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It is one of the best historical mystery series (in general) that I know of. This particular book is one of the best so far. First in series I've listened to. I've read some, and watched many on TV--with Derek Jacobi playing the part of Cadfael. Any way I encounter this series I have loved. But this is the first time I've heard it read. And I'd like to say that the narrator was wonderful. I believe a different reader could have spoiled the entire experience. Characters are well-drawn, by the end of the book I felt as if they were each a clear individual--with his/her own place in the twelfth century world of England & Wales (set in and near Shrewsbury Abbey).
Well, Cadfael is always my favorite--he is rich with his own history of having lived in the secular world--indeed even having fought in the Crusades--before becoming a monk. So he is gifted with uncommon insight into the minds and hearts of people, and uses that ability to sleuth the crimes. In this book, his compassion in one part of the book, toward the end, probably is what makes this book so outstanding.
All of them. Patrick Tull was the perfect narrator. I especially loved his rendition of Cadfael himself. But he makes each person have a unique (and memorable) voice.
Yes, one scene toward the end, in which Cadfael sensitively works to resolve the crime in a surprising manner.
The series is wonderful, this reading of this book is one I'd listen to again, just because I so enjoyed the narration (and I rarely re-read mysteries).
I read the first book in this series, and felt that while it was good, it had room for improvement. I am delighted to say that in this second book, Mary Logue has absolutely hit her stride! This one is very good!
The story involves Claire Watkins, a deputy sheriff who has moved to a small Wisconsin county with her daughter to get away from a situation (and memories) in which her husband was killed. She is trying to settle in, but dealing with panic attacks and grief from her former losses.
In this book, a man is killed who seems to have been disliked by many. However, the story of who he is, what exactly his past actions have been, are never viewed the same way by various citizens and family who knew him. Part of this story is solving the crime--but another part--and what makes this book so good--is the unraveling of who the victim was, and who truly had reason to hate him and want him dead (and why). They author has done a great job of keeping the reader/listener wondering about the circumstances all the way through, and has told a very poignant story of the man's children, who are left to try to hold themselves together after his death.
But, READER BEWARE: this author has done what annoyingly happens in too many series--she has used the previous (first) book as part of the back story in the present one, thus revealing a lot of what happened in the first. So if you have any ideas about reading the first one (and I think it is worth doing so, for a better understanding of the characters in this one), please read it first. However, for the reader who would not choose to do so--I'm sure this is a good stand-alone mystery.
I am very impressed with the way the author has met the potential that seemed to be present in the first book. The first has a good story, is a good read, but felt to me as though it left a couple of characters not very well drawn or their exact places understood (to me, anyway). It is still a good read--and this one is an excellent read (listen). I was not overly fond of the narrator in the first one and she is also better in this one. If the rest of the books are as good as this one, I eagerly look forward to hearing them! Highly recommend!
Decided to read this, based on another reader's comments, and was not disappointed. It is a mystery in which we are brought into the intricacies of the British government where a murder has occurred following a conference.
Robert Amiss was the private secretary to Sir Nicholas Clark, the victim, who appeared to have been rather hurtful to almost everyone who knew him. Probably several people are secretly relieved that he is now out of their hair. Amiss, who has a very clear alibi, is recruited as a "mole" who secretly works with Inspector Milton, feeding him information about the several main suspects within the complicated political system, since he has worked with them, and knows their various quirks and discontents. This seems a bit strange at first, but one can see the developing teamwork and friendship between Amiss and Milton and it works rather well.
I will say that the beginning was rather a challenge because there was an awkwardness as the author had Amiss explain the titles and functions of the numerous hierarchical levels of secretaries and politicians to Inspector Milton in order (I supposed) for the reader to understand how the system works, and who the characters were within it. It was so tedious, it was almost like listening to the "Begats" in the Bible :-)
I wound up jotting down a few of the names and positions to be able to follow and understand who they all were. I live very near Washington, DC, and it finally dawned on me that this was essentially comparable to listing off some of the politicians I hear about every day, and suddenly it all seemed easier to follow after that. So don't let that relatively brief part of the book throw you, because it is all very well told thereafter and a good listen. And in the end, I realized I now understand some of the British hierarchy of secretaries, etc, that have always seemed sort of obscure to me.
