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Kathi

Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy.

Member Since 2010

ratings
446
REVIEWS
244
FOLLOWING
2
FOLLOWERS
217
HELPFUL VOTES
1078

  • The Drowning Tree

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Carol Goodman
    • Narrated By Christine Marshall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (56)
    Performance
    (35)
    Story
    (37)

    Stained glass artist Juno McKay is forced to confront the events that shattered the intense friendship between herself, her best friend, Christine, and her husband, Neil, when she discovers, after years of absence, that Christine is to deliver a lecture at their college reunion. Despite her misgivings, Juno finds herself compelled to attend the lecture about the history of one of Penrose College's most hallowed works of art.

    Kathi says: "Psychological mystery of past and present"
    "Psychological mystery of past and present"
    Overall
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    What did you love best about The Drowning Tree?

    Very much appreciated all the references to art and mythology in the the novel. Myth took a center stage in providing the psychological underpinnings of the plot. That aspect of the book kept me listening and intrigued.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    Most of the plot moved well and it was engaging. As stated already, this was a mystery that overtly relied on psychology as part of the plot. In regard to how myth is with us always, playing itself out in each of our lives, I cannot offer enough praise. the manner in which the author used particular myths to mold the story in this novel was excellent.

    Alas, I cannot say the same for the author's use of current concepts of clinical psychology. Some of the efforts to sound credible were quite the opposite, and left me with a jarring sense of the naïveté of many people about the field. In fact, there were parts that were so out of touch with the reality of psychiatry and therapeutic care, that I wanted to just find a way to get past it without groaning too much.

    I accepted that the author used "poetic license" for that part of the book, but unfortunately, for me, it was a huge distraction from an otherwise good story.


    Any additional comments?

    It was a great effort on the author's part. I recognize and truly appreciate the breadth and scope of knowledge required to have written it. I would highly recommend it for that reason alone. The characters were well drawn, even though I cringed a bit in certain scenes around the assumptions of what takes place in the area of psychiatric treatment, but this is little different from other books which have stretched these ideas for plot development. The mystery was good, it was an an engaging book, and I do plan to read more by Carol Goodman.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Leaving Everything Most Loved: Maisie Dobbs, Book 10

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Jacqueline Winspear
    • Narrated By Orlagh Cassidy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (390)
    Performance
    (339)
    Story
    (335)

    The year is 1933. Maisie Dobbs is contacted by an Indian gentleman who has come to England in the hopes of finding out who killed his sister two months ago. Scotland Yard failed to make any arrest in the case, and there is reason to believe they failed to conduct a thorough investigation. The case becomes even more challenging when another Indian woman is murdered just hours before a scheduled interview. Meanwhile, unfinished business from a previous case becomes a distraction, as does a new development in Maisie's personal life.

    C. Telfair says: "Mixed Feelings about Maisie"
    "Really like it, with a caveat"
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    I basically enjoy the Maisie Dobbs series--and this book is no exception. It is one of several series which focus on the new ways women were able to establish themselves in the world in more meaningful ways just after WWI. I am really glad to see these book celebrating the exciting changes in women's lives and the newfound respect they were gaining.

    That said, despite that I have always enjoyed the mysteries (the plots) of this series, I've found it a bit of a leap to handle the rags-to-riches, Cinderella type story that Winspear has created for Maisie Dobbs' background. She's gone from being a housemaid in a wealthy household at age 13, to being noticed and selected by them to get a fabulous education at Cambridge (which would have been available to few women yet at that time) to inheriting a fortune from her mentor in psychology and detecting...to possibly now considering marrying the son of the wealthy household she began in. While I really like the complicated plots that come with every one of these books, I find it hard to juggle good stories that are about solving mysteries with fantasy romance.

    And so, this is still a good story. Maisie is approached by Scotland Yard--to her surprise, to take on a case they have not been able to solve. It seems that the brother of the murdered woman, Usha Pramal, has come from India to England to try to find out who killed his sister and why. Maisie is intrigued and takes the case. Before she scarcely gets into it, yet another woman is also murdered, and she is doubly determined to find the killer.

