Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
I am a great fan of the Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny. "The Beautiful Mystery" is, I think, a not-all-together-successful attempt to move the story along while touching on a different aspect of the French Canadian culture that has been so well presented in the books.
The setting and premise of the basic mystery here are quite intriguing. Murder takes Gamache and his associate to a secluded monastery on a remote island in Quebec. It's a place never visited by outsiders, and the residents have a tradition of silence except for the "beautiful mystery" of their simple yet glorious plainsong chant.
So far, so good. The basic story of this murder is intriguing and interesting, but the problem comes with pulling in the ongoing mystery in Gamache's past. This has been a part of the series' storyline that has always seemed weakest to me -- the conspiracy theory/police corruption incident that has made Gamache something of a saint and a martyr. Penny's attempt to intertwine these two story lines is sometimes quite contrived.
I missed the plots and characters of Three Pines, and hope Penny's next book will go back there! Meanwhile, I think all real fans of the series will want to read "The Beautiful Mystery." But don't start the series here -- it assumes a good bit of knowledge about Inspector Gamache's backstory.
One more picky little thing for those of you who, like me, ask for attention to detail. The music which opens and closes this recording may be nice religious music, but it is not the all-male Gregorian-style chant described in the book.
I have been re-visiting in audio the first volumes in some of my favorite series! William Kent Krueger's is as good as I remembered, and, with David Chandler's terrific narration, listening is even better than reading. "Iron Lake" is full of non-stop suspense and introduces characters who grab your interest and sympathy at once. Ex-Sheriff Cork O'Connor is a decent man with an interesting cultural heritage, a troubled past, and a complicated family life. You'll want to follow him anywhere!
I really love this book! We're back in Three Pines for much of the action, there's an intriguing and touching mystery relating to legendary Canadian quintuplets, and the background plot line which has continued through most of the series progresses nicely.
Louise Penny has a great bag of tricks. She varies her locations, gives us more than one side to each character, and thus keeps us a little off balance with each new book. Who knew she could pull off a longish episode of cyber suspense so well? There's a lot of action (computer and real time) in this addition to the series. The wonderful cast of characters and the humor are front and center - add this to the usual spot-on narration of Ralph Cosham, and you have a very satisfying addition to the Inspector Gamache series. If you haven't read them, I'd advise starting at the beginning with "Still Life" and going through them in order.
I am a voracious reader (average about 4-5 Audible books a week, in addition to those I "eyeball".) I have been hooked on recorded books since the time of cassettes/CDs and was thrilled when I became an Audible member in 2007. I find reader reviews good guides to spending my credits, so have finally decided to write a few (although, I would rather be reading!)
The protagonist, Cormoran Strike, is an ex-military policeman who lost a leg during service and is now trying to make ends meet as a PI in London. His "girl Friday", a temporary secretary named Robin whom he can't afford (but can't seem to turn away) arrives on a day his life's ebb hits a low point. I loved the rapport between these 2 characters.
I can't overstate how much I enjoyed this novel. One would never know by the lyrical writing, the twisty plot line and well-developed characters that this is a debut for Robert Galbraith.
My only disappoint is that the book ended and I didn't have anything else by Galbraith to read! I anxiously await his next book, which I hope continues Strikes' story.
Robert Glenister's narration is perfect!