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The Cryptic Lines by Richard Storry

The Cryptic Lines

by Richard Storry

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Come and join the treasure hunt.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect with this book, The Black Talisman was a bit too dark for me, but The Cryptic Lines was excellent. In addition, I was very fortunate to have been listening to the audio version, narrated by Jake Urry, so the whole experience was just wonderful.

We meet Charles Seymour as he battles a storm to enter the rambling old house of Lord Alfred Willoughby. The old gentleman has made several alterations to his will over the years, and it is Charles's job to effect these changes into the ever-changing document.
Lord Alfred's wastrel son, Matthew, is the subject of the latest changes; he is to be dropped from the will. Unfortunately Lord Alfred dies suddenly, having just thrown his last will and testament into the fire. Charles has the job of going through the old man's documents, now that his client is effectively intestate.
He discovers that Lord Alfred has left his son one last chance, a 'treasure hunt', devised to allow Matthew the opportunity to prove that he can apply himself to a task and stick with it. A poem provides a series of clues to a hidden sapphire, if this is found within a specified time, then Matthew will inherit, if not, then all will be given to charity. To Charles's surprise, he, himself, is also included in this hunt, in competition with Matthew.
The two men decide to work together and thus ensues a mysterious unravelling of clues and rushing about the estate.

Needless to say, they do succeed, it wouldn't be much of a story otherwise, but the denouement really made this book for me and I will admit to a small tear in the corner of my eyes at one point.
If you have a spare Audible credit, I highly recommend this book in audio, the narration is perfect. I'm just so sorry it has ended. I think I will be listening to this again in the future. ( )
  DubaiReader | Nov 14, 2017 |
4.5 stars
*This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review at my request.

Two weeks to do as Alfred wishes in order to decide who inherits his fortune. Or they lose it all, being donated to community programs. His attorney or his son. They both must solve the clues to find one gem to win his large fortune. Who will it be?

This is a first for me with listening to Jake Urry. He has a relaxed yet formal sound to his voice that fits for Charles and the story being told. There is, however, a small sound of his voice as if there is something passing in front of him as he spoke, giving a small sound difference as though he's behind something. Jake performs some great personalities present with Charles, Alfred, James, and even Matthew, who lives up to what his father and butler voiced of him. This gives the characters a feel of having their own personalities in their voices. None of the words feel rushed, on the contrary they feel methodical and well thought out as Jake speaks them.

The prologue is a short poem by Rudyard Kipling. I'm guessing this is to set the feel of the book and possibly what the story is derived from, based on the synopsis.

The story starts with the description of the home to give it a creepy feel. The description feels to fit the cover rather well. Great selection for the cover.

Charles has arrived at Heston Grange on this stormy night to meet with Lord Alfred Willoughby per the Lords request in order to amend his Last Will and Testament, yet once again. The man adjusts his will to fit who is in standing with him at any given time. Alfred is elderly in age but mentally sharp as a whip and still physically traversing with ease.

By the time we get to the reading, or viewing, of the will I was curious as to what was said. And how Lord Alfred Willoughby's son would take the details of the will. Then, when I get to hear it.... oh the game begins!

Is Matthew as bad of a person as Alfred, his father, and James, the butler, think he is? A scoundrel. Or is the person that Charles sees the true Matthew? I'm curious as to which way this will go. We are meeting Matthew for the first time with Charles and he seems like a good person... But there's James telling Charles to beware. I'm baited. lol. Then there are small glimpses we get of Matthew. Oh to see how he turns out.

If Richard were to be the creator of a mystery night or party to search for clues, I would TOTALLY be there! I was taken by the crafty design of the hidden clues for Charles and Matthew to follow. I really had no idea where the clues would take us and what Charles and Matthew would have to do to get to the next clue. It was neat how this place was built and how Alfred planned it all. Crafty in design and kept me curious.

In the end, I had a feeling how things would work out. Though, there were additional details I had not expected here shared in a heartfelt letter. This letter touched my heart with how well written and vocalized it was done.

This was not scary in any means, but suspenseful in not knowing what would lead to the next, and all fitting together to get to the next clue. Even the characters felt to hold true to their character and reveal in the end.

I felt this was excellently written and performed. ( )
  MelHay | Dec 4, 2016 |
Lord Alfred Willoughby has finally passed away. His solicitor, Charles, must see to his will, which holds quite the surprise! Once Willoughby’s adopted son Matthew views the will, then the race is on for cryptic poems to be deciphered, more clues discovered, and hopefully the final fortune to be won before the time limit is up. Set in a Gothic mansion somewhere in the British Isles, this tale holds much suspense and a little bit of trickery.

This was a delicious suspenseful book, perfect for the Halloween season. The story opens with a rainy storm and the death of rich, old Lord Willoughby. James, the butler, helps Charles to find Willoughby’s important papers. Eventually, Charles finds a film, which is actually Willoughby’s recorded will. After viewing it, they track down Matthew, Willoughby’s wayward son. From there, the story turns into a treasure quest. Poems contain clues and those clues lead them all over the sprawling estate. This tale is complete with hidden passage ways, an actual crypt, and nearly forgotten family secrets.

