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.
Let me preface this by saying that this was my first Alafair Burke novel. I didn't know what to expect.
I was disappointed with Audible (or the publisher) that the "book details" gave away so much of the story. It seemed that I must have listened to over an hour of the book before I heard anything new!
My first impression as I listened was that it was set up the way Mary Higgins Clark frequently sets up her novels: several different threads begin and eventually come together as the story is woven into cloth. I didn't know at the time that Alafair Burke has written a series with Ms. Clark. I also didn't know that she is the daughter of James Lee Burke (whose beautifully-written series I found depressing, so I gave up after the first one).
That being said, I enjoyed this story, and liked the twists and turns. I empathized with Alice's bewilderment, and appreciated the use of a Facebook account as a plot device.
I find that the "separate threads" method is difficult when I am listening to a book, and means that I end up going back a lot and listening again when I realize the narrator is no longer talking about the same person or place. But I did get used to it and realized I had to pay closer attention.
Worth an attentive listen!
I'm so annoyed at myself for giving Faye Kellerman another chance. I have liked a number of her books in the past. I think that her point of view of a family living an Orthodox Jewish life (always in the background and often coming to the foreground) is an interesting and different addition to these character-based police procedurals. There is almost always a strong family story that is a component of Kellerman's books, which frequently lend a reality as well as contrast to the sometimes gruesome crimes that our hero, Lieutenant Peter Decker, investigates for the LAPD.
But this one, which had two basic story lines which fractured further into additional subplots, had an unsatisfactory ending that to me made no sense. I can't go into it further because it will spoil any other reader's journey through the story.
I felt this was an example of a really interesting book which was quite enjoyable as I was reading it, but was ruined for me by a lame ending.
I have to say that the first time I listened to this first book in the Phryne Fisher series, I wasn't crazy about Miss Fisher (an earlier review of mine states that emphatically). But I liked the setting of Australia in the 1920's enough to give Phryne another try, proceeding to listen to about 10 more of her stories so far over the past couple of years.
Through those books I've become very fond of Phryne and her quirks, her thoroughly modern point of view, and her escapades. I recently discovered that there was a television series made about her and watched the first episode. I was happy to have pictures of the period (the cars and the clothes, particularly), but I remembered nothing about the book from watching the first episode (also called Cocaine Blues).
So I decided to give the book another listen. I think that I enjoyed it so much more because it reminded me of where Phryne met and befriended Dot, Bert and Cec, and gave a little background on Dr. MacMillan. Since I'm now I'm aware of Phryne's quirks and attitudes, as well as her generous spirit, I was able to be more sympathetic to her and see her as a person.
I guess my point is: (1) If you are a Phryne Fisher fan but also recall the first book as unsympathetic, give it another try.
(2) If you are NOT a Phryne Fisher fan and decided not to proceed with the other books after reading this one, please give her other books a try and come back to this one after that!
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 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!
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