Review of Sleeping Beauty by Ross MacDonald

Aural Noir: Review

Mystery Audiobook - Sleeping Beauty by Ross MacDonaldSFFaudio EssentialSleeping Beauty
By Ross MacDonald; Performed by a Full Cast
6 Cassettes – Approx. 7 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Audio Partners
Published: 1978
ISBN: 1572700491
Themes: / Mystery / Private Investigator / Dysfunctional Family / Murder / Family Secrets / Missing Person /

When Lew Archer takes home a distressed woman and she disappears with a lethal dose of his sleeping pills, he feels obligated to find her. What he finds is a past of family secrets that has lead the family into a downward spiral. Archer will have to untangle the secrets if he hopes to get the lady back alive.

After an accident from a ruptured oil well off the coast of southern California, Archer finds a beautiful lady crying with an oil-soaked seagull grasped to her breast. He takes her home and finds her disagreeable. After she leaves he notices that she had taken his bottle of prescription sleeping pills with her. Her name is Laurel Lennox Russo, and she is the granddaughter of the man who owns the offshore oil well that has ruptured, literally, in the back of his lakefront house.

This wonderful production offers a rarity in audiobooks; an unabridged full-cast recording for adults all done with impeccable direction. The director of the production and voice of Lew Archer is by Harris Yulin. He offers the right amount of concerned yet disenchantment that Archer feels. The dialogue is snappy and you can feel Archer’s presence as he interviews/interrogates this small family community. The cast, which includes Ed Asner, Richard Masur, Stacy Keech, and Veronica Cartwright, does a great job. There are over 30 people lending their voices to this audiobook.

The direction was handled deftly. The novel is in first person, and Harris Yulin voiced Lew Archer’s inner monologue close to the mike and centered in the stereo field. When Archer was talking to another character, the ambience of the setting came through and the characters were separated in the stereo field. There was also added ambience of the external sounds flowing into the scene. Exterior scenes had traffic noises, seagulls, and jets. In interior scenes you get a sense of the size of the room.

Instead of just a great audiobook, I felt I was listening to an extended, seven-hour radio play. Whether you’re a fan of Ross MacDonald or are new to his writing, this audiobook comes highly recommended.

Posted by The Time Traveler of the Time Traveler Show