I really like Matthew Bartholomew mysteries and think Susanna Gregory is a great writer with the historical training to make the story believable and grounded in historical accuracy.The details of Medieval Life are wonderful. This is not one my my favorite Matthew Bartholomew's as I did not care much for the Lincoln setting prefering the ones set in Cambridge instead. Still it is always great to have another one on AUdible. I do wish they would get the Thomas Chaloners which are available on Audible UK but not in the US. I enjoyed it a great deal and am eagerly awaiting the next Matthew Bartholomew on Audible
I absolutely love this series. I think it is one of the best out there. It is very atmospheric and you get the feel of wartime France. The plots are intriguing and full of twists and turns. The two detectives are very likable nut not the heroic type that populate so many American Detective Fiction.
Now you do have to pay attention as the story is quite intricate and involved and not like a lot of detective stores that are pretty straightforward and go in a single line to the end.
This is not straight detective work as the two men are also dealing with the political structure of wartime France which often mean the intrigues of the Gestapo and political implication of what they are doing. There are always important officials that have to be satisfied and placated in the course of the investigation.
Both detectives have a lot of personal worries connected with wartime. For Kohler it is the worry about his two sons on the Eastern Front during the Battle of Stalingrad and for St. Cyr it is his marriage - his wife had left him in the first book (Mayhem) because he was never home and had run off with a German officer.
So some time is taken up with the worries both men have about their personal lives -- some times they talk to each other about these - other times it is mental thing as they think about their personal problem while they can't sleep or on a trip to a site.
I think the reader is perfect. He has a heavy French accent and at time pronounces English word with the accent on a different syallable than an English speaker would. I did not find it disconcerting but rather for me it added to the story.
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I got this book because I am fond of Opera and am familiar with Baroque Opera and the age of the Castrato.
In one sense it lived up to my expectations with lots of details about goings-on in the opera house as the various castrati vie for leading roles.
The mystery was quite inriguing and of course since it took place in the opera house led to a lot of details about Opera of the period. It was a plot full of novel twists and turns and certainly the ending was quite unexpected. It is very well-plotted and the suspense held your interest.
However, it sagged a bit in the middle and I think this is due to the presence of the female character Leah and her family in the Jewish Ghetto. I really found that part of the book dull and uninteresting and while it was well integrated into the plot I think it took up far too much time. I had little interest in Leah and the little boy -- I don't really go for mystery books that have a family involvement like this. I find they tend to drag as the writer takes time from the mystery to go into details about the family. I really prefer my detective to be unencumbered with a family as it become too distracting.
I think the presence of Leah and the importance the author attaches to her will prevent me from reading anymore books in the series. However if you like the family as part of a mystery this should appeal to you. However, I found Leah rather whiny as too often females in detective fiction can be and her interest in Tarot cards and foretelling I found a bit overdone.
The narrator was excellence and did and outstanding job of having different and suitable voices for ll the characters.
This is a great book about the man who created the Roman Empire. Granted there are a few fictitious parts dealing with Augustus's death that I did not care for. Also he is more lenient on Livia's the wife of Augustus than I would have been. I have always found her a detestable and manipulative woman
For me this book was at its best when it deals with the young Augustus and his formative years. In his youth it would be hard to imagine that this sickly boy with no military skills would nevertheless triumph over far better known opponents like Mark Anthony and eventually be the last man standing after the civil wars are over. It makes one wonder what latent talents Julius Caesar must have seen in the the young Octavian to make him his heir -- and a worthy heir he turned out to be.
Augustus had an iron fist in a velvet glove. He got his way without ever seeming to dominate the various political entities in Rome. He was a skilled politician who knew his own limitations and thus surrounded himself with the most able people for the job who would complement and supplement his own talents.
In Marcus Agrippa he found a brilliant military leader who more than anyone defeated Antony and Cleopatra at Actium while Octavian lay sick in his tent. It was Agrippa who created. built, and trained the fleet which would win Actium. Also Agrippa was responsible for an enormous rebuilding of Rome and constructed the Pantheon and the Baths of Agrippa.
However, like all those able men who surrounded Augustus, they never attempted to outshine him, but rather let him take the credit. In their own way they were as skillful at politics as Augustus himself.
Everitt thoroughly explortes not only the personality and political skill of Augusted himself, but he also gives us great portraits of the able men he surrounded himself with -- Agrippa, Maecenas etc. This is a well-rounded book since it focuses on all aspects of Augustus' rule and the heartbreaking inability of the great man to have a worthy successor.
This is probably the best book ever written on the man, but also on the birth of Imperial Rome,
The narrator is outstanding and gives the right nuance to the author's word. If you are atll interested in this period of Roman History this book should not be missed.
I enjoyed Everitt's books but this was a bit of a let down. I have read extensively in the period so for me there was nothing new. I think he should have had much more material on the actual historical period and spent less time on the mythical period.
For someone who has little familiartiy it was probably good to hear the tales of Decius Mus, Lucius Scaevola and Coriolanus but I was not must interested in this period as I had already heard all the stories and read Livy.
Nevertheless he does put together for those will little background a good summary of the Rise of Rome and what made it such a great power in the region - the fact that it could lose so many battles and keep fighting where other would have givern up. It is the sheer determination of the Romans that made possible its domination of the Ancient World. This book more than adequate conveys the Roman determination in the face of overwhelming odd.
After all this is what Everitt wishes to convery -- the ability to dominate the ancient world through sheer determination and the ability to return to the battle inspite of great losses. Everitt hints at but does not go into detail the development of the Roman Military Machine which made possible these later triumphas. He briefly discusses Marius and Sulla, two towering personalities on whom he spends too little time, and who modernized the army from citizen-soldiers to professional miliary.