While the 4 main characters are all male, there are two more characters, Mrs. Gilkerry (housekeeper/cook) and Meg (retired maid) who are more than they seem. First, I really enjoyed Mrs. Gilkerry’s cooking. The descriptions of her meals made my mouth water. Who says English cooking lacks flavor and zest? Meg doesn’t come into the story until much later so I won’t reveal too much about her. However, I will say that the discussions with her provided some humor in the middle of this tense book.

This treasure hunt reveals much about the natures of not only Charles and Matthew, but also Lord Willoughby. In a way, Charles learns more about his client’s private life through this quest than he ever would through his legal duties. Matthew has a long history of being a bit of a scoundrel, only returning home when he gets into more trouble or debt than he can manage. This hunt provides a background to show his true mettle: misunderstood man who made some mistakes or a man who truly lacks a moral compass? The ending has more than one secret to reveal! The winding suspense was excellent and I quite enjoyed taking an afternoon to read this. My only wish is that I had enjoyed it on a dark and stormy night.

I received this audiobook at no cost via The Audio Book Worm.

The Narration: Jake Urry was a really good choice of narration for this book. I loved his proper English accents along with his range of voices for all the characters. I especially loved his voice for Meg. Here and there, the characters reveal some emotion and Urry portrayed those emotions quite well. ( )
  DabOfDarkness | Oct 31, 2016 |
My original The Cryptic Lines audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

Wealthy Lord Alfred Willoughby is worried about what will happen to his estate when he dies. Strictly speaking, his son Matthew should inherit the fortune. But the boy has become a reckless squanderer. Quite cunningly, Lord Alfred decides to teach Matthew the value of gaining something through effort and perseverance. He devises a kind of treasure hunt and to make it even more enticing he involves another totally unassuming competitor in the pursuit of the fortune.Set in an expansive, traditional manor house in Britain, Richard Storry skillfully created the fitting atmosphere and provided vivid descriptions for this charming cozy mystery. The plot becomes far more complex than you would initially expect, and there were some great twists and turns with some revelations at the end that were totally unexpected. The premise is a bit different from the usual murder mysteries and was a lovely change. With its subtle humor and well-written prose, it was an immensely enjoyable and engaging listen.

Set in an expansive, traditional manor house in Britain, Richard Storry skillfully created the fitting atmosphere and provided vivid descriptions for this charming cozy mystery. The plot becomes far more complex than you would initially expect, and there were some great twists and turns with some revelations at the end that were totally unexpected. The premise is a bit different from the usual murder mysteries and was a lovely change. With its subtle humor and well-written prose, it was an immensely enjoyable and engaging listen.

Jake Urry proved to be exactly the right narrator for this story. His rhythm and pacing followed the plot appropriately, switching to a wonderfully ominous tone in the right places. James, the butler, was my favorite character in this story and Jake portrayed him brilliantly, exactly as you would imagine a traditional British butler. He also managed to perform the voices of two elderly female characters with a believable, fitting pitch. There were no issues with the quality of the production at all.

This was an all-around solid, enjoyable audiobook that I would highly recommend to anybody who likes cozy mysteries, British mysteries, mysteries without the standard hunt for murderers. Great entertainment!

Audiobook was provided for review by the narrator. ( )
  audiobibliophile | Jul 18, 2016 |
The Cryptic Lines was a delightful cozy mystery set in a sprawling old manor house somewhere in Britain. It was really different, as there were no dead bodies to be discovered or murderers to be hunted. Instead, the plot centers around a rather unusual treasure hunt to determine who would inherit Lord Alfred Willoughby's vast fortune. His squandering son Matthew is hoping it will be him. But there is also another unassuming contender. The story was beautifully written with subtle humour and reminded me of the traditional Agatha Christie mysteries. I adored the loyal butler, James. What a great character. Some of the reveals at the end were not what I had expected at all. A very satisfying end to the story. This was a really entertaining, light listen that kept me completely engaged for the full 4 hours.
Jake Urry was a new narrator for me. He had a lovely cadence that seemed very fitting for the story and switched to a great ominous tone where appropriate. There were two elderly ladies' voices that were performed admirably without any of the grating high-pitched tones that male narrators frequently use. His rendition of James was perfect, just as you would expect the classic British butler to sound like. I was really impressed how he managed to make the 'old' characters sound appropriate for their age because Jake Urry is actually a very young narrator. A very talented new voice artist.
Great fun. Would definitely recommend for fans of cozy mysteries.
I received the audiobook version in exchange for an unbiased review. ( )
  Pet12 | Jun 8, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 150848841X, Paperback)

Set in a sprawling gothic mansion in a remote coastal location, somewhere in the British Isles, the elderly recluse Lord Alfred Willoughby is deciding what is to become of his vast fortune after his death. 
Whilst his head is telling him to leave nothing at all to his wastrel son, Matthew, his heart is speaking differently. 
After much deliberation, in a last-ditch attempt to try and show to his son the importance of applying himself to a task and staying with it to the end, he devises a series of enigmatic puzzles cunningly concealed within the lines of a poem - the cryptic lines. 
If he completes the task successfully and solves the puzzles he will inherit the entire estate; but if he fails he will receive nothing. 
However, from Lord Alfred's Will it emerges that Matthew is not the only interested party. The mysterious old house holds many secrets, and nothing is as it first appears...

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 08 Jun 2016 07:20:00 -0400)

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