    This book invites the reader, in a very positive way I think--to consider issues of diversity and how people tend to regard those who seem different to them (for instance, it would seem that Scotland Yard didn't give this case as much attention as they might have, had the murdered woman been English instead of Indian). It is also good because it supplies a large number of potential suspects, and kept me guessing till the end who the killer had been. But it was complicated by Maisie's personal life--a number of changes she is making that leave the reader wondering where this series might be heading. Perhaps that is the skill of the author--to be able to move the series in different directions, but I was not terribly comfortable. I'm old. I like things to be as I expect them :-) However, like everyone else, I will wait with interest to see where Maisie finds herself in the next book--and I'm sure the story will be fun to read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lestrade and the Deadly Game

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By M. J. Trow
    • Narrated By M. J. Trow
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    The papers call it suicide. The deceased’s father doesn’t. And when Superintendent Lestrade investigates the death by duelling pistol of Anstruther Fitzgibbon, his suspicions are immediately aroused. One of Britain’s leading athletes, Fitzgibbon is the first victim in a series of murders which threatens to extinguish the torch of the Olympic Games in London, in that glorious summer of 1908.

    Kathi says: "MJ Trow writes better than he reads"
    "MJ Trow writes better than he reads"
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    Story

    MJ Trow has created this series, based on Lestrade--the policeman who was never quite as smart as Sherlock Holmes (except in this series, he is). It is filled with interesting characters, and often a lot of humor. In this book, he is tasked to help to find who is murdering people while huge numbers of folks are flowing into London from around the world, for the Olympics. The premise of these books is good--and I enjoy the humor, the complexity of the plots and Trow's creativity in bringing this lesser known Sherlockian character into a greater role. And, as a positive--I suspect nobody but the author of a book could ever know exactly how he might want it to be read. But even though Mr. Trow has a soft and gentle voice--and gets all the jokes read just as they should be for getting a laugh, I find his voice to be a bit muffled--hard to achieve clarity. I strain and strain to listen, thus taking a good bit of the pleasure of the book away. I like these stories, and I like that Mr. Trow wants the public to know how he intends them to be read. Unfortunately, I just find that listening to his reading is quite challenging. I listen on my tablet. It's a good story--just bear that in mind, and worth the straining to hear. Perhaps an external speaker of excellent quality, where you can adjust various tonal qualities would deal nicely with this situation, but I just don't happen to have one.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Poisoned Ground: A Rachel Goddard Mystery, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Sandra Parshall
    • Narrated By Tavia Gilbert
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    When a powerful development company sets its sights on Mason County, Virginia, as the location for a sprawling resort for the rich, the locals begin taking sides. Many residents see the resort as economic salvation for the small Blue Ridge Mountains community, while others fear the county will become financially dependent on a predatory company. Few oppose the development more vocally than veterinarian Rachel Goddard.

    Kathi says: "Lots of suspects, twists & turns--good story"
    "Lots of suspects, twists & turns--good story"
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    This series features Rachel Goddard, a young veterinarian who moved a great distance to get away from troubles in her earlier life. Unfortunately--even though she loves being where she is now in southern VA, troubles still seem to pop up in her life. In this episode, she is initially concerned about the shocking murder of an older couple. Even though it seems likely to be someone's deranged expression of anger arising from a fierce fight among rural neighbors who have been offered a lot of money by a company wishing to turn their land into a resort (some want to sell, others who do not), there might be other reasons (and possible murderers) as well. Apparently there are a lot of dirty little secrets that this interesting group of folks have been harboring--which get revealed little by little though the interesting story. Even at the very end--it is not at all clear who will be revealed as the murderer. Rachel is married to Tom Bridger--the local policeman, and they work well together at solving mysteries. This story has lots to keep one interested, twists and turns that kept me guessing who was the culprit.

    I have very much enjoyed this whole series--as it is good writing, but also because the theme of the little-known group called the Melungeons is familiar to me from when I also lived in southwest VA--and heard a great deal about their fascinating story then. However, I regret to say that Tavia Gilbert's narration is rather off-putting to me. Ironically, what she does well, she does too well. When she reads, she works so hard to have clear diction that it is terribly overdone. You can hear the last consonant of every word so distinctly that is it jarring (people simply do not speak that formally). I cringe through much of her reading, which dampens my enthusiasm for the whole book. However, this is only my listening preference, and others may actually find it a blessing. You won't miss one single word in your listening experience! I recommend the book, because I'm enjoying the series. But just a caution that the narration is a bit overdone. You can hear every "t" crossed and every "i" dotted :-)

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • A Fearsome Doubt

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Charles Todd
    • Narrated By Samuel Gillies
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    In 1912 Ian Rutledge watched as a man was condemned to hang for the murders of elderly women. Rutledge helped gather the evidence that sent Ben Shaw to the gallows. And when justice was done, Rutledge closed the door on the case. But Shaw was not easily forgotten. Now, seven years later, that grim trial returns in the form of Ben Shaw's widow Nell, bringing Rutledge evidence she is convinced will prove her husband's innocence. It's a belief fraught with peril, threatening both Rutledge's professional stature and his faith in his judgment. But there is a darker reason for Rutledge's reluctance.

