Mystery Month feature: narrator Katherine Kellgren

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Booklist’s 2011 “Voice of Choice” award-winner Kellgren has won every conceivable audiobook honor in recognition of her astounding command of the medium. I asked Katherine Kellgren to share a few thoughts about narrating the Mystery genre, and learned that she enjoys voicing both adult & youth titles equally. Plus, she sent along two freebies – a hilarious sample of the spectrum of her accents and a download of an entire audiobook perfect for family listening.

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Here’s Katy:

In recent years, I’ve had the good fortune to be able to record two mystery series set in and around London during two fascinating periods of it’s history- the 1930’s and the Victorian Era. One is for adults, one is aimed at children, but they both feature feisty young heroines making their way in the world and becoming truly modern and independent whilst simultaneously solving crime. The adult series, Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen (Brilliance/Audible), recounts the adventures of Lady Georgiana Rannoch, a self-confessed “minor royal” who is thirty-forth in line for the throne of England. Due to the profligate habits of her late father the Duke, her family lives in genteel poverty, and the options laid out before her are not terribly inviting. Either she must marry well (her family continually dangles before her a particularly repellant Romanian Prince whom she privately refers to as “Fish-face”), or perhaps become a lady-in-waiting to a certain elderly great-aunt in deepest Gloucestershire “Years ahead of walking the Pekinese and holding knitting wool danced before my eyes” she shudders. Instead of doing either she strikes out on her own to become an accidental detective of sorts, solving crimes ranging from cold-blooded murder to the theft of Queen Mary’s snuffbox. In the course of her adventures, she comes into contact with historical figures (Noel Coward, Coco Chanel and Wallace Simpson all make appearances), as well as a panoply of eccentric characters. Mustachioed colonels, monacle-weilding dowagers, glamorous flappers and the like flit in out out through the pages of the novels, all buoyed by Ms. Bowen’s deliciously witty dialogue. These books are always an absolute treat to record!

The series for children, Enola Holmes by Nancy Springer (Recorded Books), tells the story of the younger sister of master detective Sherlock Holmes. Instead of going along with the plan of her brothers Sherlock and Mycroft that she should be shipped of to finishing school, Enola runs away from home and sets herself up in London under a false name as a “Scientific Perditorian”(finder of persons and things lost). She proves her courage, intelligence and independence through her series of adventures – even her ability to outwit Sherlock Holmes himself! It’s a joy for me as a narrator to tell their stories to listeners of all ages, and to spend time in the company of two such resourceful, strong and spirited young women.

I’m so glad the lovely Ms. Kellgren stopped by the blog to close out Mystery Month. And I am excited that I’ll see Katy tonight at the Audies Award ceremony, where she is nominated for seven Audies awards – including TWO Royal Spyness titles by Rhys Bowen: Heirs and Graces and The Twelve Clues of Christmas. If you’ve never heard a Kellgren narration, or if you are one of her legion of fans, check out this link to Rhys Bowne’s blog post about the fabulous audiobook versions of her books, and listen to the Soundcloud “interview” below with the panapoly of quirky characters.

And be sure to grab the FREE download of the entire Enola Holmes mysteryThe Case of the Cryptic Crinoline the week of July 17 – July 23, part of the summer-long SYNC promotion of 26 FREE audiobooks. This perfect family listening audiobook is paired with The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes II – a match made in Mystery heaven!

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About the Author:

Mary Burkey is an independent library consultant in Columbus (OH). An enthusiastic audiophile, she has served on all four of ALA's audiobook award committees as well as the Audies. In addition to writing the "Voices in My Head" column for Booklist, she is the author of Audiobooks for Youth: A Practical Guide to Sound Literature (ALA, 2013). Follow her on Twitter at @mburkey.

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