trying to see the world with my ears
When I read the print version about 20 years ago, I thought it one of the best novels I had come across. I think the audio version's "brilliant re-creation of the 14th century" and plot suffer in abridgement, or perhaps there are just other good historical novels out there these days to compare.
The narration is good and the story is easy to follow, however - and an abridged rose is still sweeter than none.
Late middle-aged amateur gentleman sleuths bumble about their very Brit golf club some time after WWI, joking about Sherlockian logic while postulating how a convoluted murder "hangs together." The mystery is secondary to the eccentrics and their exchanges. It's no surprise to learn the author was an academic priest writing mysteries as his hobby. He probably inspired the young Michael Innis in his craft!
This deserves to be revived for fans of Sherlockian satire. The narrator is wonderful for the old fashioned but melodic dialogue. You may like it if you're a fan of old fashioned British cozies and can ignore some of the dated (but tongue-in-cheek) philosophizing.
I don't think anyone new to the characters (Russell along with King's casting of M & S Holmes) would find this a 5 star listen, but King fans may. There's not much new to the characters, but after a slow start, there is enough atmosphere and winding plot to completely absorb the listener.
You need not have read part 1 - "The Language of Bees" because that plot is nicely summarized in bits distributed through the first quarter of the present work; however, I think to appreciate this listen you need to have gotten to know Mary Russell and the aging Holmes through at least a couple of the previous instalments. Also, you must like Sterlin's narration style because more characters wind their way into the tale than usual.
I think this the strongest in the series next to the first book, "The Beekeeper's Apprentice."