Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

Sudden Mischief, Audio Edition

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Sudden Mischief (1998) Robert B Parker narration mangled by William Windom

In case the above didn’t clarify, that was terrible.

The narration was so bad that if I wasn’t stubborn I’d have stopped listening after the first chapter. However, I was already reading a couple other books, and since I was walking when I started listening, I was already a couple chapters in before I could stop.

It was so bad that I took an extra walk, just so I could finish listening to the stupid thing.

Possibly should have stopped, even if the extra walk was nice.

What was so terrible? The narrator frequently sounded like he was out of breath. He didn’t stumble over names the way David Dukes did, but I don’t think he read everything quite right either.

But the worst part is what Spenser books are about 90% dialog. When you can’t tell which character is which, that dialog can rapidly become confusing. Consider this passage:

“Or maybe we can discuss this with him when he’s not surrounded by the palace guard,” I said. “Which would be when?” “Ah, there’s the rub,” I said. “He must get laid,” Hawk said. “Haskell?” I said. “Who the hell would come across for Haskell.” “He got a wife?” Hawk said. “Same answer as above,” I said. “Yeah, you probably right. Probably buys it.” “A professional woman,” I said.

That’s kinda how he read the dialog, which meant that the I saids and he saids were muddy and didn’t help that much when it was run together like a single paragraph said by a single speaker.

Of course, this is not one of my favorite Spenser books. It’s primarily about Susan and her ex-husband, and Susan’s issues. I like that Susan gets to work things out, but… she just irritates me.

Despite that, there was a good deal of commentary on life etc.

About halfway through the beer three black men came in together and sat in a booth near the door. None of them looked at us.

“Tall skinny kid with slick hair? Came in with the other two brothers? Name is Ty-Bop Tatum. He’s Tony’s shooter.”

“Ty-Bop?” I said.

“What happens when you got thirteen-year-old girls naming babies,” Hawk said.

Interestingly, the other part of this story is about sexual harassment. It would have been more difficult to read, except that it quickly became clear that the story wasn’t really about Susan’s ex being sued for sexual harassment. So there was not too much of how women are generally treated by men–although we did get a quick visit with Rachel Wallace, which was nice.

“Okay,” I said. “You happen to have a working definition of sexual harassment around?”

Rachel Wallace spoke without inflection like a kid saying the pledge to the flag. “In Massachusetts,” she said, “sexual harassment means sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: (a) submission to or rejection of such advances, requests, or conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment or as a basis for employment decisions.” She took in a big stage breath, let it out, drank some martini, and went on. “Or (b) such advances, requests, or conduct have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating, or sexually offensive work environment.”

“That’s the law?”

“That’s it in Massachusetts.”

“And you can recite it from memory.”

“I’m not just another pretty face,” she said.

“Well,” I said, “the legislators are clearly a bunch of pickle puss spoilsports.”

“Yes,” she said. “I understand the Iron Maiden is illegal here too.”

Of course there is no reference to hold old Spenser is at this point. I mean, they’re just taunting you at this point.

“How long have we been together?” I said.

“Roughly since the beginning of time,” she said.

“Or longer,” I said.

So: narration was horrific. Story was about Susan and her ex. But, the mystery was good.

Publisher: Phoenix Books

Categories: Audio Book, Mystery, Private Eye, Reread

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