cover image A Murder of Magpies

A Murder of Magpies

Judith Flanders, read by Susan Duerden. HighBridge Audio, unabridged, 7 CDs, 8 hrs., $29.99 ISBN 978-1-62231-602-1

The good news is that Flanders’s humorous debut thriller about the perils of a British book editor is filled with wit and snarky comments, along with shrewd insight into London’s apparently cutthroat publishing scene. The not-so-good news is that reader Duerden has a singsongy manner of speech that eventually detracts from the cleverness of the writing. Otherwise, her delivery—British, breathy, confidential—is a proper, pleasant enough match for Samantha “Sam” Clair, the self-effacing book editor who is the novel’s often-imperiled protagonist and narrator. And Duerden suitably adapts her voice to fit Sam’s glam, glib, razor-sharp corporate attorney mum; her eager and efficient goth assistant; an elderly, gentlemanly upstairs neighbor; and the blasé, slightly short-tempered Insp. Jake Field, who, in the course of searching for an author of Sam’s who’s gone missing, becomes her love interest. A Minotaur hardcover. (Feb.)