Review: Anna Katharine Green – Initials Only
Anna Katharine Green: Initials Only, audio: librivox volunteers, project gutenberg public domain book, 356 pages/ 9:36h

Over the years, I’ve listened to many of Anna Katharine Green’s mysteries, and I liked them. They are well written, and the audios were OK, too (even if the mispronunciation of various words grated on me, but it is librivox policy to never correct pronunciation, unless the reader asks for it).

This book was different. It was not a solo recording, but a collaborative one, and an early one, dating from a time when neither the recording equipment nor the recording software were particularly good. And so, this specific book and recording were a mixed bag.

The story is boring. It starts out well, then goes off on a tangent pretty early on, and although we get to know the ‘whodunnit’ and how, it is far from satisfying. No explanation of the murder device, a flimsy excuse as to the why… if it hadn’t been for a challenge which required me to either read or listen to a book starting with the letter I, I wouldn’t have finished it. The characters are flat and one-dimensional, they don’t develop, and there’s not a single person I really connected and felt with. Only Streetwater shows some promise.

Some chapters were of very bad sound quality, others I couldn’t understand due to the accent of some of the readers, so I had my kindle read those chapters to me, and the computerized voice was a lot better than the recording in those cases.

On the whole, this wasn’t an experience I enjoyed, since the story didn’t make up for the at times very poor audio. I truly wouldn’t recommend this book (in print or otherwise) to anybody.


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