    Kathi says: "Outstanding in every way!"
    "Outstanding in every way!"
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    I've read all the Ian Rutledge and the Bess Crawford series (by Charles Tood, mother/son team). Just finished a Bess Crawford book, so was pleased to find this Rutledge one just released.

    Rutledge is a Scotland Yard detective, struggling to rebuild his life after the Great War, from which he was sent home wounded in body and soul. It's important to understand that as a result of shell shock and events that have left him emotionally depleted as a result of the war, he carries with him an inner reminder of a moral dilemma he was forced to face. He had to issue the command to execute a soldier who refused (also on moral grounds) to lead his troops into certain death. Rutledge now hears the voice of Hamish MacBeth wherever he goes, as a constant reminder of the unthinkable choices and decisions he had been forced to make. The voice of Hamish can be wise or tormenting, but it is ever present.

    In this story, Rutledge is confronted with new evidence, strongly suggesting that a man he helped bring to the gallows some years ago might have been innocent. At the same time, he is sent away to investigate the murders of men who have returned from the war seriously wounded. He must discover who is doing this, even while trying to heal his own soul from the war, and come to terms with the possibility that he not only had to have a good and decent man executed in wartime, but might have contributed to the death of an innocent man through the judicial system before the war.

    There is lightweight entertainment, then there is writing that moves to deeper levels. All of this series, but especially the earlier episodes, force the reader to examine deeper moral issues, and especially this book. Yes, this is a good police procedural, and the writing is superb as they create this conflicted, lonely man who struggles with his war past while taking on his duties at Scotland Yard.

    But Chales Todd here pushes the reader (listener) to examine what it means to kill. There are the issues of criminals who murder for personal reasons. But this is contrasted with legal killing--the judicial system, where people might be wrongly executed, and war, where atrocities occur that exceed the mind's ability to handle.

    This book is a simple book at one level--Scotland Yard doing their job. At a different level, this writing brings us into the time just after WWI in England, providing descriptive details that evoke the atmosphere of a country that made enormous sacrifices and was almost brought to it's knees, as it tries to regain life and strength to go on. The book does an excellent job of bringing to the reader the moral dilemmas of killing, murder, legal execution or war, through Rutledge's eyes as he struggles to make sense of the two cases he has been presented with.

    This is a good book, and one where the writing flows well, and has very good narration by Samuel Gillies. I could never call this "light" reading, even though it is still remains a police procedural. The Bess Crawford series, while excellent and also always thought provoking, is lighter in presentation than the Rutledge series. I have read them all, and I find that they stay with me because these earlier books, especially, leave quite a lot to ponder. They are all among my very favorite series books. Highly recommend!



    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • An Unwilling Accomplice: Bess Crawford, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Charles Todd
    • Narrated By Rosalyn Landor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    Arriving in London on leave, Bess Crawford receives an unusual summons from the War Office. She's been requested to accompany a wounded soldier to Buckingham Palace, where he's to be decorated for gallantry. Though she is certain she's never met or nursed Sergeant Jason Wilkins, she cannot refuse the honor. Heavily bandaged and confined to a wheelchair, the soldier will be in her care for barely a day. But on the morning after the ceremony when Bess goes to collect her charge for his return journey, she finds the room empty.

    Kathi says: "Another great Bess Crawford story!"
    "Another great Bess Crawford story!"
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    How exciting to have a new Charles Todd book! I'm a great fan of both the Ian Rutledge and Bess Crawford series (which wonderfully complement each other).

    In this eagerly-awaited new story, Bess, a WWI battlefield nursing sister, is sent to escort a heavily bandaged soldier to be decorated for his service at Buckingham Palace. Unfortunately, the man disappears in the night, and is later believed to have committed a murder. The authorities consider Bess to have been responsible for his going missing, and as this hurts her reputation, she decides she will have to find the missing Sgt. Wilkins to clear her name and solve the murder. With the help of longtime family friend/protector Sgt. Major Simon Brandon, she sets out--without a clue-- to do just this.

