MRS. BRADLEY'S AUDIO ADVENTURES
by Jason Hall



In additon to Diana Rigg's television portrayal of Gladys Mitchell's colorful psychoanalyst sleuth, fans of Mrs. (later Dame) Beatrice Adela Lestrange Bradley now have another option: Isis Audiobooks presents five of the author's titles on audiotape or CD. Classics like Death at the Opera , When Last I Died, Tom Brown's Body and The Saltmarsh Murders are offered unabridged, as is the interesting late-period title Noonday and Night.

It should be noted that Gladys Mitchell's first two novels, Speedy Death and The Mystery of a Butcher's Shop, were adapted for BBC radio in the 1990s. Vibrant character actor Mary Wimbush voiced Mrs. Croc, giving her a hearty and disquieting laugh that unsettled suspects and listener alike. Sadly, I do not think these radio shows are available.

I recently revisited When Last I Died as an audiobook during a lengthy driving trip, and was very pleased with what I heard. Narrator Patience Tomlinson brings the author's cast of characters admirably to life, and while Mrs. Bradley isn't quite as mellifluous in her speech as I had imagined her to be, all of the detective's slyness and humor came through. Gladys Mitchell's evocative descriptions and well-crafted (and at times lengthy) prose, while highly appealing on the page, are a little less magical when spoken aloud. I needed to pay attention to process sentences and sentiments that I could digest more easily as a reader, and one with the luxury of returning to a passage that didn't get absorbed with the first pass.

Still, I had a great time with the story of When Last I Died on audio, which was as smartly structured and full of life as I remembered. I'm looking forward to listening to the other mystery titles, and want to tell fans that they now have a few options to hear these books!



You can purchase these audio titles on cassette tape or CD through the UK site of Isis Audiobooks. You also have the opportunity to purchase three of the unabridged books by visiting the US site Audible.com, which is a service of Amazon.com. The process is simple, as the file is saved to your computer and you're able to play it via iTunes or move it to an mp3 device, or you can burn each book to blank CDs for future listening. Audible.com currently does not offer Death at the Opera or Noonday and Night, but I hope they are added in the future. I'd also love to hear of even more beautifully read titles offered through Isis.

I'm very glad to see Gladys Mitchell's works represented as audiobooks, as it means that new fans have another chance and medium to discover this great author and her wonderfully eccentric detective. And for those of us who are already acquainted, we have another way of enjoying these tales!