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Calliope

ratings
107
REVIEWS
106
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
2
HELPFUL VOTES
121

  • After the Funeral: A Hercule Poirot Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Agatha Christie
    • Narrated By Hugh Fraser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (48)
    Performance
    (44)
    Story
    (44)

    When Cora Lansquenet is savagely murdered with a hatchet, the extraordinary remark she made the previous day at her brother Richard's funeral suddenly takes on a chilling significance. At the reading of Richard's will, Cora was clearly heard to say, "It's been hushed up very nicely, hasn't it.... But he was murdered, wasn't he?"

    In desperation, the family solicitor turns to Hercule Poirot to unravel the mystery....

    Calliope says: "an oldie but a goodie"
    "an oldie but a goodie"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Agatha Christie's stories still hold up well over time, in spite of items (even plot-dependent items) that are out-of-date these days. This is a good mystery, performed well by Hugh Fraser, and very enjoyable. Hercule Poirot is a character whom I find a little over-bearing, but fortunately he doesn't show up until about half-way through.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Man with a Load of Mischief: A Richard Jury Novel, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Martha Grimes
    • Narrated By Steve West
    Overall
    (256)
    Performance
    (236)
    Story
    (233)

    At the Man with a Load of Mischief, they found the dead body stuck in a keg of beer. At the Jack and Hammer, another body was stuck out on the beam of the pub’s sign, replacing the mechanical man who kept the time. Two pubs. Two murders. One Scotland Yard inspector called in to help. Detective Chief Inspector Richard Jury arrives in Long Piddleton and finds everyone in the postcard village looking outside of town for the killer - except for one Melrose Plant....

    C. Telfair says: "Favorite Revisited"
    "Good but not great......"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Even though this novel is over 30 years old, it's the first time I've sampled any of Martha Grimes' books and so far I think they're good - but there's not much in this one that will make me rush to listen to the rest of the series. I've found I like the character-rich British mysteries more than American ones, and I guess I should have realized that even though these mysteries are set in small-town Britain, they're still written by an American and that will seep through. Too many of the players here seemed almost to be caricatures of themselves, or of a type. Not really my cup of tea, I guess.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 'Crooked House' & 'Endless Night'

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Agatha Christie
    • Narrated By Hugh Fraser
    Overall
    (66)
    Performance
    (61)
    Story
    (62)

    Two standalone novels from the queen of mystery, Agatha Christie. From the sprawling Leonide family to dark moors, no one can spin a mystery quite like she can. In Crooked House, the Leonides are one big happy family living in a sprawling, ramshackle mansion. That is until the head of the household, Aristide, is murdered with a fatal barbiturate injection....

    Thomas says: "Typical VS Unexpected"
    "2 very different novels, but both good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Crooked House was a terrific story, and I liked it far better than Endless Night, but both were good. Crooked House seemed to have more energy and engaging characters, but Endless Night had more mystery and sense of foreboding. Both were good, and this was well worth the time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Too Close to Home

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Linwood Barclay
    • Narrated By Christopher Lane
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (100)
    Performance
    (61)
    Story
    (58)

    In a quiet suburban neighborhood, in the house next door, a family is brutally murdered for no apparent reason. You canï¿¿ï¿¿ï¿¿t help thinking, "That could have been us". And you start to wonder, "What if we're next?"

    That's the question Jim and Ellen Cutter are asking, and the answers aren't reassuring.

    Bernie says: "Gripping and suspensful . . . FANTASTIC!"
    "Not his best - just an OK experience"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've read and listened to a few of Barclay's books before, and they were better written and more enjoyable than this one. One of the things I like about his books is that his protagonists are ordinary people caught up in unfortunate circumstances, and that's true here too, but I thought that some of the characters were either particularly stupid or weak, and that bothered me. Also, this is, at the end, a story of revenge - and I don't particularly like revenge stories - they're colder than the more common and passionate motivators of action like money, lust, jealousy, or power.