    Bess is combination Florence Nightingale and Miss Marple as she journeys from town to town, briefly back in France, in search of Sgt. Wilkins, helping with improvised surgery here, birth of a baby there along the way... She and Simon patiently piece together all the slowly gathered bits of information to be able to make sense of their quest for the missing man.

    What's really good: this book continues the ongoing story of Bess, her parents (not so much this book), Simon Brandon and friends, all of whom are very interesting, often inspiring people. Charles Todd (a mother/son team) write very engaging stories, always with wonderful details that give a quite realistic feel for the atmosphere of WWI England and France. Each of their books develops the characters more, which keeps a good continuity in the series.

    The slightly less good: at times it seemed as though the story relied over-much on coincidence in finding the right places to search, or clues were revealed in ways that stretched credulity a bit. But not to worry. That is pretty much forgiven because being drawn back into the world of these familiar, beloved characters, combined with a good mystery and great writing, more than makes up for it! Rosylyn Landor's narration is very good, all the voices clear and distinct. Was like a reunion with old friends! Highly recommend!

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Catherine Wheel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Patricia Wentworth
    • Narrated By Diana Bishop
    Overall
    (25)
    Performance
    (23)
    Story
    (25)

    There was a certain heavy air of intrigue and mystery emanating from the old inn high on the cliff top. The Catherine-Wheel had once been a home for pirates and smugglers, but now it looked like it was harbouring a murderer. It had begun with an advertisement in the paper requesting descendants of the late innkeeper, Jeremiah Taverner, to stay for a weekend at the inn. They had arrived, a mixed assortment, to the family reunion eager to discover the secrets of their ancestry. But one of them had been hideously murdered, bringing the inn's stormy past into frightening focus.

    Constance says: "Unlistenable Dud from Usually Wonderful Writer"
    "A bit tedious but good mystery"
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    Patricia Wentworth's series (written around the same time as Agatha Christie and other classic crime-writers) stars the quiet, self-effacing Miss Maud Silver. Miss Silver has been a governess in her earlier years, and now in her retirement, she knits and solves mysteries (has her own modest little detective service). She often takes a place in the background of wherever she is--almost so people will scarcely notice her, but one always knows she is about to issue a profound thought by her prefacing polite little cough. I suppose it is easy to compare her to Christie's Miss Marple, and they do have some things in common, but they remain very separate individuals. Miss Marple is sent for because people just know she has an instinct for solving crimes, whereas Miss Silver is deliberately hired as the detective.

    In this book, Jacob Taverner, is sole inheritor of an estate that might have been divided among many siblings (Jeremiah, jr, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts and Mary and Joanna)--but wasn't. Subsequently the family has scattered, new generation born, and Jacob sends out an ad in the paper stating he is looking for long lost relatives. In reality, he is looking for specific ones, whom he asks to join him at Catherine's Wheel, a lodge long known for it's early (and perhaps current) smuggling connections with his own secret intentions. Jane Heron and Jeremy Taverner (two of the cousins) travel there together. Most of the others arrive in various stages, and Miss Silver is coincidentally sent there by the police at just the same time--to quietly observe the goings on, in search of possible smuggling.

    Of course murder happens--and all of the book is dedicated to solving that. But just a word about the style. To me, this one seemed a bit stiffly written. There were so very many people to keep up with (the original siblings in the Taverner family, followed by all the various descendents) which made quite a lot of people to sort out. At first I had the sense that it was like one of those logic puzzles where you have to fill in the blanks based on separate, sequential pieces of information (Jane is taller than Sam, but Sam lives in a red house next to Jane's best friend who is shorter than Sam...). It was very challenging to get all the family lines and relationships arranged (and finally, I resorted to pen and paper--which was why it felt like a puzzle :-)

    I think it was quite an ambitious story to have written. I believe a reader who could easily check back pages to keep up with it all might have had a far easier time of it. This is a good listen if you are good at remembering a lot of connections and relationships--but I found it to be easier to simply start out in the first 1/2 hour or so with pen and paper, writing names and relationships down. It really did help to keep people's stories separate, to be able to follow the detecting and solving of the crime. It's a good book--Miss Silver stories generally are, and I believe Diana Bishop did the best she could with a book that was heavy on trails to follow, and light on interludes that might have made it less of a straight-forward puzzle. I am only giving the story 3 stars because it is challenging to listen to (without having to write down names). I think to read it would have been much easier.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Paw and Order: A Chet and Bernie Mystery, Book 7

