William the Pirate by Richmal Crompton

read by Martin Jarvis (unabridged)

Richmal Crompton's prose richly justifies unabridged reading - and although the splendid quarter-hour BBC broadcasts deliver satisfying summaries of the beginnings, middles and ends of these exceptional tales, only the complete texts can do justice to the complex moral and social parables that are the William stories - and to the subtleties of characterisation they contain.

Martin Jarvis expertly conveys all the intricate wit and instinctive wisdom portrayed by William and the outlaws, together with the foibles and solipsisms of William's parents and siblings and the vast cast of relatives, domestics, teachers, shopkeepers, visitors and others - including the incomparable Bott family. Jarvis gives to each his or her particular nuances and individuality.

These are stories that can be listened to time and time again and will delight all ages. Let us hope that the whole of Crompton's works will receive this treatment - and that the books will always stay in print.

* * * * *
© 2008 AudioBooksReview