At the Villa Rose


Read by Nicholas Clifford (1930-2019)

(4.5 stars; 218 reviews)

Harry Wethermill, the brilliant young scientist, a graduate of Oxford and Munich, has made a fortune from his inventions, and is taking a vacation at Aix-les-Bains. There he meets, and immediately falls in love with, the young and beautiful Celia Harland, who serves as companion to the aging but warm-hearted Madam Dauvray of Paris. All this is observed by Julius Ricardo, a retired financier from the City of London, who spends every August at Aix, expecting there to find a pleasant and peaceful life. Imagine his consternation when he learns that Mme. Dauvray has been brutally murdered, and imagine Harry Wethermill's consternation when he learns that every finger of suspicion is pointed at the now vanished Celia Harland.
Implored to do so by Wethermill, Ricardo asks his friend Inspector Hanaud, the great detective of the Paris Sûreté (who is also vacationing in Aix) to involve himself in the case so that the truth may come out. Hanaud agrees to do so (with the permission of the Aix police, of course), and goes to work. Will he be up to the job? And will Harry Wethermill ultimately be glad that he called in the great man? We can only wait to find out. But surely Hanaud will exercise his powerful little grey cells – one of several characteristics he shares with a famous Belgian detective of later decades, and indeed some scholars of mystery stories suggest that Agatha Christie, in her invention of Hercule Poirot, owes a debt to Mason and his invention of Inspector Hanaud. And indeed Julius Ricardo has than a passing resemblance to Arthur Hastings, Poirot's sidekick, who is invariably a few confused steps behind the detective.
(Introduction by Nicholas Clifford) (7 hr 22 min)

Chapters

01 - Summer Lightning 14:56 Read by Nicholas Clifford (1930-2019)
02 - A Cry for Help 26:25 Read by Nicholas Clifford (1930-2019)
03 - Perrichet's Story 6:17 Read by Nicholas Clifford (1930-2019)
04 - At the Villa Rose 23:22 Read by Nicholas Clifford (1930-2019)
05 - In the Salon 19:23 Read by Nicholas Clifford (1930-2019)
06 - Helene Vauquier's Evidence 39:48 Read by Nicholas Clifford (1930-2019)
07 - A Startling Discovery 17:45 Read by Nicholas Clifford (1930-2019)
08 - The Captain of the Ship 22:11 Read by Nicholas Clifford (1930-2019)
09 - Mme. Daubray's Motor-car 20:06 Read by Nicholas Clifford (1930-2019)
10 - News from Geneva 13:42 Read by Nicholas Clifford (1930-2019)
11 - The Unopened Letter 19:32 Read by Nicholas Clifford (1930-2019)
12 - The Aluminium Flask 20:47 Read by Nicholas Clifford (1930-2019)
13 - In the House at Geneva 19:19 Read by Nicholas Clifford (1930-2019)
14 - Mr. Ricardo is Bewildered 19:34 Read by Nicholas Clifford (1930-2019)
15 - Celia's Story 27:51 Read by Nicholas Clifford (1930-2019)
16 - The First Move 17:28 Read by Nicholas Clifford (1930-2019)
17 - The Afternoon of Tuesday 17:51 Read by Nicholas Clifford (1930-2019)
18 - The Seance 29:00 Read by Nicholas Clifford (1930-2019)
19 - Helene Explains 24:40 Read by Nicholas Clifford (1930-2019)
20 - The Geneva Road 11:20 Read by Nicholas Clifford (1930-2019)
21 - Hanaud Explains 31:00 Read by Nicholas Clifford (1930-2019)

Reviews

Story is good, reader is great


(4 stars)

There were a lot of details to follow and it got confusing at times. The reader is fabulous and does a great job. I enjoyed the book, but I could have done without so many plot twists.

Murder mystery


(5 stars)

The summary covers the plot nicely without giving anything away. This mystery is quite complex with a number of turns before the true culprits are revealed. I had to re-listen to a couple of chapters to get all of it. Oddly the bad guys are caught in the middle of the book, but the true motives and culprits are revealed slowly during the remaining chapters as told from different viewpoints. The reader did an excellent job, and the recording quality is excellent.

Diabolical Thievery, meets "Drats!"


(5 stars)

I adore these, "Who DunnIt" mysteries, and this was wonderful. The story leads me into my favorite pass time of, wild imaginings, dark corners and sharp twists, while landing me gently, into a Happy Ending. Pair that, with the amazing voice & incomparable reading talent of, Nicholas Clifford, and you have a deliciously entertaining way to pass the hours.

Good


(5 stars)

I did like trying to find a comparison with Christie's Poirot . but I do like her characters better although this was very well then and I really enjoyed it lots of twists and turns


(5 stars)

Love this reader. He doesn’t make fake voices and he reads with clarity and smoothness. So lovely to listen to. The book is involved and complicated but very interesting and offers glimpses into culture.

Quite excellent


(5 stars)

This was a surprisingly well written story. I listen to a lot of mysteries from this period and most are good but this was great. Excellent volunteer reader as well.

Convoluted


(5 stars)

a good mystery which gets convoluted @ times. You need to pay really close attention or you'll get lost. Definitely don't recommend for bedtime listening because of the intense concentration required.


(5 stars)

The story is complex and suspenseful. I plan to read more in the series. The narrator was excellent and handled the French pronunciation of the characters' names with clarity.