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Old 05-17-2020, 08:50 PM   #16
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Catlady, did you listen to the audiobook narrated by Zehra Jane Naqvi? I had trouble concentrating too and kept replaying portions. Then I switched to the ebook format and started over and realized that I had indeed missed many details! I found the written book to be more enjoyable than the audiobook.
The version narrated by Emilia Fox is the one you want to listen to. It's the best version.

The problem is the book (IMHO). It seems to jump around a bit and some things are not explained all that well.

One thing that did annoy me is that Anne knows the name of the man in the brown suit. Her referring to him as the man in the brown suit was annoying. I would have preferred if she used his name instead of describing him by his suit.
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Old 05-18-2020, 01:37 AM   #17
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Gmw, I am going to have to think on the sexism comment. In general, most of the time these things don’t bother me in older books. But, I did get little annoyed at the constant comments about how women like to gossip and talk a lot!
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Old 05-18-2020, 01:42 AM   #18
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I have read a few of the Amelia Peabody books but don’t remember much about Amelia’s roots and history. I tried researching to see if Amelia was an inspiration from Christie and it seems that she was inspired more from real life people. It’s interesting how we each have different ideas of what this book reminds us of. For me, the tone of voice of Anne the Adventuress reminded me of an even more modern book, Olives Joules and Her Overactive Imagination by Helen Fielding (of Bridget Jones fame). I adored this book and wish that she had continued this series.

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At the close of the last millennium, Helen Fielding debuted the irrepressible (and blockbuster-bestselling) Bridget Jones. Now, Fielding gives us a sensational new heroine for a new era...Move over 007, a stunning, sexy-and decidedly female-new player has entered the world of international espionage. Her name is Olivia Joules (that’s "J.O.U.L.E.S. the unit of kinetic energy") and she's ready to take America by storm with charm, style, and her infamous Overactive Imagination.

How could a girl not be drawn to the alluring, powerful Pierre Ferramo-he of the hooded eyes, impeccable taste, unimaginable wealth, exotic international homes, and dubious French accent? Could Ferramo really be a major terrorist bent on the Western world’s destruction, hiding behind a smokescreen of fine wines, yachts, and actresses slash models? Or is it all just a product of Olivia Joules’s overactive imagination?

Join Olivia in her heart-stopping, hilarious, nerve-frazzling quest from hip hotel to eco-lodge to underwater cave, by light aircraft, speedboat, helicopter, and horse, in this witty, contemporary, and utterly unputdownable novel deluxe.
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Old 05-18-2020, 05:37 AM   #19
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I've never tried an audiobook, so can't be sure, but the idea never appealed because I feel like I would always have trouble keeping my focus. (I regularly lose half of any music album I might be listening to due to wandering thoughts.)

I tend to think of Colonel Race as an occasional guest star rather than a series character. Same with Superintendent Battle and Ariadne Oliver. These are never the main protagonists in the stories, in the way Poirot, Marple or Tommy and Tuppence are. And knowing about Colonel Race in advance would be a significant spoiler for The Man in the Brown Suit, I think.


I am curious to see that none of us has yet mentioned the sexism and racism implicit in this book (after having had a good go at Tarzan). The racism is no more than I would expect of the era, but the sexism is interesting...

Such a strong and independent female lead, and yet she falls for (and directly justifies doing so) the stereotypical macho male - one who even threatens ‘I shall carry you away and beat you black and blue!’ It was tongue-in-cheek, sort of, but still made me somewhat uncomfortable to read (especially as Anne was reported as "pleasurably excited" by these declarations of violence). I wonder how much was deliberate satire, and how much was merely a reflection of the times.
The way Anne is exists still today. Lots of women are strong and independent in their public lives but are submissive in their private lives and they like it that way. Same with men too. it's not sexism. It's how they are. Some like being dominated just like some like dominating. So as long as it's consensual, it's all OK. it's when it's not consensual that it becomes a problem.

Sir Eustace is sexist. he wants a woman for her looks to coddle him. He doesn't care much for Miss Pettigrew because she's not a pretty young girl who will faun all over him.
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Old 05-18-2020, 05:43 AM   #20
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I've seen only a handful of Christie-based movies: Witness for the Prosecution, Murder on the Orient Express, and The Mirror Crack'd. Possibly some other oldies; I know I haven't seen any of the TV adaptations, though.
A rather odd Christie book that was adapted for TV recently is The Pale Horse. I've never read it, but I did see the TV adaption. IT was an odd but enjoyable story. Nothing like the detective type stores Christie is most known for.
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Old 05-18-2020, 07:39 AM   #21
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I have read all of Poirot and most of Miss Marple and I am somewhat shocked that this book came from the same pen. The front half of the novel was much more enjoyable - when Anne was sleuthing and not under the thumb of a rich conspirator and being obsessed with and hoodwinked by men in turn.

The characters were flat, predictable, and dull. I am glad that I read the free Gutenberg version of the book.
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Old 05-18-2020, 09:41 AM   #22
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I have read all of Poirot and most of Miss Marple and I am somewhat shocked that this book came from the same pen. The front half of the novel was much more enjoyable - when Anne was sleuthing and not under the thumb of a rich conspirator and being obsessed with and hoodwinked by men in turn.