    The narrator was fine, but just OK - I don't think he really added much to the experience.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sparkling Cyanide

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Agatha Christie
    • Narrated By Hugh Fraser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (34)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (27)

    Six people sit down to a sumptuous meal at a table laid for seven. In front of the empty place is a sprig of rosemary - "rosemary for remembrance." A strange sentiment considering no one is likely to forget the night, exactly a year ago, that Rosemary Barton died at exactly the same table, her beautiful face unrecognizable, convulsed with pain and horror. But then Rosemary had always been memorable - she had the ability to arouse strong passions in most people she met. In one case, strong enough to kill....

    Calliope says: "poor resolution to an interesting mystery"
    "poor resolution to an interesting mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a different type of Christie story for me, as almost half of it takes place in the past - remembered by characters and explained in exposition - rather than actively happening. That made for a different feel to the story, but it's a good story nonetheless: A year ago, a young socialite married to an older man dies of cyanide poisoning at a restaurant, and it is declared a suicide. Almost a year later, her husband gets a note stating that it was actually a murder, and at the birthday dinner at the same restaurant for the dead woman's sister, he ends up dying of cyanide poisoning himself. Was it suicide from grief? Was the note correct or a red herring? Was his death also a murder?

    All good questions and a plot for a good mystery, but the resulting solution is weak and unworthy of the setup, IMO.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mad Mouse

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Chris Grabenstein
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (720)
    Performance
    (332)
    Story
    (327)

    Young Danny Boyle, the part-time summer cop "down the shore" in Sea Haven, New Jersey, gets taken on a wild ride when he and his longtime beach buddies become the unwitting targets of a madman's twisted scheme for revenge. Fortunately, John Ceepak, the cop with a soldier's unshakable code of honor, stays at Danny's side to help him negotiate the quick twists and turns that threaten to destroy his life, his friends, and everything about the world he loves.

    John says: "Whack a Mole"
    "good follow up in the series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Like the first in the series, this is good, lightweight fun with a lot of humour and a little crime on the Jersey Shore. There's more character development in it, which makes me look forward to future installments, but it's still a fun, easy "read" that kept me entertained. It's not great literature, but it is good fun, and the narration was terrific.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs. Dalloway

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Virginia Woolf
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    Overall
    (132)
    Performance
    (110)
    Story
    (107)

    It is a June day in London in 1923, and the lovely Clarissa Dalloway is having a party. Whom will she see? Her friend Peter, back from India, who has never really stopped loving her? What about Sally, with whom Clarissa had her life’s happiest moment? Meanwhile, the shell-shocked Septimus Smith is struggling with his life on the same London day.

    Darwin8u says: "A near perfect modern novel"
    "lyrical prose, wonderfully read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is probably a very difficult novel to read, as it is various streams of consciousness of different (but often intertwining characters) taking place in the course of a single day. The novel jumps from one to another without so much as a chapter break, but the fabulous narration of Juliet Stevenson makes it so much easier to understand and follow. The language is so wonderful, it's almost poetic in it's feeling and pacing, and this was a joy to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Kraken Wakes

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By John Wyndham
    • Narrated By Alex Jennings
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    Journalist Mike Watson and his wife, Phyllis, trace it back to the strange showering lights they noticed on the final day of their honeymoon cruise; lights which appeared to land and disappear into the water. Reports mount of similar sightings all over the world. Governments embark on missions to investigate the sea, but ships disappear and diving crews never return to the surface. Something deep in the ocean does not want to be disturbed.

    Calliope says: "classic sci-fi, wonderfully read"
    "classic sci-fi, wonderfully read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm a big John Wyndham fan, but this is one I'd never read - and fortunately it's wonderfully read and rendered as an audiobook. Like several of his others, this book follows an invasion of Earth, centering on England, but unlike many alien-invasion stories, this one involves aliens in the deep that are never seen by any of the characters in the book. It adds an air of mystery to the already mysterious happenings, as does the music that separates segments of the story in this production.