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Spencer Quinn
    • Narrated By Jim Frangione
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (51)
    Performance
    (44)
    Story
    (46)

    In the seventh book in the brilliant New York Times best-selling mystery series, canine narrator Chet and P.I. Bernie journey to Washington, DC, and the dog-eat-dog world of our nation’s capital. Stephen King has called Chet "a canine Sam Spade full of joie de vivre". Robert B. Parker dubbed Spencer Quinn’s writing "major-league prose". Now the beloved team returns in another suspenseful novel that finds Chet sniffing around the capital city and using his street smarts to uncover a devilish plot.

    Tracey says: "The Guinea Pig Did It!!"
    "Wonderful "fix" for my Chet & Bernie addiction!"
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    Spencer Quinn has done it again, just when I feared having withdrawal symptoms due to yearning for a new tale (or wagging tail, that is) from literature's funniest dog and his man. Spencer Quinn has created the most lovable dog (and he'd remind us how smart he is, as well) in Chet, the partner of Bertie Little in their detective agency. Chet, who can occasionally be a little impulsive--especially if he sees a cat--was about to be a police school drop out, till he and Bernie found each other, and the rest has been history, as they work together to solve mysteries. Chet narrates the books, and the observations about Life, according to Chet, are hilarious. Chet is devoted to the humans he loves and trusts, but if he thinks someone is capable of hurting any of them, he takes it upon himself to see to their safety. Sometimes his reasoning is on target, but when it's not...well, that's how he often gets himself into a bit of trouble...

    In this book, Bernie and Chet have driven to Washinton, DC to see Susie Sanchez--Bernie's reporter girlfriend. En route, they have a brief encounter during which Bernie has felt it necessary to relieve someone of a small gun with a pink pearl handle. Later this will come back to haunt him, when he gets arrested for the murder of one of Susie's contacts. Chet meets a strange person who takes an interest in him, keeps trying to think of a way to communicate to his humans about a strange bird he keeps seeing and the guinea pig he keeps smelling, while Bernie vows to to find who actually has killed Eben St. John.

    Chet has the cleverest and funniest way of understanding what humans do, makes one stop and think about how we appear to our furry friends. I guess this could have been called, "Chet and Bernie Do DC," and it is just as much a winner as all the others have been. Spencer Quinn has a great way of imagining a dog's point of view, and Jim Frangione is such the perfect narrator, that if he were ever to stop being the voice of Chet, I'd have to go to reading them in print, because nobody else could ever duplicate his unique skill at doing all the voices! If you like dogs, like to laugh, like to listen to a happy, feel good story, don't miss this one. It's totally great! Highly, highly recommend!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Hounded

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By David Rosenfelt
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    Overall
    (87)
    Performance
    (80)
    Story
    (81)

    Andy Carpenter isn't sure what to think when he gets a mysterious phone call from a good friend, policeman Pete Stanton, asking him to drop everything, drive to an unfamiliar address, and bring his girlfriend, Laurie Collins. He certainly isn't expecting to show up at a crime scene. But that's exactly where he arrives - at the house where Pete has just discovered the body of ex-convict Danny Balfour. Upstairs are Denny's now orphaned four-year-old son and basset hound.

    Kathi says: "Rosenfelt hits it out of the ballpark again!"
    "Rosenfelt hits it out of the ballpark again!"
    Overall
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    What do an adorable pair of orphaned dog and boy, a murdered police informer, a cop on trial and pills for animal euthanasia have to do with each other? One would initially think, not much. Unless one had the fertile imagination and amazing ability to write mysteries with great characters, good prose and a subtle wit like David Rosenfelt. I just love this series, and the premise is one that is fun to dream of: a protagonist so wealthy he need only work when he feels like it.

    Andy Carpenter, his dog Tara and their group of long and loyal friends have not only taken on the job of defending Pete Stanton, accused of killing the police informer, but by unusual circumstances, have temporarily inherited the dead man's little boy and dog to take care of, to avoid their having to go into "the system," while family is sought to care for them. This is the touch that turns this book into a charmer, as the childless Andy has to adjust to having a little person living in his house.

    This is always a good series, and I really like it it a lot. Rosenfelt is a great writer--including books that are not in this series (though they are not written with the touch of humor always found in these). I will just have to say that there is some little thing about the voice of the narrator that I don't love. But clearly it is not enough to keep me from listening to these delightful books! Recommend!

