Each time I hear the announcement that this is a joint production with Harlequin, I cringe a bit. My experiences many years ago with Harlequin were not stellar. I no longer read much in the way of romance. However, this series continues to comprise entertaining historical mysteries, with a bit of romance blended in. I am enjoying them so much that I am about to start on the fourth book!
I really like how the author has developed the entire March clan (Lady Julia's family) as a major character in the series, with the unconventional nature of the father being largely responsible for the resultant wide-ranging interests and beliefs of his grown children. This adds a flavor to the stories that allows the reader to get a wonderful feel for the late Victorian period in which they are set and to root for the various family members as they go about their lives and experience their varying dilemmas.
Silent on the Moor takes Julia and Portia to Yorkshire, ostensibly to "help" Brisbane, who has purchased an estate there. Of course, this is against all propriety, and big brother Belmont, the most conventional and strait-laced of the clan, fights against the scheme until deciding that they can go if Val goes with them. So Julia and Portia are off on their next adventure.
This series is well-written and I believe well-researched regarding customs of the day. I recommend that anyone who has not read the earlier books (Silent in the Grave and Silent in the Sanctuary) should begin with those to have a full appreciation for the background of the characters.
My only problem with the narration is that Julia's sister Portia is portrayed with a tiny little-girl voice which drives me quite crazy. Portia had a small role in the first book and has had expanded roles in the next two. The reader, Ellen Archer, began with this caricature of a voice in the first book and must have felt compelled to continue it. I wish there were siome way she could achieve a toned-down version of the voice if Portia is to continue in subsequent books!
This is my favorite of this series, not because the mystery is any better -- and let's face it, we really don't read Bernie for the mysteries. I love it because the introduction of Raffles the cat adds a whole new dimension to the characters of Bernie and Carolyn. As well as some really funny bits about cat owners in general and women cat owners in particular!
I read all of the Burglar books a number of years ago, and like many fans of this series, always hoped that Lawrence Block would write at least one more. Now a new one is coming out, so I thought I would listen to them all this time around. Block used to narrate these himself, but I definitely like the new narrator's voice. He does great character voices, which is so important for this series, which is all characters.
Very happy to be introduced to this new pair of investigators! Also like the fact that it is set in the Georgian period -- just a bit before Jane Austen. Harriet Westerman is the wife of a sea captain who spent time with her husband at sea and now is land-bound. Even though she has chilldren and a large house to supervise, she is eternally curious and likely to do things that women are not known for in her day, such as reading scientific tracts. Her neighbor Gabriel Crowther is an amateur anatomist. He has written one of these tracts proposing that human bodies can tell us about their manner of death, particularly in the case of murder. So when a murder occurs on Harriet's land, she seeks out her anatomist neighbor to help.
The language and portrayal of the customs of the day feel right and are not intrusive to the story. One reviewer I read was appalled by the author's use of water and lemonade as refreshments during that time -- however, that is a minor flaw. The rest of the book reads and sounds accurate.
The story is complex and has two story lines proceeding through almost the entire book. Listening only, I found myself getting lost occasionally. The story frequently switches from one setting and group of characters to another with little or no warning. Sometimes there will be a chapter heading with date and place, but often not. A slight pause in the narration would have been helpful each time the change takes place.
Overall a very good story and likeable characters -- I've put the next two books on my Wish List!
I almost always enjoy Anne Perry's writing. I must say that Davina Porter's narration detracted for me from the story largely because I could rarely tell who was speaking. I have listened to a number of books narrated by Davina Porter and do not ever recall having this problem.
I found that I was constantly having to rewind a minute or two and listen again so that I could establish who was speaking. With Michael Page's narration, you always knew Victor Narraway's voice from Pitt's, and Aunt Vespasia's from Charlotte's. Since all four of these people figure prominently in this book, it was imperative to establish different character voices, and I don't think Porter succeeded.
From the way that the storyline proceeded, I understand that the sort of "cariacature" voice that Page established for Aunt Vespasia would not work when she became a major character (and a romantic interest!), but SOME major differentiation needed to be made.
This might be a book that you want to read in print.
This edition of the Butcher's Boy series is an incredible piece of writitng that just had me mesmerized. I loved being carried along in this stream of coincidences and mistaken identities as the Butcher's Boy once again makes his way across the U.S. on a mission, and my suspension of disbelief was firmly in place as I listened.
I don't know how to give a review of this book beyond my astonishment that I thought it was so good. It's both a simple and complex plot, and the characters are coming from different angles at the same information, with the listener in the background just drinking it in and thinking (at least I was), "No! That's not it at all!" We want to root for the government girl (Elizabeth), of course, but we want to root for the the assassin-protagonist (the Butcher's Boy), too. And in all of this, there is poignancy, sadness, suspense, and an undertone of humor that I think is a little bit of Thomas Perry's magic.
