Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy.
I have loved every single book in this series about Lady Georgiana Rannoch, an impoverished distant cousin of the queen, whose life is a constant search for finding a secure place somewhere. Her peculiar circumstances, of being a "royal" but without any money or training for a career, has left her open to having to go to new places, where she meets people and gets herself into situations where intrigue and murders occur. Naturally, she is the clever one who winds up solving the mysteries.
This was the absolute best in the series so far--and the wait was worth it! Katherine Kellgren, the most talented narrator, has outdone herself with the amazing versatility she shows for creating different voices. I have never "read" one of the books in this series (always listened to these recordings of them) but cannot imagine doing so, after listening to Kellgren's delightful readings of them. There are just not enough superlatives available to describe the range of her vocal skills. The stories are loads of fun--they are genuine mysteries, but with a subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) mockery of the aristocracy, laugh-out-loud funny much of the time, and genuinely quite addictive! I recall that the first of the series I ever read, I chose with some skepticism, since that does not sound like the typical books I read--but by the end of the first chapter of the first book, I was a confirmed follower of Rhys Bowen's Lady Georgiana series. The author, the narrator and the uncommonly clever writing work together in a way that many recorded books do not.
In this book, Georgiana goes to a lush mansion with Lady Edwina, a wealthy duchess with great pretensions, to help her teach a long-missing grandson how to behave properly in his new place in society. However, when the young Australian outback, sheep-farming youth meets his royal and very pompous, grandiose grandmother--the outrageous fun begins--along with the murder.
If you choose to listen to this book--it would be wise (and fun) for you to begin at the beginning of the series. However, it would be fine to begin with this one--I believe it could be a great stand-alone book on its own.
M. R. C. Kasasian has written a charming and mischievously witty mystery which takes place in 1882 England. Audible gives us the option to "view the series," but this is the only book that shows. There must be more somewhere, because, as fun as this book was--especially to listen to (kudos to the delightful reading of Lindy Nettleton!), it unfortunately ended with almost all of the major points cleared up, except one: who is the mystery person that March Middleton, the newly claimed ward of Sidney Brice--detective who is known by all the city, is writing to?
It opens with March Middleton leaving her home, after her father's death, and going to the home of Sidney Brice, a well-known (Sherlockian-style) detective to live as his ward. She finds him shockingly outrageous, overly dramatic, seldom patient with her, often rude to everyone, and yet, somehow, she forms an attachment to him. We find ourselves in yet again another Watson-Sherlock knock-off. This one most resembles Laurie King's Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series.
At first I wanted to yawn and just get through it, but then I realized it was growing on me. In King's series, Sherlock has formed a genuine attachment to the young Mary Russell, but in this one, although there are brief moments when Sidney Brice appears to have some personal care and concern for his new young ward, they are fewer and farther apart. Brice is similar to Holmes in that he has the incredible ability to see clues where others don't, which leads to solving crimes, but even as remote from emotions as we view Holmes, I would say that Brice is created to be a bit more blatantly narcissistic, and somehow it does not work quite as well. I was a tiny bit put off by his character, even while basically enjoying the book as a whole.
I felt it was a credit well-spent, but since the author left things unfinished with one character (minor to the reader I guess, but very important to March Middleton), the purpose of whose very existence is left somewhat unclear, it would seem that there must be another book in this series to pick up where this leaves off. But Audible does not seem to have it (perhaps will in the future). It will not hurt in listening to the story, since he is not central to the solving of the crime, but it just left me feeling a bit disappointed. Guess I just like things to be neatly tied up at the end :-)
In most books, I have to listen for a while to get all the characters and situation in my mind. In this one, I was hooked almost from the first sentence. I'd had this in my library for a while, and passed it by, not feeling inspired by the notion of an amnesiac detective trying to solve a separate, different crime. What astonishment I felt when I realized that this is one of the best-crafted, well thought out, engaging and wonderfully narrated mysteries I've encountered in quite a long time.
Anne Perry, who wrote this many years ago,has assembled a challenging story of a double mystery (Monk's own identity and that of a murder) in a way that is neither overly complicated to follow nor challenging to one's belief system. I had thought the premise might have been a bit over the top, so avoided this book. Don't do it! This is a great book--one that I find notable for both it's writing style and it's good mystery.
I believe the beginning, the unfolding of how Monk discovers that he doesn't know who he is, is exceedingly interesting, credible, and works so very well with the story as a whole. His search for his own identity is taking place as a quiet, private matter while he works a very public case for the "Peelers" (newly formed police department in Victorian era London).
Many people have already written reviews about this--I want to echo the ones that praise it. Perry's weaving of the two plots in and out is very skillful and very rarely strayed into a forced conversation or interaction between characters to get to where she was leading the reader (listener). Just for the actual skill of assembling this book I would give it 5 stars. The narration by the excellent Davina Porter is a plus that just put it over the top for me. I only wished it could have been longer--I didn't want it to end! Highly recommend!