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Judith A. Weller

jw1917

LaVale, MD United States | Member Since 2008

ratings
128
REVIEWS
83
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FOLLOWERS
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HELPFUL VOTES
295

  • The Confession: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Charles Todd
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (386)
    Performance
    (329)
    Story
    (330)

    Declaring he needs to clear his conscience, a dying man walks into Scotland Yard and confesses that he killed his cousin five years earlier during the Great War. When Inspector Ian Rutledge presses for details, the man evades his questions, revealing only that he hails from a village east of London. With little information and no body to open an official inquiry, Rutledge begins to look into the case on his own. Less than two weeks later, the alleged killer’s body is found floating in the Thames, a bullet in the back of his head.

    Judith A. Weller says: "Most exciting by Todd Yet"
    "Most exciting by Todd Yet"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is was one of the most exciting books I have ever listened to. Simon Prebble does a perfect job of the voices and brings the whole story alive.

    In many ways this is almost a gothic novel - the air of brooding and unknown evil hanging over the Essex marshes and the little village of Furnham and the house River's Edge makes the book electric with suspense. I couldn't stop listening to it. Rutledge has to trace the murders back to their beginning over 20 years before the start of the murder which attracts Rutledge's attention. From a man coming to Scotland Yard to confess to a muder he didn't commit, Rutledge must finally go back over 20 years to find the first murder committed by this serial killer. Is is amazing to watch him untangle it all.

    The solution to the murders will come as a big surprise and you will have a hard time figuring out. It is amazing the way Inspector Rutledge puts his case together and all the strange twists and turns it takes. With all the driving back and forth he does, I wonder the man gets any sleep at all.

    The plotting is excellent and bit by bit we uncover the history of this reclusive town on the River Hawking. Each character is well fleshed out and we can picture them in their cottages so vivid is the characterization of each villagel Inspector Rutledge meets.

    I wish Audible would publish all his books in audio but I am going back and reread all the books in the series from the start.

    24 of 24 people found this review helpful
  • Midnight in Europe

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Alan Furst
    • Narrated By Daniel Gerroll
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (102)
    Performance
    (90)
    Story
    (88)

    Paris, 1938: As the shadow of war darkens Europe, democratic forces on the Continent struggle against fascism and communism, while in Spain the war has already begun. Alan Furst, whom Vince Flynn has called "the most talented espionage novelist of our generation", now gives us a taut, suspenseful, romantic, and richly rendered novel of spies and secret operatives in Paris and New York, in Warsaw and Odessa, on the eve of World War II.

    Judith A. Weller says: "Arming Franco's Opponents on the Eve of World II"
    "Arming Franco's Opponents on the Eve of World II"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is another great book from Alan Furst, loader with atmosphere and “you are there” feeling about it.

    The central focus is a tale of spies and arms trading on the even of World War II. The Spanish Civil war is at its height. Franco is winning, but the Republican forces are struggling on. But they need weapons and other forms of aid.

    The central figure in this book is Cristián Ferrar, a Spanish émigré, a lawyer in the Paris office of a prestigious international law firm. He gets involved with a mysterious figure of Max De Lyon who is an arms trader working for the Republican force.

    The book is a serious of stories of arms trades which takes the duo from Warsaw to Odessa and Berlin in their business to secure supplies, illegally for the republican forces. On these trips they become involved with a series of mysterious, and shady characters who supply them with guns, oil, bullets etc. These people have little morals or scruples and for some it is all about the money – the cause is irrelevant so long as they get money. It is a dirty grubby business and Furst, like the consummate writer he is deftly brings to life this business and the cost in human lives and money and the cities they go to for their business – from Turkish Brothels to shoveling coal on a stolen Railway train there is the feel of Europe on the even of war.

    It is a gripping story and if you are interested in the late 1930’s this is the book for you. Furst does not disappoint. The reader is excellent and adds to the story immeasurably. He gets the voice and tones just right

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Black Country: Scotland Yard's Murder Squad

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Alex Grecian
    • Narrated By Toby Leonard Moore
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (201)
    Performance
    (180)
    Story
    (187)

    When members of a prominent family disappear from a coal-mining village - and a human eyeball is discovered in a bird's nest - the local constable sends for help from Scotland Yard's new Murder Squad. Fresh off the grisly 1889 murders of The Yard, Inspector Walter Day and Sergeant Nevil Hammersmith respond, but they have no idea what they're about to get into. The villagers have intense, intertwined histories. Everybody bears a secret. Superstitions abound. And the village itself is slowly sinking into the mines beneath it.

