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Publisher's Summary

In Bloomsbury, London, Inspector Brook of Scotland Yard looks down at a dismal scene. The victim of a ruthless murder lies burnt beyond recognition, his possessions and papers destroyed by fire. But there is one strange, yet promising, lead - a lead which suggests the involvement of a skier. 

Meanwhile, piercing sunshine beams down on the sparkling snow of the Austrian Alps, where a merry group of holidaymakers are heading towards Lech am Arlberg. Eight men and eight women take to the slopes, but as the CID scrambles to crack the perplexing case in Britain, the ski party is soon to become 16 suspects.

©1952 Estate of Carol Carnac (P)2020 Soundings

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Cozy mystery

I’m a fan of E.C.R Lorac so knew I would enjoy this. I’m an even bigger fan of David Thorpe. He did a good job as the narrator. I’m sure it was a challenge with so many characters but he hit the nail on the key ones.

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Terrible narrator

This narrator makes every female character sound whiny or shrill. This isn't the first book where I've had that problem with this narrator. He really shouldn't be doing this as a career.

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  • Aurora
  • 01-26-21

Terrible narrator.

I love the British Library Crime Classics, I've read or listened to almost all of them. Soundings have used this narrator more and more, and he is, frankly, terrible. This story has several female characters and one of these is voiced at a constant shriek. This has made the book one that I will be returning, and not the first read by him that I have returned. I assume that the story is good, but as I have been unable to listen, so I can't really comment on that aspect. The rest of his narration is staggering arch, bordering on contemptuous. In future, I really don't think I'll even try anything else read by him. Please Soundings, find another reader.

5 people found this helpful

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  • catsatcastle
  • 12-09-20

A delight

I am so pleased able to read a Carol Carnac book, having enjoyed the ECR Lorac ones very much. I hope there are more to come.

There is a pleasing investigation side and the policemen are capable and imaginative. What makes it such a joy to hear is the attention to character, atmosphere and the details of the way life was lived. There is a skiing trip involving 16 comfortably-off people who travel across Europe by train and bus and do not even consider flying; sidelights on currency restrictions; a Europe that had a Russian Zone; a London showing the effects of bombing; even the effects of tourism. This is all just part of the fabric of the story and not, as it might be now, painstakingly researched and put in whether or not it added to the story. Carnac writes elegantly and occasionally amusingly.

I like David Thorpe's readings but it has to be said that he did struggle a bit to make the very large cast of characters distinctive in the early chapters. However, some emerge as the more important characters and those do come across well and clearly so it’s not a hardship.





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  • Portia of Notts
  • 12-14-21

Thoroughly enjoyable mystery!

E.C.R Lorac's narrative is alternated between the skiing party in Austria and the Scotland Yard detectives working to solve the murder in London where a body is found in a boarding house fire. Both story threads were woven beautifully and the denouement is in the middle of a snowstorm on Alpine mountain slope.

It was great fun to drop into CID Rivers and Sergeant Lancing's conversations and most of the characters in the skiing party were well developed and likeable.

Lorac was great in her settings whether it was dreary January in London or snow and sunshine in the Alps.

It allows us a glimpse into life in post-war Britain on how rules and regulations affected people's lives then and now resonates through our Covid ridden world with the Pandemic travel restrictions.

Thoroughly enjoyable mystery!

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  • Demelza Harris
  • 09-05-21

Charming fireside listen nostalgic evoking who done it!

I love this book. No spoilers.
Beautifully voice acting as characterisation by David Thorpe .especially the Soothing voice of chief inspector Rivers is wonderful.(in fact all are brilliant.)
Plot is intriguing and keeps your interest.
Lovely descriptions of the mountains of Austria ,having been there I was almost there again in my imagination.minus the skulduggery.
Give it a go.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-11-22

Atmospheric and interesting

As usual, this author (AKA E.C. Lorac) evokes the settings brilliantly. The ending seemed to come a little abruptly and I would have liked more detail in the revelations but the plot was enjoyable and kept me me guessing. I don’t understand other reviewers’ issues with not being able to distinguish characters or women being shrill - Gillian is quite squeaky but that seems in character and Jane in particular has a much more serious voice. I was quite happy with the narration.