cover image Mr. Chartwell

Mr. Chartwell

Rebecca Hunt, read by Susan Duerden. Random House Audio, unabridged, seven CDs, 7 hrs., $32 ISBN 978-0-307-87993-6

Audio buffs looking for something different will find this an original. Depression, in the guise of a black dog who stands over six and a half feet tall in his top hat, arrives in London in the summer of 1964 to lodge at the home of Esther, whose husband killed himself two years earlier. But the hairy, talkative, and slobbering Mr. Chartwell, who prefers to be called "Black Pat," must first tend to Winston Churchill, who is about to retire from politics. Susan Duerden, best-known for her role as Carole Littleton on Lost, provides a wonderful portrayal of Esther, who is both tempted by and afraid of Mr. Chartwell. Unfortunately, Duerden's characterizations of Black Pat and Churchill are less successful: she gives Black Pat a hardly foreboding purr, and cannot master Churchill's distinctive voice. A Dial hardcover. (Mar.)