What a difference a narrator makes

Unnatural I’m listening to another audio book version of P.D. James’ Unnatural Causes as part of my revisit of the Adam Dalgliesh series. This one is narrated by Michael Jayston and it’s nearly a completely different book compared to the version narrated by Penelope Dellaporta.  Jayston’s version captures the contradictions that make Adam Dalgliesh a fascinating character. It seems possible that Dalgliesh really is a policeman and a poet – always the toughest part of the character to make believable. He handles Dalgliesh’s frustration at being hounded by murder even on holiday without it coming across as selfish whining. Dellaporta, a skilled reader, makes the same material too prim. Her Dalgliesh isn’t exactly whiney but he is fretful. Too often is sounds like she’s offering knitting advice. Dellaporta strikes me as being perfect for coziness of a Miss Marple story. For P.D. James’ cool yet remorseless assessments of murder and human nature Michael Jayston is THE quintessential reader.


Stacy said...

I'm glad I found someone who thinks like I do. I'm just starting with PD James novels and Penelope Dellaporter's reading of the novels is leaving me highly frustrated. All the characters sound like cranky, uptight old women. I don't feel like I'm listening to a murder mystery at all when she reads. I shall try the other narrator's version and see if I enjoy the novels better.

Summerisle said...

I agree. Dellaporter’s reading is hardly bearable. Prententious in the extreme.