    The narrator does a great job, not only in personalizing the different characters, but also in keeping the tone from getting too maudlin.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Shirley Jackson
    • Narrated By Bernadette Dunne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (344)
    Performance
    (271)
    Story
    (275)

    Six years after four family members died of arsenic poisoning, the three remaining Blackwoods—elder, agoraphobic sister Constance; wheelchair-bound Uncle Julian; and 18-year-old Mary Katherine, or, Merricat—live together in pleasant isolation. Merricat has developed an idiosyncratic system of rules and protective magic to guard the estate against intrusions from hostile villagers. But one day a stranger arrives—cousin Charles, with his eye on the Blackwood fortune.

    jaspersu says: "The narration changed my interpretation"
    "How very strange......."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There's a lot of strangeness in this story - strange characters, strange setting, strange history - and it all mixes up nicely into an unsettling and kind of creepy story. Not frightening, just kind of weird and disturbing. It's clear from the set up that the protagonist is suffering from an undisclosed psychological issue - her words and actions are too juvenile for her actual age - but you never really know if it's always been a factor in her life or if it's secondary to the changes she's gone through since the murder of most of her family by poisoning.......She now lives a mostly secluded life in the old family home with her older agoraphobic sister and her wheelchair-bound uncle who survived the poisoning but with a loss of both mental and physical capabilities. Most of the townspeople blame the older sister for the murders, in spite of her legal acquittal, and so the sisters have reacted to the town's shunning and malevolence by withdrawing further and further into their own lives in seclusion, but managing to be content in their own little world. When a distant cousin comes to try and bully them into allowing him to rule the family home and money, it upsets their isolated fantasy world and causes unexpected changes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Appointment with Death: A Hercule Poirot Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Agatha Christie
    • Narrated By Hugh Fraser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (54)
    Performance
    (48)
    Story
    (48)

    Among the towering red cliffs of Petra, like some monstrous swollen Buddha, sits the corpse of Mrs.Boynton. A tiny puncture mark on her wrist is the only sign of the fatal injection that killed her. With only 24 hours available to solve the mystery, Hercule Poirot recalled a chance remark he'd overheard back in Jerusalem: "You see, don't you, that she's got to be killed?" Mrs. Boynton was, indeed, the most detestable woman he'd ever met....

    Calliope says: "Another great reading of an enjoyable book"
    "Another great reading of an enjoyable book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's not my favourite Christie novel, but it's still an interesting story with great characters - I particularly like the malevolent mother who is the murder victim in this story. Not sure why it was called "Appointment with Death", though - time is a factor, but no appointments were made out in the deserts around Petra (in Jordan). Hugh Fraser does a great job again, and I love listening to his narration of so many of the Agatha Christie mysteries.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Death in a White Tie

    • ABRIDGED (3 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Ngaio Marsh
    • Narrated By Benedict Cumberbatch
    Overall
    (60)
    Performance
    (51)
    Story
    (49)

    The season had begun. Débutantes and chaperones were planning their luncheons, teas, dinners, balls. And the blackmailer was planning his strategies, stalking his next victim. But Chief Detective Inspector Roderick Alleyn knew that something was up. He had already planted his friend Lord Robert Gospell at the scene. But someone else got there first...

    Patricia McBride says: "Abridgment, Narration Highlight Weaknesses"
    "bad pacing and narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I hate to say this because I love Benedict Cumberbatch's speaking voice, but the narration on this audiobook is really bad - the pacing is too quick and, espcially with the fast pacing, it's difficult to tell one speaker from another. There are parts where the narration is much better and there is tone and emotion in the various character's voices, and other times when it sounds like the book is being read quickly with little inflection, as if under time constraints. I don't know if that's a post-production issue or if Cumberbatch read it that way.

    I haven't decided if I'm going to continue or return it. I might choose an unabridged Ngaio Marsh title with a different narrator, as I can see some good mystery underneath it all.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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