22 July 2018

Review: SECRET SANTA - Cherringham 25, Matthew Costello, Neil Richards - audio book

  • sourced at Audible
  • Narrated by: Neil Dudgeon
  • Length: 2 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
    Release date: 12-21-17
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Lübbe Audio
Synopsis (Audible)

Bill Vokes has played Santa at the children's Christmas show for years. But with the show just hours away, he vanishes with no explanation. The whole village is baffled. Did something bad happen to loveable Bill, upstanding citizen, churchgoer, life and soul of the party and the holiday season? Jack and Sarah are on the case - and soon discover there are secrets about this Santa that no one could have imagined...

Cherringham is a serial novel à la Charles Dickens, with a new audio episode released every two weeks. Set in the sleepy English village of Cherringham, the detective series brings together an unlikely sleuthing duo: English web designer Sarah and American ex-cop Jack. Thrilling and deadly - but with a spot of tea - it's like Rosamunde Pilcher meets Inspector Barnaby. Each of the self-contained episodes is a quick listen for the morning commute, while waiting for the doctor, or when curling up with a hot cuppa.  

My Take

If you do a bit of short journey travelling, these short audio books can become a bit addictive in the style of MidSomer Murders, where a remarkable number of deaths occur in a small village community. They are cosies, intellectually undemanding, nothing too macabre happens, and there's a lot of "common sense". I like the way Neil Dudgeon handles the narration, and also the development of the main characters Jack and Sarah.

My rating: 4.2 

About the authors
Co-authors Neil Richards (based in the UK) and Matthew Costello (based in the US), have been writing together since the mid 90's, creating content and working on projects for the BBC, Disney Channel, Sony, ABC, Eidos, and Nintendo to name but a few. Their transatlantic collaboration has underpinned scores of TV drama scripts, computer games, radio shows, and - most recently - the successful crime fiction series Cherringham.

The narrator of the audiobook, Neil Dudgeon, has been in many British television programmes including the roles of "DCI John Barnaby" in "Midsomer Murders" and "Jim Riley" in "The Life of Riley". He is also known for his film roles in "The Nativity", "Sorted" and "Son of Rambow". In 2012, Dudgeon starred as "Norman Birkett" on BBC Radio 4's Afternoon Play series written by Caroline and David Stafford.

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