I think the narration was very good, and, but for the short outline of the British political system, the story was also a fun listen. I look forward to more of this author's work, and I hope the same narrator will be reading them.
Andrew Greeley, one of the most prolific writers ever, has another good book in his Bishop Blackie Ryan series. Blackie is a catholic bishop who has a great love of life and amazing deductive powers. (He even likes to refer to God as "she," perhaps to show how much he refuses to be trapped by tradition?)
In this book, he must solve the mystery of what has happened to a new bishop who has made himself so unpopular with his rigid and often hurtful insistence on the letter of religious law (as opposed to the spirit of it) that several have been heard to make frustrated remarks wishing him dead. Unfortunately, many get their secret wish when the new bishop, and the train he was riding on, both disappear! He is finally located, but badly injured by a huge overdose of heroin that will likely render him unable ever to function in his old position again.
In what becomes a frantic search to find the perpetrator, Greeley explores larger questions about guilt, and leaves the reader pondering a few other ethical issues as well. In this book, the stories of two people who have uttered these desperate wishes that Bishop Quill were dead, form part of the back story, explaining what it was about the man that was so odious. Unfortunately, it also makes them obvious suspects, so their stories are interesting, even endearing in a way, on their own.
If you have never read a Blackie Ryan novel you are in for a treat. And for the best part of all, this book is narrated by the incomparable George Guidall. I did not give either story or narrator 5 stars because I am aware of better books/narrations by Greeley and Guidall, but even so, this was a really good book, and I greatly recommend it.
Nothing makes me happier than discovering a vintage mystery series I didn't know about, unless it is also discovering that it turns out to be a great read! I gather that this book, starring Miss Withers and Inspector Piper was made into a movie at the time, and I hope to find it.
Miss Withers, a teacher who has brought her young class to the aquarium, is there when a murder occurs at the penguin pool. She demonstrates very quickly that she has a good, grounded sort of common sense, and is able to point out things to the inspector to keep him on track during the inspection. She tends to be immediately accepted by the inspector, who realizes that as she offers good ideas and takes conversations down in shorthand, she is indispensable to solving the crime. Even though she is not officially part of the case, one quickly realizes that the author intends her to be the brains behind the process of solving it.
This book is written with a bit of comedic touch, but I doubt the author could have possibly anticipated how much more enjoyable it would become 80 years later to a completely different audience. In these days, we have authors who create female sleuths, trying to insert them into this same time period (just around the timeout of the stock market crash), and they are are fun to read. But this is the "Real McCoy," a woman who was developed into a clever and observant detective (of sorts), even though she is not really acknowledged that way around 1930 or so.
I love this book, and cannot wait for the next ones. The narrator does a very good job, getting the accents just right! This has been a total treat! Thanks, Audible, for bringing this one on board!
This book was a very intense listen. First published in 1925, it is the story of a childless woman who starts out--a product of her upbringing--as a fairly shallow, bored woman who is having an affair with someone known to her husband. Upon his discovering this, he takes her to an area of China that is rampant with cholera (one assumes this dangerous action was meant to put her passively into death's midst as a way to punish her.)
Here, she gradually finds her way to a local convent where she begins to find meaningful work in helping the nuns care for children there, and so, despite the terrible conditions they live in, she is beginning to have experiences that will ultimately lead to enormous growth for herself. This does have a rather early feminist quality to it--whether intentionally or not. Or at least, it is hard not to read it that way at this point in time.
The book traces the course of significant inner changes in Kitty Fane's life--that end with her being back with her father and pondering all that she has learned in the events she has survived, hoping her own child will have a life different from her own.
What makes this book so good, among other things, is its' shift to the examination of a woman's experiences, her transformation and how she deepens her existence as a result of challenging events she has lived through. Kate Reading does an excellent job of narration. I highly recommend this as a very good read/listen!
I love all of Ellen Crosby's books, and to date, I had read the previous ones in paper version. I wish I had kept to that format.
