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Maybe, but I don't usually re-read mysteries until I have forgotten the details. However, on the list of series I would read again, this would be high! I read most of the books in the Rutledge series before finding and listening to, the last couple on Audible.
If I were to listen to the ones I already read, it would be largely because of the excellence of Simon Prebble's narration! He is incredibly talented. Creates different voices for each character that are easily identifiable, and has good pacing and intonation for the reading, in general. Far better than many narrators.
Well, Rutledge, a Scotland Yard detective, falls into the category of loner detectives, who buck authority at times to find answers to the crimes. I really like the character as created and developed by Charles Todd (a mother and son writing duo). It brings in history, psychology and good mysteries in engaging plots that do not insult the reader through simplicity or dull passages.
Rutledge is a fascinating lead character. He has been through the horrors of WWI and has been wounded in body, mind and soul. Because of visible scars, he has lost his fiancée after his return from France. Due to a complicated situation of moral anguish, he is struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome that includes a rich, troubled inner relationship with a dead comrade who has become an internalized aspect of his own psyche. In a twist unlike any I can recall in mystery writing, the voice of this dead, internalized comrade (toward whom Rutledge feels a combination of love and guilt) becomes something akin to Rutledge's "sidekick"--someone who offers advice and warnings and has a kind of wisdom that often helps Rutledge stay alive and solve the crimes.
While reading the first book in the series, I was skeptical that this was a workable character presentation. But the consistency of how psychologically well thought out this is, has left me very impressed. Highly recommend both the writing of this series and the narration of Simon Prebble. There are always unexpected plot developments that surprise, and this book is no exception. Very satisfying book(s).
The good news: this book picks and improves somewhat about halfway through-so should you listen to it, have patience. The basic ingredients are all here--interesting young Mick Malone and Alyssa, a young woman who has been treated like a cousin in his family, go to Scotland, where he plans to do his internship for his college degree. They stay with his grandmother who apparently has purchased a small piece of a manor or castle, along with a title of some sort, in return for her influx of money, meant to help make improvements to the property. Some people pretend to be writing a book about walking paths, who are intent on something entirely different, quickly alter the atmosphere, because murder has intruded upon them. Mick, along with Jock Malone, are the Constabulary who have to manage all this. But many players will become part of the story. It is a fairly fast-moving story which is good.
The less good news: I suppose this is not true, but I had the oddest feeling the author had never stepped foot in Scotland, and was maybe writing as a hobby or something. And the narrator was (at least in the beginning) kind of hard to listen to. I so don't want to criticize him--oddly, I had the sense that he was reading as best he could, and though it sounded a bit amateurish, I wanted to give him something for earnestness and effort.
I don't regret buying or listening to this book, but I'm not champing at the bit to purchase another, either. I might. Just depends on how it might be presented in it's writeup. But I would prefer a different narrator.
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.
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.
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 :-)
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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