Carr, Margaret - 'Blindman's Bluff' (Unabridged Audiobook) read by Judith Porter
Kate Deverill is an actress in London bus she has slowly been losing her sight and has been unable to hold down any job let alone any acting roles. Down on her luck and turned away from her last hope, he is standing on a bridge and looking down at the water below, when she is grabbed by a man and a woman. They recognise her and call her Catherine but she does not know them. She flees and with her blurred vision she collides with a lamppost and loses consciousness. She awakens and finds she is completely blind. The man, Alex, apologises to her and realises he has made a mistake. However he will pay for her to attend a specialist eye clinic if she will help him. He asks her to masquerade as his wife Catherine who disappeared a year ago. He hopes that the charade will force Catherine to reappear and so clear him of suspicion of murdering her. Aside from the hospital bribe, Kate resembles Catherine so closely they must be related and as Kate was abandoned as a baby she may be able discover who her parents were.
Kate accompanies Alex to the family home in Scotland, a castle called Shielcraig. The castle is inhabited by Catherine's parents Rowena and Douglas, and Rowena's twin sister Isabel, who only comes out at night. One of them is not happy to see Kate/Catherine as she’s not been there long before she's poisoned. After a successful eye operation she returns to Shielcraig to play the greatest role of her career so far, that of a blind woman, in order to find out who and why someone wants her dead and also to help out Alex, with whom she's fallen in love.
This was an enjoyable listen, with good narration from Judith Porter who has to play mostly Scottish characters, and I'll look out for more by her. The answer to Catherine's disappearance is in keeping with the gloomy, gothic-y feel to the story which reminds me a little of work by Victoria Holt and possibly Mary Stewart. It's quite a short book, 4 cassettes, so the pace is kept up. Kate's fear at losing her sight and belief that there would be no point in living may be a touch overdone but she becomes much more likeable when her sight is restored.
Written in 1976, the print version is hard to get hold of but I recommend this audio version, especially if you like romantic suspense.
Karen Meek, England