The Devil’s Feast
M.J. Carter, read by Alex Wyndham. HighBridge Audio, unabridged, 9 CDs, 11 hrs.
In 1842, Carter’s Victorian duo, raffish private inquiry agent Jeremiah Blake and his more sedate companion and observer Captain William Avery, spend their entertaining third adventure attempting to identify the poisoner responsible for murders at London’s very powerful, very political Reform gentlemen’s club. British actor Wyndham, the reader of all three novels, developed splendidly appropriate voices for his leads in book one, The Strangler Vine. Now he adds subtle flourishes. For example, narrator Avery (generally anxious and mildly peeved at being behind the curve set by his streetwise multilingual associate), here trying to go it alone with Blake in Marshalsea prison, sounds even more agitated and overstressed than usual. As for Blake, when he finally joins the sleuthing, forced by circumstance to work disguised as Avery’s obedient manservant, his normal churlishness is intensified. Wyndham has a fine time creating arrogant and insipid voices for the Reform clubbers and goes all-out hilarious portraying the club’s brilliant French celebrity chef Alexis Soyer in all his heavily-accented, self-aggrandizing, manic and yet charming grandeur. A Putnam hardcover. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 06/26/2017