Listen free for 30 days

Listen with a free trial

One credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
Unlimited listening to the Plus Catalogue - thousands of select Audible Originals, podcasts and audiobooks.
Exclusive member-only deals.
No commitment - cancel anytime.
Buy Now for £21.99

Buy Now for £21.99

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Summary

Now I'm in charge, the gates are my gates. The rules are my rules.

It's an incendiary moment for St Oswald's school. For the first time in its history, a headmistress is in power, the gates opening to girls.

Rebecca Buckfast has spilled blood to reach this position. Barely 40, she is just starting to reap the harvest of her ambition. As the new regime takes on the old guard, the ground shifts. And with it, the remains of a body are discovered. 

But Rebecca is here to make her mark. She'll bury the past so deep it will evade even her own memory, just like she has done before. 

After all...you can't keep a good woman down.

©2021 Joanne M Harris (P)2021 Orion Publishing Group

Critic reviews

"A dark world of emotional complexity and betrayal, where twist follows twist and nothing is what it seems. A masterful narrative voice, and a compulsive thriller from one of our greatest writers. I absolutely loved it." (Alex Michaelides, number one best-selling author of The Silent Patient)

"A psychological thriller you can't put down and an antiheroine you won't forget." (Harlan Coben)  

"A dark and richly enjoyable novel that already feels like a classic." (Elly Griffiths) 

"A dark world of emotional complexity and betrayal, where twist follows twist and nothing is what it seems." (Alex Michaelides)

What listeners say about A Narrow Door

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    298
  • 4 Stars
    145
  • 3 Stars
    46
  • 2 Stars
    15
  • 1 Stars
    10
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    361
  • 4 Stars
    76
  • 3 Stars
    26
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    6
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    270
  • 4 Stars
    134
  • 3 Stars
    41
  • 2 Stars
    16
  • 1 Stars
    13

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A school for Scndal

A School for Scandal

This is Joanne Harris’s 4th – and presumably final - crime thriller-novel set in St Oswald’s Grammar School in Yorkshire (I praised Diffrent Class on My Listener page on 9/5/16). It’s also a stand-alone novel which doesn’t require you to have read the previous ones.

After 20 years of struggle, ruthless and determined Rebecca (Bex) Buckfast has burst through the male gates of the now co-educational St Oswald Grammar School to become Headmaster (as the die-hard, gowned, Latin-quoting classics master Roy Straitley persists in calling her). Rebecca had been Rebecca Price (nicknamed Asda by the boys in her previous school) the sister pf Conrad Price who had gone missing from St Oswald's never to be seen again when she was only 5 and he was a teenager, allegedly a model pupil and prefect of great promise. Little Rebecca had gone to the school to wait for him to take her home, but he had never appeared. The truth emerges only at the very end; the rest of the story are the convoluted testimonies of Rebecca and Roy Straitley.

What gradually crawls out is a nest of vipers. Who do we believe? Who should we trust? Who is the man posing as Conrad who returns to dupe Rebecca’s parents out of their life savings? What are the scandals which shrouded St Oswald’s in the past? Was Conrad the best-ever son or the cruel taunter of his little sister? What was Rebecca’s childhood like growing up with parents deafened by their ‘tinnitus of grief’? Are Rebecca’s Caribbean husband and his close family over-cloying, even sinister? Why is Rebecca’s young daughter Emily plagued by night terrors and why is her imaginary friend called Conrad? Most important of all – is Rebecca an unreliable recorder of her own story?

It’s a gripping listen and a fiendishly twisting and clever plot, but I’ve given it 4, not 5 for two reasons. One is that some elements of plot are just that bit too far-fetched – Different Class didn’t fall into that trap. The other reason is Joanna Harris’s ‘gender narrative’ which is over-stressed. I became irritated by the over insistence on the superiority of women in so many unnecessary points in the story and the black picture of men. Such a heavy hand wasn’t necessary – I’d have got the message without the hammer blows of repetition. It would have been the more impressive had it been subtler.