I recommend that you read the first installment (The Butcher's Boy) to have a full appreciation of this one, but I don't think it's totally necessary. Perry gives enough information when referring to events of 10 years before that you wouldn't be lost.
And of course, Michael Kramer's narration is superb.
Reads like a novel, but is a fascinating history of the search for a "magic bullet" that scientists had searched for for centuries. The discovery of the first sulfa drugs are the focus, beginning in the early 30's in Germany, but all kinds of background information is included, making for a really interesting listen.
On the human side, the story centers on Gerhard Domagk's life, and his quest to find an antibacterial agent that would be able to prevent infections and/or cure infections. He eventually was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1939 for his work in the development of the first sulfa drugs.
Amazing story and terrific audio. Highly recommended!
I have become so tremendously fond of these characters that I want to continue right away to accompany them on their next adventure. I'm sorry to have reached the point in this series that I must wait for the next book!
I am so glad that Deanna Raybourn is not letting these books dissolve into bodice-ripping romance! I was concerned that when Lady Julia and Brisbane finally had a book in which they were both in the same room together most of the time that the romantic scenes would outweigh the mystery. Raybourn is maintaining an excellent balance of allowing her readers to know the depth of the feelings between our protagonists, but not getting graphic about it. Hurrah! Great fun!
I thoroughly enjoyed the story with its twists and turns and an excellent wrapup at the end. Highly recommended for a lighter weight mystery read. The late Victorian setting adds to the charm. Reading the series in order is best, but I think that this one could be enjoyed as a stand alone.
I really appreciate Charles Todd, both his (their) Ian Rutledge and Bess Crawford series. I get them as soon as they come out, without question. I am hoping that this book was an anomaly, and not a sign that the mother-son partnership is flagging or that the authors are becoming tired of Ian Rutledge.
First of all, this book was wonderfully complex, with lots of trails to follow, many characters who could be clues to unravelling the mysteries and possible suspects. This is as you are listening to it. I found myself having to concentrate very hard to keep everyone straight. Rutledge is driving from London to Sussex to Kent over and over. And I am thinking that Somerset might have been in there somewhere too.
The problem is that there is no wrap-up to speak of where the author traditionally continues the story to (basically) explain to those of us who haven't been able to figure out how the culprit was the culprit or managed to pull off exactly what they did. This area in the book generally explains all of those tiny details that you (at least this is what happens to ME) have been saying to yourself "But how did they manage to do that?" for some hours.
At the end of this one, however, there is almost no wrapup and the reader is not even told if one of the people who is talked about throughout the book is dead or alive or where he could possibly be! Very confusing and overall disappointing, because as I listened to it I thought the story had promise.
The background story of Rutledge and how the higher-ups at the Yard are faring does move a little bit and it sounds like the new boss may be worse than Old Bowles, if that is possible. Rutledge is finally taking Hamish more in stride. He no longer fears that he is in the back seat of his car and understands that he is in the back of his mind and is likely to stay there. I think that is progress.
I recently listened to the first of this series "Test of Wills" (it was totally out of print when I first started reading this series) and am really glad I did. If you want to read another Rutledge that may be new to you, you might try that one!
When I first joined Audible, I was reading the second book of the Maisie Dobbs series (Pardonable Lies), and it became my first Audible purchase. I have gotten all of the subsequent books from Audible and love being transported back to Maisie's time -- so far, still between the wars in England.
However, this first in the series holds a special place in my heart, because it tells the story of Maisie's unusual growing up and describes her time at Girton College and as a nurse in France in WWI. Her entire backstory is here and her chance meeting with Billy Beale, as well.
If you haven't read this one and you are a Maisie Dobbs fan, you must go back and listen to it! It's not read by Orlagh Cassidy, who I have become so accustomed to as Maisie, but Rita Barrington does an excellent job.
If you have not yet met Maisie Dobbs, and you like good historical fiction with excellent characters and compelling stories and settings, don't hesitate to get this one!
I am particularly interested in the time "between-the-wars" in England because there were such huge changes in every possible area of life as a result of losing millions of their young men in WWI. It's interesting that Downton Abbey, which has become so popular lately on television, has been profiling a lot of these changes -- how the outcome of the Great War affected those who were rich and titled as well as their servants, and particularly how it affected young women of the day.
Can't recommend this highly enough!
The characterizations of the dog and cat are genius (as are the narrators of both) in this light story about a spur-of-the-moment murder by the local vicar in a 1950's English country town. And how the cat and dog come to stay, decide they have a good thing going, and take steps to see that their new human doesn't get caught.
Laughed a lot. Maurice the cat's accent is a bit thick, so I listened to it twice and laughed even harder the second time around.
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