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31Dec

Letters of Note compiled by Shaun Usher audiobook review – a missive success

This book was brilliant in written form and it’s even better in audio, with a cast of famous voices elevating hilarious, horrifying and moving historical epistles

The popular compendium of correspondence from history is brilliant in book form, but it takes on a whole new dimension in audio. An eclectic treasure trove of letters written by musicians, actors, poets, writers, explorers, dictators and more, this year’s updated edition is read by a host of actors including Noma Dumezweni, Toby Jones, Juliet Stevenson, Gillian Anderson, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Colin Salmon and Stephen Fry.

The letters are variously life-affirming, devastating, wilfully mundane, subtly acidic and sometimes downright creepy. Listeners can hear Olivia Colman reviving her cut-glass accent from The Crown as she reads the Queen’s recipe for drop scones that she sent to the US president Dwight D Eisenhower, as promised during his visit to Balmoral, and Alan Cumming hamming up Jack the Ripper’s famous “From Hell” dispatch to George Lusk, chairman of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee. The letter was sent in 1888 with a preserved human kidney.

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