cover image Doctor Death: A Madeleine Karno Mystery

Doctor Death: A Madeleine Karno Mystery

Lene Kaaberbøl, trans. from the Danish by Elisabeth Dyssegaard, read by Nicola Barber. HighBridge Audio, , unabridged, 7 CDs, 9 hrs., $34.99 ISBN 978-1-62231-660-1

Danish novelist Kaaberbøl’s historical mystery, set in the French village of Varbourg in 1894, is the first of a proposed series featuring 19-year-old Madeleine Karno, who lives with and assists her father, the coroner. Madeleine yearns to become a pathologist just like her father and ends up assisting the town commissioner in an intriguing investigation. It begins with two unconnected deaths—a young girl who may have died from natural cause and a priest who has been fatally bludgeoned. Though Madeleine narrates the story, actress Barber has wisely chosen to avoid a theatrical French intonation, except for the proper pronunciation of names and places. Her natural, youthful, precise British accent works quite well, especially when reflecting the efficient, self-controlled character’s subtly varying emotions. Madeleine’s father sounds properly stern and paternal, and the commissioner speaks with kindness. The abbess character is cold and aloof; the novices in her charge vary from silly to sinister; and there are a couple of vicious killers who, thanks to Barber, use their words like weapons. [em]An Atria hardcover. (Feb.) [/em]