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Penhallow

Lu par : Ulli Birvé
Durée : 13 h et 53 min
5 out of 5 stars (1 notation)
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Description

Hated for his cruel and vicious nature, ruling his family with an iron hand from his sickbed, tyrannical patriarch Adam Penhallow is found murdered the day before his birthday. His entire family had assembled for his birthday celebration, and every one of them had the ways and means to commit the crime. As accusations and suspicion turn in one direction and then another, the claws and backstabbing come out, and no one is exempt from the coming implosion.

©1942 Georgette Rougier (P)2015 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

Critiques

"Georgette Heyer is second to none in her ability to make detective stories entertaining." ( The Sunday Times)
"Sharp, clear and witty." ( The New Yorker)
"Rarely have we seen humour and mystery so perfectly blended." ( The New York Times)

Ce que les membres d'Audible en pensent

Notations

Global

  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Histoire

  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Il n'y a pas encore de critique disponible pour ce titre.
Trier par :
  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Townsend
  • 01/06/2015

Not typical of Georgette Heyer

If you love Georgette Heyer for her cheerfully witty repartee and nice cosy plots, don't expect either of those here. If you like edgy, psychological melodrama and don't mind outmoded social conventions and politically incorrect attitudes, you may find this an interesting take on how just about every variety of the emotionally scarred, pushed to the limit, might have reacted "back in the day". Most of the conflict has to do with what is and isn't acceptable behavior for members of various social classes. (Keep in mind that this was written in the early 1940s: we might hope that no one is outraged today when the son of a wealthy family wants to marry one of the maids, but does anyone honestly believe that we have come that far?) "What evil lurks in the hearts of men?" The immortal question of the roughly contemporaneous radio drama "The Shadow" expresses the theme, though we would add, "and from whence cometh that evil?"

Penhallow is not so much a mystery as a novel about a dysfunctional family on a rapid slide into disaster. The nasty tone is set by the opening words: "Jimmy the Bastard", repeated throughout as though it was his given name. The puzzle for the reader to solve is which of the many thoroughly detestable suspects we would most like to see hang for the inevitable murder (which doesn't take place until two-thirds of the way in), and who we would most enjoy seeing get away with it.

Penhallow is the tyrannical patriarch of a huge brood of vipers. If any character ever needed killing, this is he. Almost every other character has good reason to do him in, but while any one of them might well be capable of murder, no one seems quite ready to step in to do the deed. Much of the book consists of unpleasant exchanges between ever-revolving combinations from among Penhallow, his numerous offspring and in-laws, servants, and wife number two. Some of the nastiness is rather delicious, but enough is enough and too much quickly becomes tedious. It would have been better if Heyer had dropped a few of the siblings and brought the delightful sister Charmaine home earlier.

I have long been a great fan of Georgette Heyer, ever since my 8th grade English teacher recommended The Grand Sophy. The historical romances are a pleasant tidbit for my dedicated Jane Austen tastes, but what my cosy side truly adores is her mysteries. When Audible began adding them, I jumped on the chance to re-visit Inspectors Hannasyde and Hemmingway, and resolved to listen my way through the entire Heyer list. For fans of the English country house genre, the mysteries hold up well as a rule, but this a major departure from Heyer's other work. I am ambivalent about my ratings: the writing is good, if long-winded; some of the characters are nicely developed, while others are a bit thin. I can't say I really enjoyed the first half or more and I was leaning towards one or two stars -- everyone is just so completely unpleasant! Once I got to the murder, I was glad to have stuck with it. The ending is, well, avoiding spoilers, let's just say the ending is ..... different. The narration is very good -- except for a few sections of exposition that lapse into a soft, sleepy lull that doesn't fit in with the rest of the book.

I doubt if I'll ever listen to this again. I didn't hate it, but I was glad when it was over. Whew!

6 sur 6 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Kathleen
  • 04/03/2015

Depressing

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The characters were well-written, but the book didn't express any hope of any kind even through trials.

