The other day, Mrs. P and I were chatting on Facebook about the P.G. Wodehouse novel French Leave, which she and Mr. P are currently enjoying listening to on an audiobook.   I asked who was doing the narration, to which Mrs. P replied that the book was being read by the actor Jeremy Sinden.

My friends, those of you who drop by for a glass of port on a regular basis have, I suspect, formed your own views as to the lengths of ol’ Robbo’s eccentricity and the tangled and matted strands of thought that clutter up what passes for his brain.  Well, I’m afraid that whatever your estimation, it’s about to get worse, because I must be the only person on the planet who instantly recognized in Sinden the actor who played both Boy Mulcaster in Brideshead Revisited AND Gold Two in Star Wars.

And I sometimes wonder why I have all these headaches……

Anyhoo, that aside.  What I really wanted to talk about was this biznay of books on tape, something to which I have never really warmed.  Most people tell me that they enjoy them either while exercising or else on long drives.  For myself, I don’t think I could concentrate properly if I were trying to listen to a book while hoofing it on the treadmill.  And as to long drives, I have become over the years something of a silence crank, preferring the background hum of the road as an aid to my musings, rayther than actively listening to anything.  I don’t even much like musick on such trips anymore.  In fact, on our last family jaunt over Thanksgiving, I so arranged things that Mrs. R and the gels were all plugged into their iThingies and I, as it were, had the car to myself.  Everybody wins.

So I don’t actually have anything against books on tape.  I just don’t care for them myself.

French Leave, as it happens, is not one of my favorite Wodehouse novels.  For a different taste of things French, I recommended that Mrs. P give Hot Water a try.  One of my very favorites.  Apparently, she already has it.  I don’t know if Sinden narrates that one, too, but if so, he’s certainly got his hands full in terms of variety of character.  The stories concerns at least five gradations of Americans (a millionaire Yale football player, a Senator and his daughter, a self-made businessman and his wife, a con artist (who pretends to be a French nobleman) and a safecracker), a real French nobleman who is drunk most of the time, an Earl’s daughter, a Mayfair “artiste” and various female detectives.  How does one go about handling such a mob?  Does one attempt to pitch one’s voice?  Or read it straight and hope for the best?