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'I'm not a Frenchie! I'm a Belgie!'

I've taken up listening to audiobooks in the car. For someone like apete, who actually has a commute from home to work, this makes sense. For me, it's a little weirder, because I live about five minutes from work. But I'm enjoying my literature, even if it does just come in short bursts. It's also accompanied me to such exciting destinations as Cincinnati and Delightful Downtown Hamilton (just minutes from shopping and fun!), which the format is a bit better suited for.

The current audiobook in question is Agatha Christie's Evil Under the Sun, as read by David Suchet. Mr Suchet has taken it upon himself to create for each character a unique voice with which to read their dialogue. Major Barry's a sort of "Jolly good what what" sort of voice, Miss Brewster's rather schoolmarmish and Hercule Poirot sounds just like himself (can't imagine why). There are two characters I have problems with, though:

The voice of Mrs Gardener, the overbearing vacationing American, sounds as though David Suchet had never read any of her lines before sitting down to record them - and is just learning to read. The accent is just fine, but all of the lines are read in a strange, slow-sounding sing-song voice with no punctuation, as though each syllable is an entity unto itself and has no connection to any of the syllables surrounding it. Maybe Americans have a reputation for eating punctuation. I know that we tend to go up at the end of a statement so that it sounds like a question, but her lines fluctuate up and down throughout. But in this case, a line like "Who's bathing? Captain Marshall?" instead is delivered as "WHO'S bathING Captain Mar-SHALL." Who's bathing Captain Marshall indeed? Captain Marshall, I hope. Otherwise he smells.

Patrick Redfern, who as far as I can remember was never mentioned in the text as being Irish, is read with a voice that sounds like the Lucky the Leprechaun mixed with Father Dougal McGuire. It's hard to take him seriously and to believe that the dead starlet would have actually been interested in him when I keep expecting him to declare that "Oh m'god, she's been murdered! And someone's stolen me Lucky Charms!"

srah - Tuesday, 22 November 2005 - 5:02 PM
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Comments (7)

gravatar Milo - November 22, 2005 - 5:16 PM -

What did Ralph win?

gravatar srah - November 22, 2005 - 5:47 PM -

Alright, I don't get the Milo reference. :(

gravatar Milo - November 22, 2005 - 6:07 PM -

Murder by Death... A movie you might like to check out.

gravatar chrispy - November 23, 2005 - 8:27 AM -

It sounds like you're listening to a high school model united nations meeting....

gravatar srah - November 23, 2005 - 9:38 AM -

I haven't seen it in a long time... but that is where the Frenchie/Belgie reference came from!

You're good, whoever you are.

gravatar alfie - November 23, 2005 - 12:46 PM -

Ah....Murder By Death, featuring young James Cromwell, Peter Falk, Eileen Brennan and so many more. Maggie Smith. David Niven.

gravatar Amanda - November 23, 2005 - 1:37 PM -

I actually just finished listening to that book myself. It didn't take up much of my long commute, though. Having just watched a bunch of Jeeves and Wooster, it seems that many British people trying to do American accents come out sounding the same, and like they're not quite thinking at the same rate as everyone else.

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