Come to Grief read by Tony Britton The Vicar of Wakefield read by Christopher Robbie
Dick Francis's latest novel Come to Grief (Chivers, 10 hrs 46 minutes, pounds 15.95 only by mail order 01225 335336) takes his former champion jockey turned private investigator Sid Halley into macabre new territory. Tony Britton's versatile reading brings buttoned-up hero, distraught green wellie brigade and heavy men in suits into startlingly immediate life. The twists and turns of the plot make it unturnoffable. Oliver Goldsmith's The Vicar of Wakefield (Naxos, abridged, 4 hrs approx, pounds 7.99) is a tragicomic cliff-hanger that pokes fun at aspirations and gullibility but lauds honest virtues. Christopher Robbie conveys Dr Primrose's innocent eagerness, his wife's breathless foolishness and Mr Thornhill's lazy hauteur brilliantly, and makes it easy to understand why this little classic has been in print for two and a half centuries.

Christina Hardyment