    Clint Loomis says: "Inconsistent"
    "Supernatural Aura overlays the Mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    II had mixed feelings about this book. First I did not like the setting - a mining community. I would have preferred a London Setting. The author uses weather to help provide the atmosphere of the story. Day and Hammersmith have been sent to this village to solve the mystery of the disappearance of a family.

    There is aura of the supernatural which to me diminished the mystery part of it. The story itself takes places over a 2 day period. The village itself is sinking into the ground due to all the mining tunnels which extend under all the houses. The people in the village are very superstitious and this superstition plays a major role in the book. Most of the villagers are sick and dying from a mysterious disease. Day and Hammersmith arrive and a spring blizzard sets in which hampers their ability to investigate and on day 2 they can hardly find their way around the village. Also present are two survivors of the US Civil War and their back-story plays a major role in the mystery of disappearing family.

    I had several problems with the author's development of the plot. I found some of the plots a little implausible. It seems bizarre in the middle of this spring snowstorm in an out of the way village that day's wife stops over for a few hours. I found it odd that Day and Hammersmith had arranged for Dr. Kingsley to join them - no real reason for his coming except the author needed his presence for the plot. In parts the plot seemed forced and the failure of the locals to find the missing family is odd, considering where they were found, although Hammersmith easily figures out where they are.

    Most of the murders have already taken place by the time Day and Hammersmith arrive and in one case the body is never found and the person is hardly missed. The other deaths which occur when the detectives are in the village can not be classified as murder but more violent deaths in the presence of the detectives.

    The end of the book of course has a fast moving Hollywood style disaster ending. The weight of the Snow from the blizzard causes cataclysmic sinking of the village which helps provide the resolution of the mystery as trees fall on buildings, the Railway Station is upended -- but the train is still able to arrive and take the detectives back to London.

    This is a fairly fast paced mystery which will provide the reader with plenty of thrills. But I found some of the plot contrivances way too artificial and overall I did not think this was your typical mystery in the way the first book in the series was. Too much of this story is overlaid with an aura of the supernatural, which I do not like. Also the various plot contrivances made the whole books seem more like the script of one of those Hollywood Mega Disaster movies than a real mystery.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Mastersinger from Minsk: An Inspector Herman Preiss Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Morley Torgov
    • Narrated By Jason Culp
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    It is late March 1868. In Munich, composer Richard Wagner is completing his new opera Die Meistersinger von Nuremberg. It has been a difficult few years for him, and much depends upon the success of this new work. Following the tense auditions, an anonymous note warns Wagner that the premiere will be the date of his ruination.

    Judith A. Weller says: "Boring and Tedious"
    "Boring and Tedious"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This could have been a good book, but it isn't. It has an excellent plot. The plot is great but the way the writer presents it, is tedious beyond belief.

    The books goes off on tangents. At a dinner table, the most minute and trivial conversation is presented in detail, even when it has nothing to do with the story. The author includes quite a lot of detail about music and composers of the era which may not be to everyone's taste. For every little incident, it seems we get a long back story. And most tedious of all we are treated to the detective, Preiss, thoughts at great lengths and to his private life and loves at even great length. I got really sick of Preiss and his girl friend - they took up too much time in the book.

    The narrator was not bad, but he had such poor material to work with, that at time he just seemed to drone on.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hardcastle's Airmen: Hardcastle Series

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Graham Ison
    • Narrated By David Thorpe
    Overall
    (49)
    Performance
    (43)
    Story
    (44)

    In February 1915, the Great War is still raging on the Western Front, but in Westminster, at the centre of Hardcastle's bailiwick, a policeman is shot dead. At first, Hardcastle believes the murderer to have been a disturbed burglar. But as enquiries continue, attention focuses on an antiquarian bookseller, a struggling artist, a reporter, officers of the Royal Flying Corps, both in England and in France, and the activities of Isabel Plowman, the wife of one of them and the lover of others.

    JoAnn says: "Just OK"
    "Most Entertaining and Funny Mystery Series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a great series. It has good story, well plotted mystery and on top of that it is very humorous. The reader, Graham Thorpe, adds so much to the book. He does the voices so well and gives each one its own character.

    Of course the star is Detective Inspector Hardcastle who bring so much wit to the series as he deals with his subordinates and intimidates all around him, especially the person he is interviewing. He never lets their title or position stand in his way.