6 sur 7 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    4 out of 5 stars
  • S. Harris
  • 03/01/2016

Very Dark

This is a stepfamily with a cast of characters so unpleasant that no matter the ending it would disappoint. This is not to say that Heyer's writing falls short. I was compelled to keep listening even though Heyer reveals the murderer early on. I was waiting for a redeeming twist. The twist is there, but it redeems no one. This is nothing like the light hearted, tongue in cheek Heyer novels of her earlier years. Still, I think I'm glad I listened.

2 sur 2 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Lorriee
  • 02/03/2015

A story of unintended consequences.

This may not be one of my favorites of Heyer's mysteries, but, I thought it was well worth listening to for character studies. True, these people were victims of their class system and snobbery, a father who would probably be on the short list for sociopathic behavior (not the murdering kind,) a misplaced sense of entitlement by members of the family and finally a realistic approach to the concept that not all things end well in the world of actual human behavior. Perhaps the greatest drawback to this book is that it lacked Ms. Heyer's usual sense of humor in dealing with the absurd society of the time.

Extremely well written, but, not for those who want blue birds and butterflies at the end.

4 sur 5 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Mary
  • 07/06/2018

Appreciated it more as an adult

This is a dark tale about a family tyrant whose intemperate and selfish acts wreak a destructive power over his children and wife. Truly a man of ordinary evil, the ending is tragic but at the same time apt.

Not a happy tale and characters are not endearing. Everyone of them is repellent in their own way, but given their patriarch, not surprising. But it left me thinking of how their lives will progress without his evil influence. Some will escape, some will not, but I think all are better off.

Still worth the listen, but I did need to listen at a little faster speed.

1 sur 1 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    2 out of 5 stars
  • MaJo
  • 16/04/2015

Depressing Story

Lacks her usual wit. It was a struggle to finish listening. This one is at the bottom of my list.

1 sur 1 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    1 out of 5 stars
  • jjaholly
  • 21/03/2015

I disliked this book.

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

No one in my family, we like better endings.

What was most disappointing about Georgette Heyer’s story?

I have enjoyed everything that I have read of hers until this book. It had a lousy ending. Such a waste of a young life. I love her mysteries and her romances. Her characters are done so well. But this book was so heart wrenching. The oldest son didn't deserve all the blame and suffering he got. There was no justice in this book.

What does Ulli Birvé bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The reader did a great job.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Anger, sadness and disappointment.

Any additional comments?

I ten key at work all day. I listen to books to keep my mind busy. Typing numbers can be very boring. However I don't like to cry at work because the book was so sad. It's embarrassing.

4 sur 6 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Valerie
  • 24/07/2017

Disappointed

Not the usual GH novel, as many have said. It was hard for me to get past the slow delivery generously peppered with with quite funny mispronunciations, and in the end it got the better of me. I gave up.

2 sur 3 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    1 out of 5 stars
  • N. Brown
  • 16/09/2018

Whhaaatttt???

What in the world was Georgette Heyer thinking when she wrote this one?? It’s like she couldn’t be bothered to even finish it.
I’ve read all of her mysteries and romances, but this one...what was going on in her own life when she wrote it?
We needed Hemingway to resolve it. But, it took sooooo damn long for the old man to finally get bumped off, that the book should have ended chapters before the crime even happened.
I’m flummoxed, I truly am. What a deadly, cancerous old man....

  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Deborah Clark
  • 14/04/2018

Penhallow

Given that Georgette Heyer has been my favorite author for more than 50 years, I decided to re-read (listen,in this case) to my least favorite mystery, Penhallow. Regrettably, my opinion did not change. Although I found it capably read and well written as all of Me. Heyer's works are, I found it more a dreary and depressing drama rather than a mystery. Lacking Ms. Heyer's signature wit and humour, the story was not leavened by a romance of any note. Not only does the story roll on without her usual Scotland Yard detectives and their lively dialogues, the reader already knows both the murderer and the reason for the crime, and simply follows the story to its tragic end. All said, not really a mystery and not at all to my taste.

Trier par :
  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Nina Maire Voigt
  • 16/05/2018

Not a usual Heyer

This is not one on Heyers typical light-hearted crime stories but more an exploration of humanity and its faults. None of the characters are likable. Usually, I like stories like this - I don't have to like the characters of a book to enjoy the story itself - but I think I enjoy it more when reading rather then listening to unpleasant people all day.