The String of Pearls

Read by LibriVox Volunteers

(4.2 stars; 24 reviews)

The tale of Sweeney Todd has had many incarnations, most famously the stage and movie musical by Stephen Sondheim. But it all started in 1846 with a serialized telling of the story titled “The String of Pearls” in the weekly magazine “The People's Periodical and Family Library”. Called by some a romance, by others a horror story, it is one of the earliest murder mysteries. In “The String of Pearls”, Sweeney Todd is less sympathetic than in some of his later incarnations – a perfect villain, totally self-seeking with no redeeming qualities. How the deeds of Todd are uncovered and how he is brought to justice make a most intriguing tale, but one probably not suited for the very young and certainly not for the squeamish. (Summary by John Lieder). (11 hr 41 min)


01 - The Strange Customer at Sweeney Todd's 23:30 Read by musil
02 - The Spectacle Maker's Daughter 20:45 Read by musil
03 - The Dog and the Hat 23:25 Read by musil
04 - The Pie-shop in Bell Yard 18:29 Read by Catharine Eastman
05 - The Meeting in the Temple 17:29 Read by fablis310
06 - The Conference, and the Fearful Narration in the Garden 26:45 Read by redabrus
07 - The Barber and the Lapidary 9:17 Read by Christine Blachford
08 - The Thieves' Home 27:17 Read by redabrus
09 - Johanna at Home, and the Resolution 23:09 Read by redabrus
10 - The Colonel and His Friend 35:57 Read by redabrus
11 - The Stranger at Lovett's 16:14 Read by Christine Blachford
12 - The Resolution come to by Johanna Oakley 31:32 Read by fablis310
13 - Johanna's Interview with Arabella Wilmot, and the Advice 25:30 Read by redabrus
14 - Tobias's Threat, and its Consequences 10:11 Read by HC
15 - The Second Interview between Johanna and the Colonel in the Temple Gardens 12:42 Read by Christine Blachford
16 - The Barber Makes Another Attempt to Sell the String of Pearls 12:03 Read by Christine Blachford
17 - The Great Change in the Prospects of Sweeney Todd 13:17 Read by krithiga
18 - Tobias's Adventures During the Absence of Sweeney Todd 20:42 Read by Lucy Burgoyne (1950 - 2014)
19 - The Strange Odour at St. Dunstan's Church 15:10 Read by Lucy Burgoyne (1950 - 2014)
20 - Sweeney Todd's Proceedings Consequent upon the Departure of Tobias 19:43 Read by Lucy Burgoyne (1950 - 2014)
21 - The Misadventure of Tobias. The Mad-House 14:25 Read by Lucy Burgoyne (1950 - 2014)
22 - The Mad-House Cell 13:59 Read by Jennifer Stearns
23 - The New Cook to Mrs. Lovett's Gets Tired of his Situation 16:32 Read by Jason Mayoff
24 - The Night at the Mad-House 9:37 Read by Christine Blachford
25 - Mr. Fogg's Story at the Mad-House to Sweeney Todd 37:20 Read by John Lieder
26 - Colonel Jeffery Makes Another Effort to Come at Sweeney Todd's Secret 20:23 Read by Jennifer Stearns
27 - Tobias Makes an Attempt to Escape from the Mad-House 11:18 Read by redabrus
28 - The Mad-House Yard, and Tobias's New Friend 10:23 Read by Christine Blachford
29 - The Consultation of Colonel Jeffery with the Magistrate 11:57 Read by Jennifer Stearns
30 - Tobias's Escape from Mr. Fogg's Establishment 45:07 Read by redabrus
31 - The Rapid Journey to London of Tobias 8:04 Read by redabrus
32 - The Announcement in Sweeney Todd's Window. Johanna Oakley's Adventure. 9:29 Read by Christine Blachford
33 - The Discoveries in the Vaults of St. Dunstan's 15:02 Read by HC
34 - Johanna Alone. The Secret. Mr. Todd's Suspicions. The Mysterious Letter 9:22 Read by Christine Blachford
35 - Sweeney Todd Commences Clearing the Road to Retirement 10:41 Read by Jason Mayoff
36 - The Last Batch of the Delicious Pies 11:53 Read by Cori Samuel
37 - The Prisoner's Plan of Escape from the Pies 15:45 Read by HC
38 - Sweeney Todd Shaves a Good Customer. The Arrest 14:07 Read by M. W. Jackson
39 - The Conclusion. 12:34 Read by Aaron Elliott


excellent story

(4 stars)

LIBRIVOX STAFF: please please make this a dramatic reading. it would be amazing that way! VOLUNTEER READERS: jason does an excellent job! Blachford is a fine reader, but needs to slow down. rushing through the reading made it hard to grasp everything happening in the story. Redbrus and HC dod horrible, I am sorry. the accents and bad pronunciations and computer like rythem of reading made several chapters almost unbearable if the story had not been so interesting. STORY: a great tale and even though u know the mystery its a great story w the way it is pieced all together. AND an unexpected twist at the end makes it really great. excellent book!

good story, okay narration

(4 stars)

The story is really good, and if you're a fan of the Sweeney Todd movie or musical, be prepared that this story is very different. I was genuinely surprised by a reveal in the last chapter which made the story even better. However, the narrators are only okay. I generally have a harder time with books narrated by multiple people and some of the narrators in this book are better than others.

Needs Better Readers

(4 stars)

Very good story. Sweeney Todd is a 1st class character who should have his very own book. The readers were EXTREMELY underwhelming. Please commission Mike Bennett for a proper reading.


(3 stars)

Great story, but the readership was extremely polarized: a couple were quite good, but most were mediocre at best. One read like she was training for the Olympics, so I was very glad for the new 'rate of reading' feature. This book would really benefit by having a second version done of the reading. Mark Nelson, maybe? (hint, hint)

(3.5 stars)

the ready for chapter 26 sounds like shes got a cold or something. all other readers were good. great story.

sweeney todd

(5 stars)

Reading is well done, with great character voices.