I read the reviews and so gave this one a skip until I read another one of Ms Crombie's books, and thought it was great, so back I came to this one (and all the rest as well). In this case, it was just too bad that the other readers weren't impressed, because I thoroughly enjoyed this book. If you like your mysteries less gruesome and more cerebral, you'll probably enjoy it too.
The Mensa-Member-Genius heroine is in a delightful country for a handful of days & accepts a dinner invitation from a man she hasn't seen for years and completely despises. (Why?) At dinner with her host and several other guests she has never seen before, the host drops dead into his bowl of escargot, and she is immediately Chief Suspect. (Why?) Later, surrounded by the other suspects, a glass of beer appears out of nowhere when she is alone, so our Genius gulps it down. (Why?) When she subsequently wakes up in a pitch-black tunnel with a bad headache, she is groping her way out when she pauses briefly for a "Wakeful Dream" and presto! realizes the identity of the murderer, and also (gasp) that she herself is In Danger! (What?) While all of this goes on, she mutters (un)witty little asides to herself mentally. A thoroughly annoying heroine, equally unlikeable cast of characters, farcical plot. The synopsis was the only good thing about this book. Why, oh why, did I select it?
The reviews of "Awesome", and "You won't be sorry", led me to purchase this book expecting a really interesting ride. I just fast-forwarded to the end (at about the two thirds mark) because I could not stand any more of the following: ridiculous choices made by some of the characters (supposedly in mortal fear for themselves and their families), such as inviting a complete stranger you met on the street into your home to babysit your children; involving a potential suspect's father in your top secret investigation; not involving the police because the crimes had all taken place in different jurisdictions; tortuously detailed paragraphs along the lines of, "She stepped on the brake pedal until the car slowed to a crawl. With her hands at two and ten o'clock, she swung the steering wheel to the left to pull into the driveway. She brought the car to a halt in front of the garage doors. Reaching into a zippered pouch on the side of her purse, she pulled out the remote garage door opener. Pointing it at the garage doors, she pressed OPEN". And all of this contrived tedium was narrated in a snore-inducing drone. Definitely sorry for the wasted credit.
Yet another in a long, dreary line of tales about a fiercely independent career woman who treats everyone who cares about her like absolute crap, never answering her phone calls or messages, etc. etc., ad nauseam. All this while being completely consumed with guilt about:
The murders of girls she never met and didn't save because she hadn't had any reason to suspect the existence of the murderer who did them in;
The torching of her despised arch-enemy's home by her strangely benevolent stalker;
The fall-out suffered by the friends/family of the murderers she does identify and bring to justice.
Sleeplessly she grapples with her overwhelming sense of responsibility towards all people known and unknown, EXCEPT of course, for the ones who care and worry and attempt to reach out to her. (Insert retching noise)
I have read a previous Nicci French and found it enjoyable, so I won't give up on her. But this is the last time Frieda and I will ever encounter each other.
The story is good old-fashioned cozy, and Ric Jerrom narrates it perfectly. Thoroughly enjoyable!
I'm taking down the Christmas decorations, not exactly a distracting process. But after less than 3 hours in, I have had to rewind a dozen times. Ms Riordan has a very pleasant voice, but her characterizations are lousy (the men often sound more like women than the women do) and inconsistent; I keep losing track of who is speaking. Her narration is also rather lifeless, which made it hard to determine if the story is any good. It certainly did not hold my attention. Going to have to exchange this one, because finishing it is out of the question.
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.
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.
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.
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