    In this book Hardcastle is dealing with the murder of one of his constables. As he intestigates it turnes out the constable was NOT the target, but rather the lady next door. This lady claims to be a widow but as the body count continues, it turns out she is not a widow, but more of a "good time girl" who loves men in uniform. Unravelling this mystery takes Hardcastle to the corridors of power. A great book. All too short! I can't stop listening to one once I start.

    14 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • Hunting Shadows: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery, Book 16

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Charles Todd
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    Overall
    (196)
    Performance
    (175)
    Story
    (173)

    A society wedding at Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire becomes a crime scene when a man is murdered. After another body is found, the baffled local constabulary turns to Scotland Yard. Though the second crime had a witness, her description of the killer is so strange it's unbelievable. Despite his experience, Inspector Ian Rutledge has few answers of his own. The victims are so different that there is no rhyme or reason to their deaths. Nothing logically seems to connect them - except the killer. As the investigation widens, a clear suspect emerges. But for Rutledge, the facts still don't add up, leaving him to question his own judgment.

    Kathi says: "Another great Ian Rutledge book!"
    "Fantastic - Keeps You Guessing Till the very End"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is an outstanding book. I have read or listened to all of Charles Todd's books and I found this one the best plotted of all. It kept me guessing right to the end. Even when I though I knew who the murderer was, Todd pulled one out of the hat with a big surprise at the end when you found out who the murderer was.

    One thing I did notice was that Hamish was not such a big presence as he has been in the earlier book - whether Inspector Rutledge is getting over the events or Hamish didn't really fit in - but in any case he wasn't as ubiquitous as in the earlier books. In a way I am rather glad to see less of Hamish.

    As in all his books you get to see another part of England – this time the Fen country, as it was in 1920, and the small villages there. In post World War I getting around in the Fens was dangerous. Dense fogs would roll in, the roads were not well marked and often little better than dirt road. Inspector Rutledge begins his investigation by getting lost and almost having a motor accident.

    As always Charles Todd paints a picture of 1920 England: with farms, small villages, market day and places where everyone knows everyone else. He has the gift to take the listener back in time to a long-ago England.

    What brings Rutledge to the Fen Country is two murders a week apart of two very important figures -- one a distinguished War veteran, and the other a local man standing for parliament. One is killed at Ely Cathedral, the other nearby while preparing to give a campaign speech. They seem unrelated but it is only at the end we see how they are tied together.

    Much of the books is spend in actual detecting -- Rutledge going to different places and talking to many people to try and find out what connects the two murders. The only clue he picks up early on it that the murders were committed by an excellent shot, most probably a sniper. Many people are interviewed by Rutledge and local constables but nothing seems to fit. The roots of the crime go back to before the war and it is only when Rutledge gets as off-hand request from a local doctor, the he finally gets on track.

    He only finally fits the pieces together when he travels back to London to interview the sister of one of the victims -- between London and Ely and trip to Mausoleum do all the pieces finally fit into place. This book keeps you guessing up to the very end.

    Having Simon Prebble read this book, makes it all that much better. Simon is one of the most outstanding narrators in the business and I know I will enjoy the book that much more when he is the narrator. He is the perfect narrator for the series!!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Mayhem

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Sarah Pinborough
    • Narrated By Steven Crossley
    Overall
    (23)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (22)

    A new killer is stalking the streets of London’s East End. Though newspapers have dubbed him 'the Torso Killer’, this murderer’s work is overshadowed by the hysteria surrounding Jack the Ripper’s Whitechapel crimes. The victims are women too, but their dismembered bodies, wrapped in rags and tied up with string, are pulled out of the Thames - and the heads are missing….

    Judith A. Weller says: "A Supernatural Mystery"
    "A Supernatural Mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you like stories about the supernatural you will love this book, if you think you are getting a mystery story set in 19th Century with Jack the Ripper thrown in - you will be very disappointed. The book focuses on another set of real murders of the same period: The Thames Torso Murders, also called the Embankment murders. These murders, however, were overshadowed by Jack the Ripper and have never really entered into stories about the period as Jack the Ripper did, like those of Jack the Ripper they were never solved.

    The Author uses real people from the period, chiefly Dr. Thomas Bond, who was the police surgeon at the time. He is the main character in the book. While Dr. Bond does give some description of the Ripper Murders and the Ripper victims, his real focus is on the Torso Murders.

    The Torso murders took place between 1887-1889. Torsos of young women were washing up along the Thames embankment. The bodies were headless and their limbs were hacked off. The limbs were found separately packaged, also washing up along the Thames. These murders were never solved, and since the heads were missing, the victims were never identified.

