• Scandal in Babylon

  • Silver Screen Mysteries, Book 1
  • By: Barbara Hambly
  • Narrated by: Pilar Witherspoon
  • Length: 9 hrs and 38 mins
  • 3.9 out of 5 stars (12 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

“You shall never have a penny of my money. Leave me alone or I will shoot you dead!”  

The year 1924. After six months in Hollywood, young British widow Emma Blackstone has come to love her new employer, glamourous movie-star Kitty Flint - even if her late husband’s sister is one of the worst actresses she’s ever seen. Looking after Kitty and her three adorable Pekinese dogs isn’t work academically minded Emma dreamed of, but Kitty rescued her when she was all alone in the world. Now, the worst thing she has to worry about is the shocking historical inaccuracies of the films Kitty stars in.  

Until, that is, Rex Festraw - Kitty’s first husband, to whom she may or may not still be married - turns up dead in her dressing room, a threatening letter seemingly from Kitty in his pocket.  

Emma’s certain her flighty but kindhearted sister-in-law has been framed. But who by? And why? From spiteful rivals to jealous boyfriends, the suspects are numerous. But as Emma investigates, she begins to untangle a deadly plot - and there’s something Kitty’s not telling her....

©2021 Barbara Hambly (P)2021 Recorded Books

What listeners say about Scandal in Babylon

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A nice retelling of an earlier story

I prefer the original story as it appeared in “Bride of the Rat God”. It was a bit disconcerting to have so many of the characters recycled into similar roles. Perhaps it could be seen as an alternate universe

1 person found this helpful

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Recycled Hambly

Bride of the Rat God recycled for woke readers. It doesn't work. Read Bride.

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Thoroughly enjoyed the story! Not so much the narrator.

I was thrilled to find this return to Hollywood from Barabara Hambly. My affection for these characters continues to grow as their lives develop. Ms Hambly’s wonderful descriptions bring the setting brilliantly to life as she does in any world about which she writes. It is not in any way a repeat of Rat God but a completely different story with the same characters.
Sadly I did not enjoy the reader’s performance with repetitive odd emphasis on words like to and from, or inappropriate pauses, and terrible mispronunciation of historical names. This pattern of reading often indicates something other than the actual meaning of the sentence and has little to do with the action or emotion of the passage. It distracts from the story in a way that gets very old by the time the action really gets going.

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Great for flavour; the mystery didn't enthrall

It's a bit of an odd duck, in that the characters are very clearly based on Bride of the Rat God, but with different names and zero supernatural influences. I'm not sure why Ms Hambly decided to write an Alternate Universe instead of just continuing her first series, but it was still nice to see characters I had affection for continuing their lives and working through some of the knots set up in Bride.

It's delightful for Old Hollywood Flavour (though I'm not a historian and can't tell you how accurate it is). As ever, Ms Hambly has gorgeous descriptive prose and a deep sympathy for the people she writes - the heroes, the villains, the supporting cast, the clowns...

I was, however, disappointed by the denouement, which just sort of came out there with not much foreshadowing. Oh well. I loved the characters sorting out their lives, and that's a pretty big plus.

The narrator is good - nice voices, and works through action scenes well. I thought she was a little too posh for Emma Blackstone, but it's a small complaint.

All in all, a good listen.

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  • Catherine Campbell
  • 11-02-21

Good book, indifferently read

This is an excellent book, but the reader seemed to struggle with the longer words.

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  • The Curator
  • 09-16-21

Dreadful narrator

I found the narration to be very odd. I don’t ask for perfect accents but the strange cadence and stress on the wrong syllable of straight forward words made it unlistenable.

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