Discovering new facets of the characters.
The reader is, as always, superb.
She is beyond reproach in her characterizations.
I love this series. The stories are secondary to the very rich and complex characters Ms. Perry creates. She focuses each story on an aspect of social history in 19th C England, making it very personal. And Davina Porter is a brilliiant interpreter, bringing nuance and clarity to every single character. I have not "read" the books on the page, but I am sure Ms. Porter's reading of them improves an already good story.
The best thing you can make is joy.
This is a well written book, and I enjoyed listening to it in that "I'm doing something else and I just want my mind occupied" way that I listen when knitting or doing something else. But it didn't engage me at all. (But then again, I'd listen to Davina Porter read the St. Louis phone book and enjoy it!)
Perhaps it was the sketchy-to-be-almost-nonexistent back story on characters I guess I was supposed to already know, or the very tedious women-are-property-DO-YOU-GET-THIS hammer (yes, very true, but once the horse is dead you don't have to beat it over and over in the same book!) but most of all it was the slim mystery and the fact that all the men in the book were very short sighted (what, a woman DOCTOR! Why, how ABSURD - now get back to the fainting couch!)
I would have SO preferred to hear more of the fascinating life that the dead victim must have crafted for herself, a bit about surgical procedures, even a nod to the few women doctors who DID practice in Victorian times. I hadn't expected this to be so predictable - and it took a damned long time getting there!
Anne Perry writes a good murder mystery. I love all of the William Monk and Hester stories.
There is a kind of progression, but each can stand alone. If you don't like the first four, you won't like the next four. This book is one of the best of the series. Great characters. Compelling story.
This writer's attempt to be a 19th century Agatha Christie is not successful. The concept is promising, but the language is stilted, the characters less than convincing, the language somewhat stilted and the plot development laborious.
I will have to read this book in print--the narrator talkes so fast and in a thick enough Bristish accent that finally my mind just revolted and turned the book off. I teach college English and language, and also teach ESL--so I am usually a quick study--but 'this narrator' read as if he was on some type of race to finish the book in 10 hours--a sad waste as the entire book, even if just so-so is al about the narrator. Who chooses these people?
trying to see the world with my ears
I usually enjoy the Monk novels, as I do Perry's Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series; however, I found this one too slow and contrived. The only suspense was waiting for Hester or Monk to wake up and look about them. Not once, but twice, Perry resorts to a woman having with her "a very large reticule" to secret a stack of letters -- and so the novel goes.
I didn't rate this novel poorly because of its stance on abortion, but know that if you are in the "pro life" camp, you may want to pass on this one. I don't think you can frame the contemporary abortion debate in a Victorian setting - that only makes the novel weaker.
Will I download other novels in the series? Yes, especially if Porter narrates. Monk is worth the risk of an occasional boring and anachronistic listen.