    This sounds like the start of a really good book - but alas it is not, at least for me. Yes it is very atmospheric in describing the London of the period. But I am not a fan of the supernatural and the author attributes the Torso murders to a man who has been "taken over" by a supernatural being. So a lot of the book is consumed not with the mystery, but of finding the individual who was taken over by this supernatural being and when did it happen.

    The writing style does not lend itself to a smooth, flowing story. The author uses several different characters to tell the story, although Thomas Bond is the main figure. The chapters in the book alternate between the point of view of different characters -- some written in the first person, other in the third person, and chapters which are newspapers accounts of the crimes. Also the book does not flow chronologically - but tends to skip around between 1887 and 1889, depending on the POV of the character in the chapter. The listener will need to pay close attention to the chapter titles in order to follow this book, as the date is always given as part of the chapter heading.

    The Narration is excellent and helps carry the reader along through the story. However, the narrator cannot overcome the long periods of boredom as we explore a character’s thoughts and internal musings. Again if you like supernatural/fantasy mysteries you will love this book. I did not.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Istanbul Passage: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Joseph Kanon
    • Narrated By Jefferson Mays
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (250)
    Performance
    (190)
    Story
    (195)

    A neutral capital straddling Europe and Asia, Istanbul has spent the war as a magnet for refugees and spies. Even American businessman Leon Bauer has been drawn into this shadow world, doing undercover odd jobs and courier runs for the Allied war effort. Now, as the espionage community begins to pack up and an apprehensive city prepares for the grim realities of postwar life, he is given one more assignment, a routine job that goes fatally wrong, plunging him into a tangle of intrigue and moral confusion.

    Maine Colonial says: "What choice do you make when all options are bad?"
    "Boring and Tedious"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This has to be one of the most boring and tedious espionage books I have listened to. Only the narrator saves it. The plot sounds fairly exciting. The main character, Leon, acts as a part time courier for am official, Tommy, at the British Embassy. The opening scene is exciting. Leon is at the docks awaiting a boat which is brining a Romanian defector with USSR/KGB secrets for the Americans. Gun fire erupts and Leon kills his assailant only to discover that he has killed the Brit from whom he has worked as an occasional courier. Obviously Tommy was a double agent.

    The balance of the books deals with Leon trying to discover who Tommy really worked for, and trying to see that the Romanian is delivered to the American. Unfortunately this exciting sounding plot is revealed not by action, but by long and often boring conversation with a large number of people Leon meets at parties, at the Embassy, etc.

    Combined with this story are the flashbacks about Leon’s life and marriage in pre-war Berlin to Anna, who as the result of traumatic accident now lies in a coma in a nursing home. Leon faithfully goes to see here and hold long conversations with here about what he is doing and what his plans are.

    For a little spice, he has an affair with Kay Bishop, an embassy wife, whose husband is murdered. Suspicion falls on Leon. Again most of this is revealed through long conversation. I skipped a lot of the part about his relationship with Kay – he spent one night with here in a hotel room and the conversations they had goes on for several hours on the audio book. I skipped it. There is just too much tedious conversation like that to make the book an entertaining read.

    Although it has an exciting plot on paper, the author’s method of development may have a limited appeal. The author know Turkey and Istanbul very well, but even when he goes to a location we get a description of the location not in a word picture, bur rather with a long drawn-out conversation or worse monologues with flash backs about going to the location with Anna.

    If you can tolerate a book whose plot development is done mostly with long conversations with a variety of characters and very little action, you may like this book.. But the author is no Eric Ambler or Alan Furst.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Rubicon: A Novel of Ancient Rome

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Steven Saylor
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    As Caesar marches on Rome and panic erupts in the city, Gordianus the Finder discovers, in his own home, the body of Pompey’s favorite cousin. Before fleeing the city, Pompey exacts a terrible bargain from the finder of secrets: to unearth the killer or sacrifice his own son-in-law to service in Pompey’s legions - and certain death. Amid the city’s sordid underbelly, Gordianus learns that the murdered man was a dangerous spy. Now, as he follows a trail of intrigue, betrayal, and ferocious battles on land and sea, the Finder is caught between the chaos of war and the terrible truth he must finally reveal.

    Carol says: "May You Live in Interesting Times"
    "Not At His Best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is probably the worst Gordianus mystery I have read. It takes place during the civil war between Pompey and Caesar and deals with the flight of Pompey from Brundisium.
    I found it quite boring in places. First of all this is not really a mystery. The murder which starts the book is immediately solvable and thus the murder is unimportant. The real mystery, which we don't learn much about until the end of the book, is whether Meto is in a plot to assassinate Caesar.