Clive Chafer is an excellent reader and does a great job in the book. Now if only they would bring out an audio version of Everitt's Cicero.
Rather than a connected story this is more a series of vignettes about Nicholas Morath, a part time Hungarian spy. The setting is Paris in the last year before the beginning of WWII.
The book tells of Nicholas Morath's various espionage missions - some very mundane like his trip to Amsterdam and others very exciting like his trip to see the Czech fortress emplacements. In between missions, we learn about Morath's misstress, a firendship with a bartender at the Balalaika bar etc.
There is the feeling of events spinning out of control as Hitler gobbles up more of Europe and a small coterie of Hungarian Aritocrats make futile efforts to spare their country from Hitler and the Arrow Cross boys.
This is a very atmospheric novel, like all of Alan Furst's book, but I did not find it quite as gripping as the more coherent books like Dark Star. Parts of the books, such as when Morath is imprisoned in Romania and the efforts made to release him, are thrilling in deed and hold the reader's attention. But the parts, especially dealing with Morath's personal life and mistresses, is not so interesting.
Neverthelss it is decent atmospheric book and it is not that long.But Furst has written better books which I would read ahead of this one. However, Furst is still the foremost writer about Europe on the eve of WWII. If you like that period and setting than Furst is a must read.
I am so happy to see this book on audio. For a while we only had the first two books in the series and now comes the third. I hope we will see more of this series on audio.
Let me say this was a great mystery and as always the portrayal of the historical figures are accurate.
This centers around the scandal of Publius Clodius Pulcher sneaking into the Bona Dea rites in femal dress at the home of the Pontifex Maximus and the scandal that ensued. In the course of his investigation Decius meets his love - Julia who is no mean investigator in her own right.
John Maddox Roberts takes the license of embellishing the scandal and adding more participants to the masquerade. And if course Decius Metellus the Younger is in the thick of it all. There are bodies galore and the rivalry between the two gangs headed by Milo and Clodius are front and center.As usual Milo is right there to help Decius escape from Clodius' gang. A great ending with a chase through the forum amidst Pompey's Triumph and elephants running wild.
This is a delightful romp through the period of this scandal and John Lee does a masterful job as the narrator. He strikes just the right tone as narrator.
I loved this series and I am sorry this will be the last one of the series. I have the entire series and I just love it. There is mystery, humor, and great writing.
The focus is the murder in a hospital of a German Ballonist and later we discover there were other suspicious deaths. In solving these murders Seymour as always works well with the local people and fits into his surroundings.
Michael Pearce has written several detective series set in pre-WW1. He has the Mamur-zapt set in Egypt and now Seymoour who goes to various countries to solve problem for the Foreign Office.
The author was born in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan and served in Egypt. He really knows the various areas he portrays in his books from having been and served there. His books always have an authentic air about them.
As always Michael Pearce really understands the period and portrays it very well. There is always humor in his books which makes them doubly enjoyable. They are not long books and listening to them goes fast as they are so fascinating.
Clive Mantle does an excellent job as narrator and is good at different voices.
This is not a real mystery. It is the psychological portrait of the Easton family as seen through the eyes of Laurence Bartram and told with flashbacks from other family members.
Kitty Easton is mentioned periodically but is NOT the focus of the book, although at the end we do find out what happened to her.
But rather the author has chosen to draw a psychological protrait of a disfunctional family who have been torn apart by WW1 and the death of the family heir in that war.Gradually we learn all the misery of the family and their emotional problems and ailments. They are trying to rebuild the family estate and create a memorial for the dead of the village. Bit by bit we learn that the glorious heir was really a syphilitic daredevil and drunkard who infected his wife and lead the whole regiment of villagers to their death -- the family is covering up all the facts about him which gradually emerges through conversations and flashbakcs.
The family and various servants, past and present, are all haunted by past events from which they have never emotionally recovered. They reach some sort of emotional resolution at the end. The books is about peeling back the layers of truth about this family, its relatives and its servants.
Frankly I did NOT like this book, I did not consider it a mystery, and was totally bored by it. The author does wite well, although she spends way too much time on trivial detail as way to create the atmosphere. She is one of thoise writer who believe in "telling" the reader rather than "showing" the reader. This makes the whole story a rather passive one.
This is really not a mystery. We know the murderer early on. The book is more about how long it takes the detectives to figure it out. The book introduces to three main characters who will probably appear in later books if this series continues. The characters are Insp. Day, Const. Hammersmith and Dr. Kingsley. Several interludes in the book give us the background of these characters.
The portrayal of Victorian England is rather haphazard. The conversations are full of 20th century slang, and the author seems to feel that decribing the scene is talking about Hansom Cabs and the smell. I honestly did not get a real feel for the period and I suspect the author doesn't understand it either. Whatever you may think of Anne Perry she certainly gets the period right and you feel as if you are in that period. This is not the case with this book.
The narrator is not a big help either. He is no Simon Prebble and his effort at unique voices falls flat at times. For me he made Dr. Kingsley sound like a twit. Although mostly he does an adequate but not an outstanding job.
The emphasis in this book is on the effort the detectives go through in tracking down a murderer who is right under their nose and how many clues they miss. Yet it is not a police procedural in the true sense of the word.
You make like the book as it tries to create a picture of the early Scotland Yard which seems reasonably accurate. However, I am not sure the detectives are typical of the Yard of that period.
Ths author could use a better editor. In places ths book just goes on way too long and a good editor would have helped enormously. For such a thin story, it is way too long.
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