Friday, December 16, 2011

"Markheim" by Robert Louis Stevenson

Source: LibriVox (mp3)
Length: 44 minutes
Reader: William Coon

The story: In desperate need of money on Christmas Day, Markheim approaches a local pawnbroker.  Markheim's evil intentions go beyond just selling stolen goods. His deeds, however secretive, do not go unnoticed. A touch of the supernatural enters into the story, bringing the tale beyond the usual trappings of a dark crime story and into a discussion of the nature of evil and the powers of free will.

This story strongly reminded me of Crime and Punishment (previously reviewed) with both its general outline and its themes. The major difference is  the addition of the supernatural into the story. This addition allows Stevenson to open up the story into the future and past, but also into the soul of Markheim and investigate the essence of his being. With only a fraction of the length of Dostoevsky's novel, Stevenson is able to visit many of the same themes.

Rating: 8 / 10

The Reader: Coon is a superb reader. He builds the tension of this story so that the listener feels the growing psychological horror of the crime. Even though this recording dates to the early days of LibriVox, Coon's recording is clear and well-made.

photo by wallg via flickr. Creative Commons by attribution, non-commercial, no derivatives

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