    What consumes the bulk of the book is the tale of Gordianus traveling to Brundisium and getting inside Pompey’s camp. Along the way he has Tiro, Cicero's Scribe, as a travelling companion and he stops at Cicero's villa to talk to him. There is the obligatory attack on the Appian Way by bandits and the capture of the travelers by Mark Antony.

    Gordianus is most concerned of finding his son Meto in Caesar's camp but he gets no chance to talk to him. He must get to Pompey's camp to save his son-in-law Davus, and then escape from Pompey's clutches and return to Rome. Pompey’s escape from Brundisium is probably the most interesting part of the whole book.

    Personally I have always been lukewarm about Gordianus as a detective. I always thought the best book was "Murder on the Appian Way". Gordianus is a little too much of a goody two shoes to fit into the Roman world. He pales by comparison with Caecilius Metellus in SPQR. However, if you like Gordianus you will probably like this book.

    The narrator is not too bad but certainly better than Scott Brick in the earlier books. However, he is not in the class win Simon Vance or other notable narrators.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Dollmaker: A St-Cyr and Kohler Mystery, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By J. Robert Janes
    • Narrated By Jean Brassard
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    January 1943. The naval war in the North Atlantic is at its deadliest as a diminished Luftwaffe cannot defend the Brittany coast and its submarine stations from RAF bombers. Still, St-Cyr and Kohler continue to fight "common crime" under the Occupation. A Breton shopkeeper has been murdered. The accused, a U-boat Kapitn, is a protégé of Admiral Doenitz and heir to a doll manufactory. Unwilling players in a tragedy driven by greed and revenge, St-Cyr and Kohler must also contend with a fiercely loyal submarine crew....

    Judith A. Weller says: "Another Good Mystery Set in Wartime France"
    "Another Good Mystery Set in Wartime France"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have reviewed many in this series and I personally like the whole series. To me this is another fascinating mystery set in wartime France.

    Our pair detectives have been sent by Admiral Doenitz to prove that a popular Submarine Captain is NOT guilty of murder of French merchant.

    The Captain has a bizarre hobby - he makes dolls. And he goes on hikes into the countryside to find the right clay for the heads. A broken doll found at the murder scene implicates the captain although he insists that the clay was too cheap for one of his dolls.

    Also he and crew have invested a lot of money in the Captain's doll making enterprise. But someone has stolen the money.

    Soon our detectives get involved with émigré Pianist turned archaeologist, and his family who have a large doll collection.

    In fact dolls are everywhere in this story and it is discovering the story behind the different kind of dolls that solves the mystery and eventually leads to the murderer and thief of the money.

    As always the narrator is excellent although some may find his French accent hard to understand. After a little of listening you will find that it adds a lot to the narration.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Midnight Man

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Paul Doherty
    • Narrated By Andrew Wincott
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    When Brother Anselm and his novice are summoned to the Church of St Michael’s in Candlewick to perform an exorcism, little are they prepared for the horror that waits. The demons and apparitions that plague the church would appear to have been summoned by an infamous sorcerer known as the Midnight Man. But what has he unwittingly unleashed - and why? Is someone using the haunting as the perfect cover for their murderous intent? And is there any link with the sudden disappearances of a number of young women in the area? The answers lie in the past and an unresolved wickedness from many decades before.

    Judith A. Weller says: "Canterbury Tales as Horror Stories"
    "Canterbury Tales as Horror Stories"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Paul Doherty has taken Chaucer's Canterbury tales and retold them as horror stories. It is an interesting concept and if you like horror stories with a Medieval Twist you will enjoy these. Like all of Doherty's books this one is based on facts -- for this tale it is John Puddlicott's great robbery of the English Crown Jewel in 1303. The monks of Westminister Abbey were seduced into aiding Pudlicott.

    Since this has been turned into a horror story we find Brother Anslem exorcising Demons and solving the murders of whores -- many over the years has disappeared in the night to satisfy satanic rituals and blood drinkers.

    If you like horror stories you will enjoy this and Andress Wincott is an outstanding narrator.

    Now you are probably asking why I rated the story so low. Well I frankly have never liked Doherty's version of the Canterbury tales. Although I like this author very much, this series does not appeal to me, although many readers love it and find it his best work. I guess I am not into horror stories. But if you like horror stories you will enjoy this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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