I am a big fan of Mr. Alexander McCall Smith, but, after having listened to Corduroy Mention, I felt a bit disappointed. It resembles the 44 Scotland street series in its setup, well, only it takes place in London. However, it is much flatter than the Edinburgh-placed stories: the characters are harder to engage with, there are too many of the second-plan people and stories, and London is not really present, not even in the background (and one expects the location to play at least some role in McCall Smith???s books). To me, the book felt busy and lacking depth, and some story lines were left uncompleted or not fully realized, or not connected to each other in any meaningful way.
It feels like the author was trying to mix all the necessary ingredients of a good cozy mystery (a small town, a small shop, a cat, even cookie recipes), but the dish just did not work out. I could not make myself to care for the characters; the location was neither interesting nor atmospheric, the mystery itself, especially the outcome, was just not good enough, or subtle enough. I do not think I will be listening to any more books in the series. That's how the cookie crumbles, I guess.
I enjoyed this amusing story about the Poor Relations. It is fast and fun. We follow Mrs. Budley on her thieving expedition, and, what follows is pretty funny. Humor gets a bit crude, but all in all, another great book in the series. Done with this book in the series; and off my credit goes for the next one!
More convincing characters, better grounding in the time period, clearer story line and omitting copy-pastes from Oxford tour guide could have made it better. This book is an exceptional failure, in my view.
I did not mind the narrator one way or the other, the story, however, was week, to say the least.
I would definitely try to cut down on pontificating about Oxford and the Parliament a bit. It's better to "show" those things than to "explain" them.
After the first book which was so-so, I decided to give the series a try, and I feel sorry I did. That's it for me, personally!
The book reminds me of Alexander McCall Smith's books, with a thoughly "good" main character, smooth rythm of the story, and attention to background.
To me, the performance seemed consistently irritating - half of the characters sound like whispy toddlers.
Overall, a lovely book, especially if you find the narrator tolerable; I am definitely downloading the next book from the series.
The story has a promise of a good "cozy mystery," but it does not deliver. To me, there were too many annoying moments, unexciting and repetitive coffee factoids, and self-righteous characters.
It is hard to separate author's efforts from the narrator's contribution - but together they succeeded at making their characters sounding like pompous narcissists. I could not connect or like either of them.
As mysteries go, this one is good enough. As coffee goes - the author did not tell us anything we cannot read on a box of any espresso-maker, really. And, as characters go, nobody to like. As for the location, it feels like the author tries hard to sell it, but she does not show us anything, so that we would have a chance to like it ??? all these things make it a major miss for a mystery series. At this time I am pretty sure I am not going to buy any more books from this series. ??? And I had such high hopes, since I love coffee and mysteries. Oh well???
Not really. I thought he over-did it, and probably the credit for how pompous and self-righteous the characters sounds should go to her only.
The series is (and probably will forever remain) unfinished.
I have just completed listening to the last installation of the series. For me, it was a surprise that the story is yet again unfinished, but this time the end comes as such a shocker since no single plot line is completed. The feeling is that Martin just got tired of writing it, ended the sentence and promised to finish the book next year. Now it is quite obvious he is never going to finish it, and although I enjoyed listening to the 4 books of the series, I feel a bit cheated, especially since each book costs 2 audible credits. I have spent 4 months worth of credits on an unfinished work; I really wish Audible put a note about it in their review of the Game of Thrones???
Of course now I did some research and saw the frustration of the readers of this series about Martin never delivering on his promise and completing it, but when I bought the Game of Thrones I was unaware of it, and now I regret the credits I spent.
This book is the third in the Fandorin Series. This series is quite remarkable, in sense that Akunin tries different styles of a mystery in each part: the Leviathan story is written in A. Christie's style, for instance – the Oriental express comes to mind immediately. This one is a war espionage story told by a young woman who ran to the frontline to see her fianc?. As any other Fandorin story, it is enchanting – the language and the main character are quite captivating.
I was disappointed with the book. It is a story of 3 women struggling to succeed in the City, and in their families. I had the feeling that the book was supposed to be feminist, but could not quite pool it, instead, it displayed patchy clich?s; that it was supposed to be entertaining, but was rather insipid.
With the exception of several episodes, the book left me indifferent. The characters did not speak to me at all, they were so underdeveloped, that sometimes they blurred into one and I had hard time figuring out who was the main character of a given part.
Overall, pretty shallow, sometimes moralizing, and not that much fun...
After his adventures described in "the Winter Queen," young Russian diplomat travels to Japan on board of Leviathan, where a series of unfortunate and mysterious events take place. The setting of the novel somewhat reminds Agatha's stories, but Akunin's book offers more than a thrilling mystery: the language is truly exquisite, and the translation into English did not ruin it. I have read the book in Russian and listened to it in English, and loved the both versions. I just wish more books from the series about Erast Fandorin were available in English, and I certainly will continue to look for them.
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