I have read and enjoyed Lisa Gardner's other D.D. Warren books, but I had to stop listening to this one after only about two hours. In most murder mysteries, the murder is described just once and it's over. In this case, the repeated descriptions of the postmortem injuries inflicted on victims made me cringe so much that I found this book an unpleasant experience and I had to stop listening.
This book filled in a key hole for me in the story of the Emerson family's archaeological and investigating adventures. I was very disappointed that it was available only in abridged form -- normally I won't touch an abridgement -- but I decided to make an exception because I really wanted to hear this one. I was pleasantly surprised, as I would not have realized it was abridged if I had not known it. Barbara Rosenblat is great, as always!
I was so glad to see a new Elizabeth George title on Audible! This is one of her best, in my opinion. Those who follow the series will be familiar with the mix of the mystery that faces the detectives and their personal lives, and this one is no exception. It contains a key, life-altering event for Detective Lynley.
If you like foxhunting, hounds, foxes, lyrical descriptions, dialogue between animals and learning about how a fox hunt operates from the viewpoint of all (and I mean ALL) the participants, this book is for you. If you are looking for a good mystery, forget this one. About halfway through, about the only thing mysterious that had happened was a couple of deaths (by hemlock!) of people we hadn't even met, and even the main character was only mildly interested in what happened to them at that point. The ultimate trap for the villain was pretty exciting, though. Also, the author narrated this one -- always a mistake, I think. She was a bit mechanical. Barbara Rosenblat or another professional could have livened this one up considerably.
The narrator added immensely to this story, I suspect. I probably never would have made it through this full book in written form, but the narrator (despite certain irritating inflections) has a way of showing the meaning through his tone, which cuts through the verbosity. The action scenes are great -- in one, Rebecca looking out the window and describing a battle to the bedridden Ivanhoe, and the very vivid description was marvelous. That said, I'd recommend that the listener skip the introductions, one by a scholar and another by the author, which take up about an hour at the beginning. They are dead boring.
Fans of this author's Amelia Peabody turn-of-the-century Egyptologist series will enjoy this book in her modern-day Vicky Bliss series. Vicky takes a trip to Egypt, finds mystery and conspiracy, gets bombed, tricked, kidnapped and held captive, and it's fun spotting the references to places and people in Amelia's world. Most notably, a significant plot element involves the restoration of murals in a queen's tomb -- discovered by Amelia and Emerson in The Hippopotamus Pool. And Vicky's criminally-minded lover, John (a recurring character in the series), is more than reminiscent of Amelia's Master Criminal. It's enjoyable light reading.
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