This story is as good as all of them are. They are a continuing series--with excellent mysteries keeping them interesting--that revolve around Lucie Montgomery, who has suffered an accident that leaves her lame and walking with a cane--but still full of spunk and determination. She finds herself running her family's vineyard, and despite the financial and other stresses that go with such an enterprise, she and her helpers struggle to make it a go.
This story involves her leaving the vineyard and Loudoun County to go to Washington, DC (about 30 miles away) where she meets her old friend Rebecca who soon after mysteriously disappears, as does a valuable item belonging to her boss, Sir Thomas Asher. Lucie is determined to find out what happened to her friend, and finds herself in danger from that situation, even while she is personally suffering as she wonders what her lover and chief wine expert for the vineyard is doing--is he secretly planning to leave her?
This book is as good as the previous ones have been. But I live just a few miles away from the fictional place Crosby describes in her books, and I have never heard anyone in this county--indeed in all of northern Virginia--speak with the whiny, would-be imagined Virginia accent that this narrator uses through the entire book. I have listened to another book that she narrated and I liked it a lot. So I assume she decided that this is the voice quality that encapsulates this area. I have started and stopped listening to this book a dozen times because her strained and annoying version of what is actually a delightful, soft speech quality of the old families who live where this book is placed has sounded like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.
I definitely recommend the book and this author! And I think this could be a decent listen if the listener [hopefully] will believe and accept that people in this lovely area do not whine, do not have a sing-song tone to their conversations, and do not have an exaggerated accent that does not (to my ears) replicate any speech style that I have ever heard in natural circumstances anywhere. I feel sad saying all this--because I believe she is otherwise a very good narrator. Just not this time.
I have eagerly awaited this book for months--as I have been a great fan of Edward Rutherfurd's other books for many years! This one definitely does not disappoint in any way. It is written with the epic scope of all his other books, although he did not imaginatively stretch as far back in history as he has done with some others (and I did wonder why, since it would have been quite interesting to hear more about the Parisii tribe, which lent it's name to Paris).
The beauty of this book is that even while there is a train of stories of several families (interspersed with some actual historical people) who intertwine and provide continuity to the reader from the period of 1261 to 1968, it is Paris itself, who is always the main character in this book!
In his book "Sarum," Rutherfurd used the building of the Salisbury Cathedral--a magnificent tribute to God with it's soaring spire, as it exemplified the changing and developing religious values of England during that period as a background to his story. In "Paris," he uses the building of la Tour Eiffel (Eiffel Tower) as the grounding point for the book. It seems to me that this tall structure (shocking to many when built), points to the changing times and mindset of the French people in the more modern Paris, moving away from traditional structures and ways of viewing the world. Throughout the book, Rutherfurd patiently creates the sense of strong tradition of social rules and expectations everywhere in French society. The building of this new sort of lofty tower (and his focus on the impressionist painters), both of which visibly break from everyone's expectations, seem to parallel the astonishing changes experienced by everyone as the old social structures and government begin to alter so radically in every way in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Rutherfurd has done his usual masterful job of meticulous research, and it is often the tiny details that bring the reader directly into the city, feeling almost an inhabitant of the times he focuses on. The three main families who evolve through the book depict aristocrats, the bourgeoisie, and thieves who eventually turn into revolutionaries. It is typical of Rutherfurd to keep the same families in his books, which provides continuity for the reader who is moving through huge passages of history. Unlike other books, however, these families seem never to change in their social positions. However, Paris itself does move and change (or it feels that way) as the fortunes of the times (wars, religious disputes, changes of royal power, the shift to new kinds of government, etc) seem to create new ways of experiencing what it means to live in this great city.
The narrator has done a magnificent job--her ability to give varying voices to an enormous cast of characters is exceptional! Her voice quality is very engaging for the entire book. "Paris" is all that I had hoped for and more. I love Paris (the city)--and I could mentally see many of the places that were being focused on throughout the city. And I found that at times, I looked up some of the places (like Versailles, Montmartre, etc), on my tablet--to better visualize the parts of this magnificent story under focus, which made it almost like being back there again. I highly recommend this book! But give yourself plenty of time to listen to it, as it is quite long, and packed with so many details--that I am already planning to listen again (and again). Thank you Mr. Rutherfurd!
