What Abigail Did That Summer Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
The new Rivers of London novella, from Sunday Times number one best-selling author Ben Aaronovitch.
Ghost hunter, fox whisperer, troublemaker.
It is the summer of 2013, and Abigail Kamara has been left to her own devices. This might, by those who know her, be considered a mistake. While her cousin, police constable and apprentice wizard Peter Grant, is off in the sticks, chasing unicorns, Abigail is chasing her own mystery. Teenagers around Hampstead Heath have been going missing but before the police can get fully engaged, the teens return home - unharmed but vague about where they've been.
Aided only by her new friend Simon, her knowledge that magic is real, and a posse of talking foxes that think they're spies, Abigail must venture into the wilds of Hampstead to discover who is luring the teenagers and more importantly - why?
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|Listening Length||4 hours and 56 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||18 March 2021|
|Best Sellers Rank||
5,532 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals)
38 in Cosy Mysteries (Audible Books & Originals)
80 in Women Sleuth Mysteries (Audible Books & Originals)
170 in Police Procedural Mysteries
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Top reviews from Australia
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In this novella the precocious yet highly likable Abigail is the hero, with Peter away in rural England and Nightingalemaking a very brief appearance at the conclusionof the story. Abigail negotiates the magic of London and prevails against maleficent house. BA has again used London as a set and character to great effect, and creates typically English dramatis personae that draw.the reader into the plot quickly and completely.
I look forward to the next Rivers of London full-length novel with great anticipation.
Top reviews from other countries
Abigail, you may recall, wants to learn magic (this book explains why she she is so keen - I can see trouble down the line there) and is therefore studying Latin. She has featured before in both the Rivers books and comics, which have stressed her affinity for the talking foxes who live on the Heath. Here we learn more about them (mainly, what a puzzle they - I can see trouble down the line there, too).
It's summer, Abigail is out of school and a bit bored, with time on her hands. She's also observant (partly through Peter's influence, perhaps, although I suspect mainly not), extremely bright and, of course, aware of the magical world. If anyone is going to spot the magical background to the disappearances (and reappearances) of kids on the Heath, it's going to be her. And of course she's going to want to investigate...
What follows is, I'd say, one of the lighter of the Rivers books. Like them, we learn a lot about a particular part of the city - this time, the Heath - and its relation to the Rivers. Like them, the protagonist is thoroughly at home on her own turf (or as Abigail calls it, her "ends" - the book is peppered with London youth slang - 'Simon's mum is Fed-adjacent in some way' which is helpfully footnoted where needed). Both Peter and Abigail are Londoners born and bred, in turn with the sounds and smells of the city and aware at once when something is a bit... off. ('You don't grow up small, mouthy and mixed race in North London without picking up a few tricks'). Whether you call that magic or not, it always gives them a head start in getting to the bottom of things. In tune with that, Aaronovitch is always at his best when describing the physical or the social geography of London: how the house prices one side of a street are higher than this on the other, the particular whiteness of a given social setting, where a river was paved over to make streets, the history of the bathing ponds on Hampstead Heath. Not only describing, but building his story on it.
So when Abigail stumbles into a perfect 1970s dinner party out of time (yes, an Abigail's party, what else?) the setting is perfect not only down to contemporary events - the 3 day week, the miners, Vietnam - but to the minutiae of social strata that the past layers on the present. (Or is it the other way round?) Just as he is with the interaction between lower class, mixed race Abigail and strikingly wealthy (for a supposedly mid ranking civil servant, she's a Grade 7 for goodness sake) Simon's mum, mentioned earlier. (I don't think she would be able to afford that house, there's something that is, as Abigail might say, definitely dodge there).
All of this is really me trying to say that the world Aaronovitch creates here is so rich, so well done, that you're almost at risk of getting distracted form the plot, so please do pay attention, because - while I'm obviously not going to say a great deal about what happens: spoilers! - it is a clever and twisted thing that has Abigail running in circles and having to bargain, bribe and promise here way through London's demi-monde (as it's called here: a magical substrate to the city, not a society of artists and courtesans). I think some of those deals and exchanges she makes may, also, be storing up trouble ahead...
In all, another EXCELLENT contribution to this series and a book I basically consumed at one sitting - because why stop when the writing's as good as 'I use a fountain pen because it's like writing on money' or 'an ornamental knocker that looks like it should have the face of a dead banker but doesn't'? Or when Aaronovitch is riffing off Douglas Adams ('it's radiating happiness in exactly the way a clown doesn't') or doing bitter humour ('Nobody ever accused me of being good at happy')?
No, there's no sense in stopping for a moment, or delaying reading this. I should aapologise to the book I was meant to be reading when What Abigail Did That Summer came along, mugged me for my attention, and loudly monopolised my reading time. But, do you know - I'm not sorry AT ALL.
I'm very pleased that Abigail has her own rather creepy mystery to solve, with the assistance of the talking foxes and others. I would say that some of the story felt a bit more Dr Who than Peter Grant (but I am very fond of The Doctor, so I shouldn't complain). It was short, novella rather than a novel, so some of the ideas were rather abrupt but still very interesting. There were moments though, Thistle for instance, which felt full on Peter Grant with a hint of Shakespeare and the descriptions of London which are very good indeed.
For me 4.5 stars rather than 5, just a few more chapters would have been really nice.
This book is intriguing, engrossing and delightful. I love the foxes, Simon is lovely and Nightingale and the river goddess Fleet makes an appearance.
The nods to other books appear as we've come to expect, Gaspode the Wonder Dog, books by the author of the Water Babies are used as research and more, I know I missed some, I'm now on my second run-through so am already finding more.
I dont like the footnotes, they add nothing to the story and are just that teeny bit condescending and smart to sit well in the text.
And you don't bale out of a bus, you bail out.
I'm afraid I've no idea if this intended as a YA fiction. FWIW it does feature the use of swear words, though not at the level Peter Grant sometimes achieves, and references to sex and drug-use, though nothing explicit.
PSA out of the way, the novella moves along at a good pace with an intriguing plot. Now, while I am a big fan of the series, I have some times felt the novels have ended unsatisfactorily. Basically I've been left feeling, "What just happened?" not so with 'Abigail . . . ' While not everything is wrapped up neatly and completely explained, and that's not necessarily a bad thing, there is still a satisfying ending to the story.
I say "ending" because the novella does leave things open for more adventures with Abigail. And if Ben Aaronovitch does write more of them, I'd be very interested in reading them.