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Murder in the Afternoon: A Kate Shackleton Mystery, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Frances Brody
    • Narrated By Deryn Edwards
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Young Harriet and her brother Austin have always been scared of the quarry where their stonemason father works. So when they find him dead on the cold ground, they scarper quick smart and look for help. When help arrives, the quarry is deserted and there is no sign of the body. Were the children mistaken? Is their father not dead? Did he simply get up and run away? It seems like another unusual case requiring the expertise of Kate Shackleton. But for Kate this is one case where surprising family ties makes it her most dangerous and delicate yet.

    Kathi says: "Engaging story with very good narration"
    "Engaging story with very good narration"
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    I really like the Kate Shackleton series, written by Frances Brody. This takes place in rural English post WWI period, and Kate, a widow, is one of the women who are moving into new positions in society by becoming a detective. (Her father is a policeman, so it sort of is a natural move for her.) In fact, this series is much like the Masie Dobbs books--which have a similar setup.

    In this book, Kate is awakened by a woman in the middle of the night, who tells her that her husband is missing. She says that her daughter and son went to the quarry where he worked to take him his meal, and that the daughter was certain she found her father dead there. But when a group of people (including the police) went to search for him, his body was missing. Because they had had a slight quarrel before he left for work, everyone else believes he has just taken off--and the daughter was mistaken about what she saw. However Kate believes Mary Ann and Harriet--mostly because of the situation as she investigates it for herself, and partially because the introduction of this woman into her life has just opened a family door and connections she never knew about. The various threads of this book are both interesting and touching.

    I don't really know what exact genre this new trend toward women detectives emerging with new roles into post WWI society, combined with a good mystery, might be called. They seem a bit more than cozies to me--because they are filled with interesting information about the times, good insights about the transitions women are making, as well as being good mysteries. Whatever one might call them, I'm enjoying seeing women be depicted as capable and independent during a time when there was so much social upheaval going on. I particularly enjoy this series--and liked this book (and it's narration) very much.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • This Is the Water

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Yannick Murphy
    • Narrated By Karen White
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    In a quiet New England community, members of swim team and their dedicated parents are preparing for a home meet. But Annie's world is about to change. From the bleachers, looking down at the swimmers, a dark haired man watches a girl. No one notices him. Annie is busy getting to know Paul, who flirts with Annie despite the fact that he's married to her friend Chris, and despite Annie's greying hair and crow's feet. When a girl on the team is murdered at a nearby highway rest stop, the parents suddenly find themselves adrift.

    Kathi says: "This is...a Rather Good Book"
    "This is...a Rather Good Book"
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    This is Yannick Murphy, sitting at her computer, typing out her novel with an unusual storytelling approach. This is Karen White, sitting in front of a microphone, excellently reciting the books to future listeners...And so goes this book.

    "This is" (Murphy's literary technique for bringing the reader into the story as though examining series of individual photographs) will be ringing in your ears by the time you finish listening to this book. It's a rather different way to depict each character's moments as she moves the reader/listener through a story about a small community, more specifically the parents and teens who comprise a local swim team, who have been terrified by a murder that has occurred in their midst.

    Most of the time, the use of "this is..." was quite effective, and seemed much like looking at a series of pictures (in fact one character is a photographer). But sometimes the old nursery rhyme, "This is the house that Jack built" kept echoing through my mind in the background in some eerie fashion (perhaps that is the point of all this--that we understand stories through our own memories of momentary observations).

    The book was at times very interesting and engaging--characters are vividly depicted through the most mundane observations about them. The story itself is a complex weaving of thoughts, feelings, reactions from--at first--the parents and kids on a swim team, but eventually, even the killer. It felt as though one was inside many of them, understanding the situation from each of their perspectives. Chris, who worries that her husband is having an affair. Annie, absorbed with her brother's suicide, the killer who is obsessed with his next murder, and so on. These mothers are sitting on the sidelines, watching their daughters swim. But someone else is also watching the daughters swim, and soon the plot (and the things that absorb the community) will change dramatically.

    In the end, I find it impossible to use words like "I liked" or "didn't like" this book. It is more to the point to say that I found myself very drawn into it, realizing how much we define ourselves by each moment's focus in our lives. This book is actually well worth the read, and I do not think I have done it justice in this brief description of it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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