The characters were flat, predictable, and dull. I am glad that I read the free Gutenberg version of the book.
I read/listened to free copies from Overdrive. I too am glad I didn't buy it. It's a rather odd book. The worst one I've read from Christie.
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Old 05-18-2020, 04:31 PM   #23
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I have read a few of the Amelia Peabody books but don’t remember much about Amelia’s roots and history. I tried researching to see if Amelia was an inspiration from Christie and it seems that she was inspired more from real life people. It’s interesting how we each have different ideas of what this book reminds us of. For me, the tone of voice of Anne the Adventuress reminded me of an even more modern book, Olives Joules and Her Overactive Imagination by Helen Fielding (of Bridget Jones fame). I adored this book and wish that she had continued this series.
Anne seems similar to Tarzan's Jane--dutiful, motherless daughter dominated by a scholar-father.
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Old 05-19-2020, 11:52 AM   #24
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Catlady, did you listen to the audiobook narrated by Zehra Jane Naqvi? I had trouble concentrating too and kept replaying portions. Then I switched to the ebook format and started over and realized that I had indeed missed many details! I found the written book to be more enjoyable than the audiobook.
You know, that might have helped. I was listening as well, and I really had a hard time with it. It wasn't that the narration was bad, per se, but I just really found it hard to follow and stay engaged. Perhaps a re-read with the eBook is in order.
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Old 05-19-2020, 04:27 PM   #25
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You know, that might have helped. I was listening as well, and I really had a hard time with it. It wasn't that the narration was bad, per se, but I just really found it hard to follow and stay engaged. Perhaps a re-read with the eBook is in order.
Why? My feeling is, if a book I'm reading for entertainment isn't working as an audiobook, it's not worth the extra effort. Which is not to say that I don't sometimes check the text of the e-book (when available) to try to recall something or to verify a confusing/mangled word or phrase.

If I were fairly new to audiobooks, or if the book has a complex structure, lots of notes, etc., I might feel differently. But I expect a straightforward novel that I'm reading basically for pleasure to work as an audiobook, and if it doesn't, the e-book won't work for me either.
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Old 05-20-2020, 12:03 AM   #26
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I get your point, Catlady. But I don't completely agree with it. There are certainly books my first read of it would be better as an ebook. Usually because they're long and have a lot of complex characters and structure. Or, in the case of much of Dickens, just too many to keep track of as an audio book. Unless, of course, I'd read it first.

The other part of that is that they really live in different parts of my brain. Reading a book and listening to a book are very different experiences. And while I enjoy them both, I find myself leaning more towards audiobooks in the current state of life.
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Old 05-20-2020, 05:39 AM   #27
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Why? My feeling is, if a book I'm reading for entertainment isn't working as an audiobook, it's not worth the extra effort. Which is not to say that I don't sometimes check the text of the e-book (when available) to try to recall something or to verify a confusing/mangled word or phrase.

If I were fairly new to audiobooks, or if the book has a complex structure, lots of notes, etc., I might feel differently. But I expect a straightforward novel that I'm reading basically for pleasure to work as an audiobook, and if it doesn't, the e-book won't work for me either.
There are times when an audiobook doesn't work, but reading the book does work. If you come across a narrator you don't care for, then the audiobook may not work. One book we read for the book club didn't work as an eBook, but did work better as an audiobook.
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Old 05-20-2020, 01:16 PM   #28
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I get your point, Catlady. But I don't completely agree with it. There are certainly books my first read of it would be better as an ebook. Usually because they're long and have a lot of complex characters and structure. Or, in the case of much of Dickens, just too many to keep track of as an audio book. Unless, of course, I'd read it first.
I've found Dickens a lot easier to digest in audiobook form, even the titles I'd never read before. Generally I've found long books with many characters easier to follow in audiobook form--I recently listened to 41 hours of Forever Amber (read long ago and mostly forgotten). But in any case, The Man in the Brown Suit wasn't long or complex--just confusing. Which I see as a fault in the writing and not the delivery system.

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The other part of that is that they really live in different parts of my brain. Reading a book and listening to a book are very different experiences. And while I enjoy them both, I find myself leaning more towards audiobooks in the current state of life.
Not true for me. When I think back on an specific title, I couldn't tell you if I read the e-book or listened to the audiobook (though the default for me is the audiobook).

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There are times when an audiobook doesn't work, but reading the book does work. If you come across a narrator you don't care for, then the audiobook may not work. One book we read for the book club didn't work as an eBook, but did work better as an audiobook.
Yes, but I don't think Emilia Fox's narration was the problem. I think the defect was in the writing. I think the characters were mostly enjoyable and the book had a lot of humor, but the plot was a bit too unwieldy.
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Old 05-20-2020, 01:27 PM   #29
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Fair enough, Catlady. But clearly our brains work differently.
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Old 05-20-2020, 09:46 PM   #30
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I am quite fascinated that with so few readers here we seem to have covered such a wide spectrum of reactions. When I nominated this I thought there wasn't anything much less harmless I could have nominated, if not a crowd-pleaser then at least something relatively inoffensive.
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