I was glued to this book for all 27 hours -- and the funny thing is, having read the book at least three times since it came out in 1973, I knew exactly what was going to happen. Clearly, it wasn't the element of suspense that got me -- even though there was still plenty of that. In a book this long, lots of things happen that I'd forgotten, or glossed over, before. Then too, listening to a book as compared to reading it, there are always things that seem new, that I hadn't considered before. But the big delight in listening, again, was just watching it all unfold -- seeing Edward X. Delaney plot, plan and scheme to take down the evil Daniel Blank for whom, ultimately, it's hard not to feel some level of compassion. The staid but quirky Delaney is on a par with the world's most memorable detectives -- Holmes, Piorot, Whimsey, and even Columbo, of whom he reminds me in some vague fashion (probably his absolute doggedness, in refusing to ever consider giving up or even backing down.) Bottom line, I loved this book -- absolutely loved it. Now I'm looking forward to all the rest of the "sins", wishing, for the first time in my life, that there were more than seven.
One of my favorite series of all times, these books by Susan Hill featuring the enigmatic Simon Serrailler, the non-doctor, third-of-a-set-of-triplets, contemplative sort of police detective who outdoes Adam Dagleish every time. "The Various Haunts of Men" is the first in the series, and while not exactly required to read or listen to them in order, it helps.
This book has everything -- story, fascinating and complex chatacters, family issues, a baffling crime (ie series of crimes), plenty of tension and maybe most importantly, a whole string of people you come to care about, many of whom continue into subsequent books.
Susan Hill is remarkable. No one creates characters like she does, and no one spins original stories with more veracity. These are people you know, with all their strengths and faults, their hidden sins and unexpected virtues.
Steven Pacey's narration is perfect -- just the right pace and tone.
The only real problem with these books is pacing yourself -- there aren't that many, and you can only read them for the first time once.
I'd never heard of the author or 'Maisie Dobbs' before, but since the locale and time period are of interest, I decided to take a chance.
There's so much of value in this book, all in addition to the perfectly acceptable plot and complex, well-formed characters.
Maisie Dobbs is one of the newly-independent women in England, forced to become so because so many millions of men were killed or damaged during the Great War, they had no alternative to supporting themselves. She becomes an inquiry agent -- and this is one of her cases. She's also a psychologist, and througout the book, her psychological insights help her find the answers she was hired to find.
If you like 'period' mysteries -- Anne Perry, Charles Todd, Victoria Thompson, Michael Cox -- you'll like this series.
I like the detection alpects of these books, of course I do. But beyond that, it's all the tidbits of information the author includes -- how people lived, dressed, spoke, thought and interacted -- that adds to the charm.
A bunus in the audio version is a half-hour interview with the author, who tells how hard she works to keep the books technically accurate. Of particular interest were her comments about how words bounce back and forth between the continents, coming into vogue here or there, at various times throughout the centuries. For example, the word "smog" was in use in 1904 London -- we just think it's a modern term.
I'm looking for more "Maisie Dobbs" books -- and hope they're all narrated by Orlagh Cassidy, who gave a marvelous performance. I was sorry to see the book end.
"Messenger of Truth" is a fine book in every sense. You won't be disappointed.
trying to see the world with my ears
First, what this is not: The title does not signal any kind of Dan Brown clone--no holy grail stuff. Also, when this novel was written (and where) a priest involved in scandal did not immediately mean a sex abuse story line - so don't pass on this for that reason. Also, this is not a faith-based novel; the series (though not this instalment) draws a little on the tradition of priest sleuth, but no affection for Catholic faith is necessary to like the priest character. Neither is this edge-of-seat stuff: There is no graphic violence and no explicit sex - any violence or sex necessary for the plot are obliquely described.
This is a combination mystery-legal-detective procedural with elements of a traditional village cozy transplanted to an identifiable Canadian city, Halifax. The novel starts slowly but picks up after first quarter. It is somewhat predictable - but the mystery is secondary to character and setting (and establishment of story lines feeding the series).
The narration is good but does not have good regional infections; however, generalized accents are much better than bad regional ones. Two quibbles with the narration: There are more priests with thick Irish brogues in the novel than in Halifax itself. And I hope the narrator gets a dictionary for some common theology terms mispronounced-- Other vocal feats seem very well done.
I'll never get to Edinburgh with Rebus or Baltimore with Tess Monaghan, so I was glad to download this while in Halifax. The cityscape isn't as strong as in the classic detective/ city combinations, but adds interest. The Canadian legal context is laid out to be easily comprehensible to a non Canadian.
I'll definitely be listening to the entire series.