Length: 1 hour, 5 minutes
Reader: Tim Bulkeley
The story: Maurice Leblanc, a contemporary of Arthur Conan Doyle, created the character of Arsene Lupin, a character as popular in France as Sherlock Holmes is in the English-speaking world. In many ways Lupin is the anti-Holmes: where Holmes is English, analytical, and dedicated to catching criminals, Lupin is French, emotional, and is a criminal himself. Yet like Holmes, Lupin usually ends up on the side of good, stealing from the rich and unscrupulous with a style that is dashing and charming.
In this story, Leblanc, who is both the real-life author and the in-story character chronicalling the exploits of Monsieur Lupin, explains how he first met the Gentleman Thief. The tale, which begins with an unusual robbery and involves a hole-punched seven of hearts as a calling card, is as much a baffling mystery as any of Conan Doyle's creations. When we finally get to meet Lupin, the brains behind all the machinations, we are introduced to one of the great characters of fiction with many more stories to come.
The reader: Bulkeley has a rich, pleasing British accent that gives this reading a sense of style. He performs each character with his or her distinctive voice, even doing a decent falsetto for the lone female character. Bulkeley does stumble a few times and seem caught off guard by the structure of a sentence here and there, but overall, this is an outstanding reading.