An avid Caroline Graham reader, I own them all, have listened to them repeatedly, and have finally figured out why, as a reader, Hugh Ross leaves me feeling so ambivalent. In the narration of the story line, he can be very annoying, with pauses and/or emphasis in wrong places, treating the end of each line like the end of a sentence, and so on and so forth. However, as a narrator of dialogue, he is top-notch. The only area he trips up in is the narration of occasional women's voices, sometimes lending them a harsh-edged, snooty-sounding tone that doesn't jibe with the character herself as described. However, that did not occur in Death of a Hollow Man, and I recommend it freely and heartily. In fact, it's my favorite Caroline Graham audio book.
Sometimes the narrator contributes so much to a series that they imprint themselves in my mind as indistinguishable from the protagonist. That has definitely happened with Emma Powell. She is one of the most accomplished narrators working today, and I wish she worked non-stop. That being said, the plot here is also absorbing. Listening while I garden is a favorite hobby, and this one kept me on my knees in the dirt til after dark.
I loved this book. The narration was excellent, and the development of the attraction between the two protagonists worked perfectly for me. It ranks as one of my top three favorite Heyer books.
There were readers who liked this book, and even compared Malliet to Christie et al, but it didn't work for me.The narration was not objectionable, and the plot, as described, held promise (at least for me, a lover of cozies). The hero is a likable guy. But somehow the author didn't successfully create any tension in the construction or dialogue of the story. I wish I knew more about the mechanics of creative writing, so I could understand why I was so bored that I returned the book unfinished - and after the murder had occurred.
I just finished listening to this book this morning, and then in the dentist's office read an article by a woman whose four-year-old was making the family's life miserable because the pink color she had chosen for her bedroom walls two months before was now unacceptable and she wanted dark blue....and right now!! Instead of wondering why her daughter was behaving like such a monster, and dealing with that behavior, she was mulling over (with about 2-1/2 pages) the possible reasons that small children change their color choice.....? It made me remember that while I was reading this book, I actually thought to myself that it wouldn't hurt most of the children in the USA (or at least the ones I know) to live in Cecilia Rose's shoes for a couple months, and that article was perfectly timed to drive the point home. This theme has been visited before, but this is such a very charming rendition, with such excellent narration, that it is well worth a read. It left me feeling good, and with an ardent desire that all children who start out life in difficult - if not impossible - circumstances can then seque into life in Savannah, Georgia. Also with the desire that all children who are born into privilege and love and turn into demanding tyrants can seque into life in Ohio. At least long enough to learn better.
Wow. Just finished this book...and let me say, the negatives notwithstanding, I read it pretty steadily all the way through. The pros: excellent writing, excellent narration, excellent pacing. The cons: *I disliked the main protaganist, Sally, from the beginning; none of her decisions/actions, from start to finish (the last one almost made me abandon the book) were logical or comprehensible, and therefore I disliked her. *There were 3 five-year-old girls involved, all of whom were extremely precocious, manipulative and unlikable, (has anyone read that old book "The Bad Seed"?) and it made me wonder what the author's experience with children has been -I've known lots of 5 year old girls, and only one met that criteria and she was much less accomplished). *It started to drag a littlle towards the end, like the author was spinning out the story to get the right number of words.
Overall: very readable, and kept me tuned in right to the end, so it deserves 4 stars.
Her usual fabulous writing, and either Hugh Ross is becoming a better narrator or I'm just getting used to him. Either way, a thoroughly enjoyable listen.
Skilled writing and great narration could not keep me from being very depressed by this book and actually glad when it was over. I love mysteries, but I guess I prefer cozies. Full of guilt, betrayal, insanity and murderous nervous breakdowns (the only love was of the stalker/obsessive type), this is my third Tana French book, but it will be the last for awhile and I will be very careful about choosing another one.
This book did keep me listening, although the latter half was definitely a lot less involving than the first half, and the whole genesis for the murders required a complete suspension of belief (unless you accept as fact that a heretofore solid citizen can be derailed into a psychotic killer within days after learning of a decades-old event). Also, I still want to know what the episode was that split the three siblings completely asunder in young adulthood; unless I dozed off, that was referred to but never explained, and since some of the plot hinged on the fact, it needed to be. But Anna Bentinck has a very pleasant reading voice (I will look for more of her work), and I wanted a nice, long story to listen to during a day in the garden, and this book filled that bill admirably.
While Hugh Ross is not the narrator I would have chosen for this book, (James Saxon or Clifford Norgate could have nailed it), everything about the plot and style of writing is enjoyable. One of those books you hate to turn off, even when someone very short and clad in a bathing suit is tugging at your jeans and urgently lisping, "Gramma, I have to go potty...."
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