While the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series seems to get more attention for Anne Perry because that was her first series, I actually prefer the darker William Monk/Hester Latterly series more myself, which is unusual because if you examine my library of several hundred audio books, you will see very few that are not "cozy mysteries," which most certainly does not describe Anne Perry's books.
I have listened to most of the Monk series available through Audible and several that are not, and so far, this is probably my favorite of the books, as we see how the different characters react to the pressure of Hester's being charged with murder and the urgent scramble to find any evidence to use to keep her from being executed. While in general I think Perry does a good job of developing her characters in each book, the unique situation in which all the characters are placed gives her a lot more freedom to explore depths to each character not seen before.
One thing that really draws me to these books is Perry's great attention to detail, whether it be in describing the historical situation (I didn't realize that at the time of these books, Scotland had its own jurisprudence system, with a jury of 15 men instead of the British 12), showing what an experience would have felt like to people of that day (i.e. the significant difference for Hester in riding the train in the second class carriage one night vs. the first class carriage the next), or the elements of Hester's nursing career (i.e. the vast difference in attitudes people carried for the upper class nurses who went to the Crimea vs. the lower class nurses who stayed at home).
I gave the first two books in this series to my aunt, a nursing professor, because I thought she'd enjoy seeing the Victorian nursing system, and now all her friends, nurses and non-nurses alike, adore the series themselves too! This is one series where you do definitely want to start with Book 1 if at all possible, but after that, I have not had trouble following a non-sequential order, as the books have become available.
I listened to the entire series on cassette tapes a number of years ago and was happy to see that Audible is now carrying some of them. I just wish it would carry the rest of the series.
If you are interested in Charlotte MacLeod, you need to start with The Family Vault because it introduces you to the entire Kelling clan and Max Bittersohn. Later books refer back to elements of this book all the time, so you will feel lost later if you don't start with this first book.
This cozy mystery begins with the Kelling family vault being opened to prepare for the burial of a recently deceased family member. The Kellings are members of the Boston elite, so it is especially sensational when they find inside this vault the body of a woman murdered 25 years earlier. This starts Sarah Kelling, a young wife of a fellow Kellow cousin twice her age and the daughter-in-law of a despotic blind and deaf woman of the Kelling family, on the dangerous adventure towards solving the mystery that has haunted her family and cursed them.
The one main weakness of this book is that it tends to throw in all the Kelling family members without developing the characters. It introduces just about everyone you will meet in later books, which is why I believe you need to start with this book before continuing with the series, but it can get confusing to sort them all out.
Otherwise, the book is enjoyable, and the narration very professional and fitting to the character of the book. Even the voice of the chosen narrator seems especially appropriate for the books in this series. I think the series grows much stronger in the next few books, but this is a solid start to the Sarah Kelling/Max Bittersohn (whom you meet but don't spend a whole lot of time with in the first book) series.
I first listened to this book about 10 years ago and have loved each subsequent reading so much that I was delighted to find it available on Audible. The concept of twin brothers whose lives revolve around flying, but with one being the pride of the Luftwaffe and the other the pride of the Allies, is creative, as we see the story unfold from both the Allied perspective and that of the Nazis.
I found the premise highly creative, and I loved the careful way that Higgins built up the story to try to give it the veneer of being a true story, even when we all know that is is fiction.
I have listened to many of Jack Higgins' books, but this is my favorite by far!
Throughout the whole book, I kept waiting for the brothers to meet each other in combat, but when they do, the book gives a nice twist to the story.
Since I am not healthy enough to read print versions of books because of extreme migraines, I can't answer this question, but I can tell you that Nadia May is one of the best narrators I've heard, and I have 640 titles in my library, in addition to hundreds of copies of audio books on CD or cassette, so I qualify as an expert in narrators.
I always enjoy the great characterizations that Marsh creates, with the mysteries being centered upon the natures of her characters, including, especially in this book, Chief Superintendent Roderick Alleyn and his famous artist wife, Agatha Troy. This book particularly creates some memorable characters in the Boomer (the president of Ng'ombwana and the former classmate of Alleyn), Mr. Whipplestone (a former diplomat to Ng'ombwana now retired and involved in the case) and his helpful kitty Lucy Locket, and the piggish siblings the Sanskrits.
This may be influenced by all the other books I've heard Nadia May narrate, but I love her characterization of Agatha Troy Alleyn! But that may be related to just how much I love Marsh's drawing of the character in the first place!
It is one of my 2 favorite Ngaio Marsh books (along with Death and the Dancing Footman). The book contains many angles to appreciate, with mystery, individual characterization, political intrigue, and a possible crime/hate group ring! I consider Ngaio Marsh to be one of the best writers of "cozy mysteries," and this is high on my list of favorites!
I love this book so much that I have given copies of it to several friends who are now big fans of Ngaio Marsh as a result!
I also appreciated the positive angle that Marsh took on race relations at a time when it was not so politically correct to show equality between blacks and whites. Marsh shows this same racial consciousness in Clutch of Constables.
Absolutely! I have given copies of this book and Black as He's Painted, another Ngaio Marsh book, to many friends for Christmas. I love the premise that Marsh set up, where any one guest in the party may become the victim, as each person hates everyone else! The book is creative and enjoyable. It is a good example of a "cozy mystery"!
Marsh takes her time setting up the premise of the book and the character development, with all characters being complex and with plenty of motivation to kill anyone else in the snowed-in weekend party. Alleyn didn't even appear until the last third or so of the book. I can't tell you the most memorable parts in detail without giving away the victim and criminal, but the murder attempts and success, as well as the unveiling of the criminal were most dramatic and creative.
Certainly! I've listened to this book probably about a dozen times, and some have been in one setting, all 8 hours or so and all!
Dame Ngaio Marsh is considered to be one of the three queens of the golden age of mystery, along with Dame Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers, but of all mystery writers, she does the best job of developing her characters effectively before the murder, so the mystery is based less on clues, psychology (AKA Hercule Poirot's "little gray cells"), or tracking down the thief than on the character of the people involved in the books. Well done!
This book, framed by a lecture that Alleyn gives at the police academy, is one of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors! (My other favorites by her are Death and the Dancing Footman and Black as He's Painted.) I loved the interplay between Troy Alleyn as she takes a river cruise on the spur of the moment and gets involved in the case of a master murderer criminal as Roderick Alleyn narrates the happenings from his perspective as both CID and husband. I enjoyed the creative, in-depth character development that is a sign of almost all Ngaio Marsh books.
The plot was highly engaging without making me tense. I listen to my audio books to be distracted from the constant pain I live in with migraines that don't let me read books with my eyes but only with my ears, so I don't want books that create tension in the body that can affect my physical pain. The books by Ngaio Marsh are perfect for that, as they keep my interest and distract me from my pain without keeping me from being able to relax. They are the perfect "cozy mysteries," along with those by Rex Stout and Agatha Christie, among others.
Definitely Troy! When Marsh proposed introducing a love interest to Roderick Alleyn, her publishers were displeased, wanting her to limit her books to mystery alone. But the introduction of Troy was a great coup, and I think virtually all readers see her as a much better foil to Alleyn than Nigel Bathgate ever was, as he came across as unrealistic and annoying!
This book really fascinated me, as its theme was about a woman who appeared in a mural. It shows research into how murals are made, but in the meantime, the book itself is a mural, with each element being one little piece of the puzzle, but leaving the reader unsure where it fits into the puzzle. I thought the book was excellent in its portrayal of the period and of the way it drew out the mystery. Highly recommended.
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