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Cambridge, MA United States | Member Since 2006

  • 5 reviews
  • 117 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 16 purchased in 2015

  • The Deeds of the Disturber: The Amelia Peabody Series, Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Peters
    • Narrated By Susan O'Malley

    When the body of a night watchman is found sprawled in the shadow of a rare 19th-Dynasty mummy case, panic ensues. For no one doubts that the guard's untimely demise is the work of an ancient Egyptian curse. No one, that is, except that tart-tongued Victorian Egyptologist, Amelia Peabody, whose remarkable talent for criminal investigation has frustrated villains from London to Cairo.

    Whatever says: "Kept this Amelia Peabody fan happy!"
    "Peabody is a little tiresome."

    In concept, Amelia Peabody is wonderful. Situated just far enough in the past to be glamourous and romantic, but modern enough to be educated, to travel, and to vociferously declare her support of women's rights, she is a perfect character around which to build Victorian suspense. Unfortunately, she is not as interesting as she should be. Her style of speech, meant presumably to mimic the style of a victorian lady's private journal, is at times stilted; at other times, so obviously arrogant and blind one must wonder if the writer is joking. The plot in general is goofy, but plenty of mystery plots are; it wouldn't matter if the writing were better. Amelia tends to be repetitive. This tendency is not enhanced by the reader's delivery. The first time she coyly alludes to her husband's fond embraces, one might be charmed to imagine the conjugal life of this unique pair; by the 20th time, one is tired of the coyness and of the allusions. This is a fine listen if you want some sounds while you cook dinner, walk the dog, whatever; but if you are hoping for a truly engaging plot and well-drawn characters, look elsewhere.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Princess Elizabeth's Spy: A Maggie Hope Mystery, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Susan Elia MacNeal
    • Narrated By Susan Duerden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Susan Elia MacNeal introduced the remarkable Maggie Hope in her acclaimed debut, Mr. Churchill's Secretary. Now Maggie returns to protect Britain's beloved royals against an international plot - one that could change the course of history. As World War II sweeps the continent and England steels itself against German attack, Maggie Hope, former secretary to Prime Minister Winston Churchill, completes her training to become a spy for MI-5.

    A. Dyer says: "Bring back Wanda McCaddon as narrator"
    "Great story, monotonous voice"
    Would you be willing to try another one of Susan Duerden’s performances?

    I got this book because I very much enjoyed the first Maggie Hope mystery. As far as I can tell, this story is similarly good, but the narrator's intonations make it difficult to lose oneself in the story. The timbre of the voice is fine. However, every. single. sentence. is spoken with the same intonation: a rising inflection near the end, leaving the listener with the feeling the phrase is unfinished. There is some variation in tones when the characters are speaking, but other than that the inflections are regrettably unvaried. Unfortunately I already purchased the third Maggie Hope mystery read by this narrator, but I will be avoiding her in the future.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Midnight Riot: Peter Grant, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Ben Aaronovitch
    • Narrated By Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Probationary constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London's Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he'll face is a paper cut. But Peter's prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter's ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale....

    Nancy J says: "I LOVE this Book!"
    "England's deities in irreverent antics"
    Any additional comments?

    I am skeptical of the entire werething-vampire-ghost-zombie-spiritofwhatever craze. After the past decade or so wizards have become ho-hum; too many insincere imitations going around. But I loved this book! Peter Grant is a great central character. He has some unusual talents, but is no superhero. He has plenty of failings and foibles and uncertainties. The supernatural certainly plays a huge part in this book, but it is treated with a combination of irreverence, comedy, and rationality that is refreshing. The history and mythology of London are integrated into the plot and give rise to some fascinating characters. The re-imagination of spirits general and particular is well-done and often quite funny. I will definitely listen to more books by this author. The narration was excellent and enhanced the story.

    In some respects this book reminds me of the Bryant and May series; if you like Bryant and May, you might well enjoy this series too.

    19 of 22 people found this review helpful
  • Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

    • ABRIDGED (9 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Jared Diamond
    • Narrated By Christopher Murney

    In his million-copy best seller Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond examined how and why Western civilizations developed the technologies and immunities that allowed them to dominate much of the world. Now in this brilliant companion volume, Diamond probes the other side of the equation: what caused some of the great civilizations of the past to collapse into ruin, and what can we learn from their fates?

    Rebecca says: "an fascinating book, but better on paper"
    "Must read!"

    This book should be required reading for everyone living in a developed country in the 21st century. Whether or not you agree with his conclusions, Diamond raises valuable questions in his comparison of current societies to those of the past. This book should help listeners view present-day cultures as situated in history, something citizens of the USA are all too likely to loose sight of. It is a powerful reminder that "infallibility" is an illusion, and that power is fickle. Diamond can be criticized by specialists for a few incorrect archaeological details. However, in my opinion these mistakes do not detract from the powerful, synthetic message he conveys. The book is long and reads (in text) somewhat unevenly; if you won't actually have the time to sit down and get all the way through it with the printed page, this abridged version has all the essentials and is just as thought-provoking.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Death at the Dolphin

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Ngaio Marsh
    • Narrated By James Saxon

    When the Dolphin Theatre is given to Peregrine Jay by a wealthy but mysterious patron, he is overjoyed, but puzzled. When he is also given a glove that belonged to Shakespeare, Peregrine displays it in the dockside theatre and writes a play about it, which is an enormous success. But then a murder takes place, a boy is attacked, and the glove is stolen. Could it be that oil and water don't mix? Inspector Roderick Alleyn is determined to find out.

    Carrie says: "Not tops for Marsh, but worth listening"
    "Not tops for Marsh, but worth listening"

    I think Ngaio Marsh has written better books--this one is not my favorite by any means. The preamble is lengthy and the murder comes relatively late in the book, so there is less of Alleyn than devotees might hope. Still, it is Marsh, a classic and a very enjoyable listen. I prefer the readings by Nadia May, but this reader also did a good job.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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