This is a good mystery, written by Mary Higgins Clark, who is certainly one of the greats in this genre. This story is about a set of twins who are kidnapped, but only one gets rescued, leading to interesting plot developments that arise partly out of the mother's trust that the safe twin can feel what the other is going through and keep hope alive for finding her. Mostly it is unremarkable in other ways, a bit predictable on most levels.
However, what made it greatly interesting to me is that it was sort of a story about how often people see things or have encounters that leave them briefly wondering, then quickly dismiss them as unimportant. This entire book seemed to be circling around the numerous ways alert people misread signals and situations, passed off important clues as trivial events. It is a reminder, especially in these times, that we all probably should be more aware of what seems odd or suspicious, and not ignore unusual things we observe. That appeared to be a central part of this story--things happening that people chose to interpret as innocent events, thus prolonging the crisis.
MHC is an excellent mystery writer. I thought the narrator got off to a bad start, but quickly improved, making the book an overall good listening experience.
First, let me say what I loved best about this book: the narrator! Michael Tudor Barnes read this book at a perfect pace, with good voices for the different characters. I feel that many narrators read maddeningly slowly-- slower than most people speak in conversation, often making it frustrating to listen. MTB was very good, hitting just the right listening speed. Beyond that, his voice quality and tone perfectly hit what sounded like [my idea of] the quintessential british mystery reading-voice, deep, resonant and having that lovely accent! I have already put a couple of other books he has narrated on my wish list here.
The book itself is also very good. I listened for a long time, convinced I knew the solution, thinking it would be a ho-hum read. It was not. The book starts moving faster as the end approaches, and takes a few very unexpected turns which made it a very satisfying read.
This was the first book by Betty Rowlands I have ever read. It is the story of Constable Sukey Reynolds, and I gather that there are more than currently available in audio version. So sad. This story was quite well-written. In this episode, Sukey is new to this police team, but not to policing as a career. I don't know some of the details, not having read previous books, but one character from her former position was worked into the book to help explain her background and how she made the move to the new team.
The story has the theme of a Professor Lamont, who is seeking to help someone decide the authenticity of a possible document by St. Paul. But of course, his life is far more complicated than that--leaving him appearing to be the best suspect for the inevitable murder that occurs. Sukey tries to walk a fine line between being observant of her new superior's dictates vs. following her own ideas of where the truth might lie. And the rest is all that makes the book interesting. I found it quite good. There is just something about British mysteries that I particularly like, and this one certainly did not disappoint.
I mistakenly listened to this book out of order in the series, and as I realized that, I hoped I would not regret it. And actually, it was okay. Although I will remember that Emily's husband gets murdered (in the future, as I go back and read the ones I missed) I don't think that will keep me from enjoying them as much as much as I have the others I've heard.
This book focuses more on the detective Thomas Pitt's wife Charlotte, who has always been a big help to him anyway, as she comes to stay in the house where her sister Emily's husband has been murdered. Suspicion falls upon Emily, and Charlotte is determined to see that the real murderer is apprehended. Thomas seems to play a lesser role in this book, but he is there.
This book has an interesting cast of Victorian upper-crust characters, who are very intolerant of anyone outside their strict social circles. Therefore Charlotte is only barely tolerated, despite she has the same aristocratic upbringing that Emily has (but left to marry policeman Thomas, something the people in this story find incomprehensible). This tension between the classes tends to be a central point in these books, as they occur at a time when being part of the newly developed police force is looked down on, so Charlotte and Emily help Thomas in their way, by providing some entry into the snobbish homes.
I love the writing, the historical settings, the way the characters are drawn, and the narration of these books so far. I believe the continuing tenderness and closeness between Thomas and Charlotte, living in such challenging conditions, might be a bit romanticized, but I accept that as being just the way the author wants to present them, to provide contrast with the other characters, whom she tends to portray as less likable. In the hands of a less skillful author, that would be a little much, but it seems to work here okay. I found this one to be very interesting and would recommend. However, I do suggest that a reader not make the mistake I did and read it out of sequence. I don't think it will hurt when I read what I missed, but in a series, it is always better to read them in order.
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