Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Audiobook Review: The Artful Egg
Arthur: James McClure
Narrator: Steven Crossley
Unabridged Length 10 hrs 7 min.
Publisher: AudioGo Ltd
Release Date 2/12/13
Naomi Stride was a wealthy woman, and her death has left several people richer--none more so than her twenty-six-year-old son Theo, with whom she had long had bitter differences over money. She was also a controversial woman, a writer whose novels had been banned in South Africa. But was it for money, politics, or some other unknown reason that she was killed? And why was her naked corpse strewn with flowers and herbs? These are the questions South African Lieutenant Tromp Kramer and his Zulu partner, Mickey Zondi, must answer. But this task becomes much more difficult when Kramer is unexpectedly taken off the case. Ordered by his superiors to discreetly "wrap up" a fatal accident that could be embarrassing for the South African police, he is plunged into a second investigation, and (fighting to keep it free of political whitewash) he and Zondi find themselves moving inexorably toward a haunting and horrifying climax.
The Artful Egg has everything I like in a mystery. It has an entertaining plot, plenty of laughs, engaging characters and a talented narrator to make them come alive. The setting is a fictional South African town during the apartheid era. Naomi Stride's books were banned because of her sympathy for the non-white population. She was wealthy so she could have been murdered for political reasons or for her money. I enjoyed the investigation procedure and interaction between Tromp Kramer and Mickey Zondi so much that I didn't even try to figure out who the murderer was. At times Kramer was called a kaffir lover and Zondi was not allowed into certain places, but their relationship was one of respect and teamwork. I was delighted to find that there are more Kramer and Zondi mysteries to discover. This was the 7th in the series. My favorite character in The Artful Egg is the Indian postman Ramjut Pillay who found Stride's body. One of the funniest scenes is when he is in a mental hospital under an assumed name, sans trousers, trying to prove he isn't a Jew. The doctor denies calling him a Jew and says he is missing the point. Ramjut insists that the doctor take a look at his point. "It is entirely uncircumscribed." (It's funnier in Ramjut's voice.) Steven Crossley performed all the voices brilliantly but showed his genius with Ramjut. I loved The Artful Egg and give it 5 stars.
Review copy provided by AudioGo.