The reading by the two narrators is excellent – fully nuanced with very effective dialogue including the internal dialogue.

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Complexity

I found out after I started listening that there are 2 previous books before this. It was a little difficult for me to know where I was at first....
the story was of interest, I enjoyed the main narrating characters, however the nicknames & real names occasionally threw me.
my main 2 emotions warred at times - sincere sympathy & serious annoyance, almost anger - with Becky. What a flawed family to emerge from!

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great unusual summer read.

I really liked this book. Stephen Pacey was excellent as always. I’m not sure about Alex Kingston, although as an actor I usually really like her. She was a bit overstated I felt and it irritated me. Also from experience public school children don’t usually have broad local accents which jarred with me a bit. I really liked the gender narrative which ran alongside the mystery. To me it was subtle enough to really mean something. The story with the mystery told over time in a way that mirrored the classical themes of the book was unusual and gripping. I’d definitely recommend it.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Awful. Skipped 4 hours

I haven’t read any of the books that come before this but I found this absolutely pointless. It was the same points over and over again and the voices of Mr small face that were meant to be scary just got on my nerves. It felt like a book that had been written just to add another book to a series. I skipped through the last four hours just to get to the end because I like to know what happens but I wish I had never purchased this. Not at all in enjoyable in any capacity for me. Maybe people who have read the previous books would find it more interesting. I will never know as have no intention of reading any more books by this author.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Utterly immersive performance!

Loved it - listened to it all in 2 sittings over Xmas. A good & creepy mystery made even better by Joanne Harris' delicious use of language & truly excellent performances by Alex Kingston & Steven Pacey. Highly recommended!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Like an old friend dropping in

Downloaded this as I like Joanne Harris gentlemen and players and a different class both set in a Yorkshire grammar school
How wonderful to find the third in the trilogy of St Oswalds old friends like Roy Straightly la Buckfast
Alan Jones et al lovingly crafted into this new tome. I just lapped it up and was sorry for it to end

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

FORSAN ET HAEC OLIM MEMINISSE IUVABIT

Terrific and gripping ending to a wonderful trilogy. Two perfectly matched and sympathetic adversaries fight for the soul of a school and for much more besides. There are so many surprising sub- plots, agreeable come-uppances, red herrings, witty one- liners and plausible motives for murder that I had two almost sleepless nights listening to this book in bed and dreaming about some of the action of the book. Read this trilogy!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

a long drawn out disappointment

iI is arrogant of this author to keep her reader strung along so repetetively and to no end- although I couldn't get to the end..

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Strange story

I persevered as long as possible but really did not like this book or the atmosphere it created.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A dark end to the trilogy

I enjoyed Gentlemen and Players and its sequel immensely.
This third book was very dark and I liked it less although I am newish to audible and might have preferred to read the book. Steven Pacey was perfect, the Roy Strateley I had always imagined I wasn’t completely convinced by Alex Kingston and her accent didn’t sound to me to be completely authentic.
Having said that, the plot was clever and gripping, the characters engaging as Joanne Harris’s characters tend to be and I’m glad I finished the book.

1 person found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Liz Lindeque
  • Liz Lindeque
  • 10-05-22

So many questions

It was initially a difficult book to get into, going back and forth in time, and moving from one character to another but was definitely worth it.

Then end is quite shocking and I am left with many questions but this makes me rethink what happened in the beginning of the book. It is definitely a book that needs discussion. I really enjoyed it a lot.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Catricia
  • Catricia
  • 11-03-22

Great plot and perfectly chosen narrators

Really enjoyed this book / Joanne Harris’s writing is wonderfully evocative, the characters and the backdrop of school and home carefully drawn and the plot intricate. Another masterpiece from Joanne; up there with Chocolat!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Ewa
  • Ewa
  • 01-09-21

Great story, somewhat spoiled by performance

I absolutely love Joanne Harris's books, and maybe that was the challenge for me! usually, I cannot put them away until I finish, while this title took me a while to go through... I have to admit it may have been because I really struggled with the performance of the female narrator.
Still a great read!