ll be sharing more staff picks in a variety of genres in the coming months. But please do tell us—which mystery audiobooks are keeping you up listening late into the night?

MUNICH

Munich

This weekend I treated myself to listening to David Rintoul narrate MUNICH by Robert Harris. David has been one of my favorite British narrators over many years, though we have not heard as many of his performances in the U.S. in recent years. David simply immerses you in the story. He becomes every character like a shapeshifter—as a listener, you hardly know he’s there; it’s just the story, alive. The history surrounding the 1938 Munich Agreement is fascinating and makes an interesting companion to the recent film The Darkest Hour.
— Robin Whitten, Founder & Editor Read more…

We're the editorial team at AudioFile Magazine!

Solve: Audie Award Nominees for Mysteries and Thrillers

Captivating and compelling listening all around — but who will win?

Don't Let Go

Don't Let GoAs fans of mystery audiobooks, we’re looking forward to this year’s Audie Awards and are excited to share the nominees for the Mystery and Thriller/Suspense categories. If you missed any of these audiobooks, there are a still couple of months for you to listen and root for your favorites before the winners are announced on May 31. Do you think Louise Penny and Robert Bathurst will take home an Audie this year? They were nominated for A GREAT RECKONING last year, but didn’t take home the prize. What about Harlan Coben and Steven Weber, nominated for HOME? Will the winner also have an AudioFile Earphones Award, like MAGPIE MURDERS or THE CHEMIST? Listen to clips of all the nominees in the 2018 Mystery and Thriller/Suspense categories and place your bets, theoretical or otherwise. Read more…

We're the editorial team at AudioFile Magazine!

Solve: Dave Robicheaux

James Lee Burke brings listeners to the bayou

Last Car to Elysian Fields

One of the very first series I ever listened to on audiobook was James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux series. And this is an interesting series because for many of the first thirteen audios, there are two different versions: one narrated by the late Mark Hammer and one narrated by Will Patton. Not only are they two different narrations, but also two significantly different interpretations of Burke’s long-running, signature character.

Last Car to Elysian FieldsHaving read several of the books in print before starting to listen to them, I found Mark Hammer’s depiction of Dave Robicheaux  to be much more in line with my own mental images, and I listened devoutly to his lyrical productions that verbally duked out the internal conflicts of the haunted detective, glided effortlessly between the plethora of accents and dialects peppered generously throughout the prose, and enveloped me in the atmosphere Burke’s become so famous for. Even his slower pacing aligned with the easy, southern, Louisiana bayou tempo of my imagination. Read more…

A freelance book and audiobook reviewer, I have also written numerous interviews of authors and narrators. Story entrances me and if I'm not reading for myself I love having a story told to me. In addition, I'm an avid photographer, where stories are in the images!

Solve: Finding humor in crime

When authors and narrators make me laugh so hard I cry

Lisa Lutz: The Spellman Files

I love to laugh, probably because all the endorphins my body releases when I do makes me feel better no matter what my mood is. It’s certainly good for me: reduces stress, burns calories, improves my immune system, and protects my heart. Which is especially helpful this time of year when the snow piles up and the sunshine is scarce. There are plenty of health reasons to support laughing, but sometimes it’s simply just fun. So I also appreciate humor in the audiobooks I listen to. And over the many, many audiobooks I’ve listened to, I’ve discovered that humor can be quite tricky. There is definitely the chance it won’t be appreciated by all listeners, but there’s also the real possibility that author and narrator won’t be on the same page and the humor will be missed. So when a production nails the humor and leaves me laughing tears of joy, I savor it all the more.

MacLeod Andrews
Narrator MacLeod Andrews

One truly great example of this is MacLeod Andrews narrating Jutta Profijt’s Morgue Drawer Four series. When I listened to the first book in this series (MORGUE DRAWER FOUR), I could not stop telling people about it. It was smart and funny and Andrews’s delivery was perfect. What was even more astounding was the added layer of a translation from the original German. A lot of the humor arises from slang, idioms, and Profijt’s invented words, which make for tricky translations. But the trio involved in this production—author, translator and narrator—makes it seem effortless. If you haven’t listened to this series, I highly recommend it. Read more…

A freelance book and audiobook reviewer, I have also written numerous interviews of authors and narrators. Story entrances me and if I'm not reading for myself I love having a story told to me. In addition, I'm an avid photographer, where stories are in the images!