A wonderful old fashioned mystery full of plot twists and turns that don't stop. The narrator is perfect. My only quibble is that Miss Silver is only a small secondary character. I am not sure why it is called a Miss Silver Mystery.
Listen to this book if for no other reason that Richard E. Grant is the perfect narrator.
I think this was my first Miss Marple mystery in book form. And it is so different from the Joan Hickson variety TV movie. Mainly because the book is written from the first person point of view of another character. And at least in this instance, Miss Marple is hardly part of the story. In fact, she doesn't show up until well into the narrative. She is used mostly to reveal the killer and motive.
The story revolves around anonymous letters plaguing a small village. The narrator is pilot recovering from injuries in a flying accident. He and his sister are renting a home in Lymstock while he recovers. The rest of the cast are local recipients of the hateful letters. There's a bit of romance, a bit of intrigue, and lots of local color. A pleasant diversion for a summer's day.
I waivered between 3 and 4 stars for this book. I finally decided to go with 4 stars based on the strengths of Mina's WWII story.
The book, which alternates between 1944 and present day, is intriguing. The genealogical aspects of the search for Mina are the fascinating and move the story forward. The characters in the 1944 story are well rounded and bring the story to life. I cared about Mina and what happened to her. And when the past and the present merge, the story is first rate. The author should have stopped with Mina's story and edited out the thriller aspects-it would have been a better book.
The present day characters, including the main character (Jefferson Tayte, an American genealogist) are flat and typecast. So is the killer. No secret there, we meet the killer very early on. The bad guy(s) are transparent and the reason for a string of assassinations is over the top. It might have been more interesting if there was more variety in the way people died. The problem started for me when the bodies started mounting. The lackluster response of law enforcement was puzzling.
Tayte repeatedly mentions he is searching for his birth parents and that he has a weight problem. But that's all we know. Why is his weight an issue? How heavy is he? Does he have health issues. Or is it just an impression the author has of Americans? Doesn't Tayte have any relatives who know he was adopted? Were his birth parents British? It seems that is why he is so interested in British genealogy. But how does he know this?
A few of the details in the American scenes didn't work. When present-day Tayte has coffee with his American client, she serves the coffee from a percolator. I don't know if you can even buy percolators any more. And Tayte wears tan linen suits. And he seems to have a steady supply on hand. This is a minor problem, though. I'm sure British readers feel the same about details that American authors put in books set in the U.K.
The narrator, Simon Vance, is one of my favorites and he does a good job with Tayte's American English accent and pronunciation. There are instances, however, where Tatye uses a British pronunciation when he just wouldn't have.
Note: This is the second in a series of three books. I have not listened to the first because it was lower rated. I am just finishing the third and will not be recommending it. Too many bodies and another mean assassin. I will write a review soon.
Life changes when you have to go underground.
I loved this book. I can't wait for the next volume. It is well written, the characters are well developed. The dialogue is great. There are funny moments and awful moments. It is a perfect YA book.
There is nothing like a good British cozy and I usually enjoy a Miss Silver Mystery, even if they are formulaic. Diana Bishop, the narrator, may have a bit to do with that. I disliked The Danger Point. The main female character (Lisle) was insipid and not very bright. It was one of those times I wished the killer had succeeded. The murderer was never in doubt. Miss Silver hardly appears and feels like an afterthought. Maybe I need to take a break from Miss Silver. I have listened to three in the last month, and it really brought home how similar they really are.
This book might be better read than listened to but I'm not sure it will make a difference.
I was confused to say the least by March Middleton, at once both a girl who had never been kissed and a woman who had been engaged to a soldier in India. It was as if she had a split personality but the reader never got to see where they overlapped. I was also perplexed by the side story involving a woman March meets on a train in the opening scene and the women's club March joins. The only point of the subplot seemed to be to emphasize that March was a modern woman who liked to smoke and drink. Yet for being so modern, she meekly stood by while all the male characters in the book, even some minor ones, told her how unattractive she was. Her lack of emotional response to such attacks was disturbing. I was not surprised to find out the author is a man-a man who doesn't appear to understand women. Maybe doesn't even like women much. All the female characters are flat. Actually, I think March will discover in a future volume that the main male character, Sidney Grice, is actually a cross dresser. The author has already thrown out a few hints.
I didn't like the narrator and doubt I would listen to other books she reads.
I discovered Patricia Wentworth's Miss Silver series about a year ago. They are old fashioned British cozies. My rating is based on how well they fit that genre. Many of the books center on lost relatives or an unusual inheritance. The Chinese Shawl is set in the early 1940's. The details feel authentic and the mystery/murder is intriguing.
Broken Homes is the fourth in the Peter Grant series. I am still amazed at how much I enjoy this series. The old familiar characters are back with new twists and turns. I am giving the story four stars instead of five only because I got a bit lost in the theory of why the bad guy was doing what he was doing. If you like a bit of the supernatural, a bit of the police procedural, and a bit of the absurd, this is where you will find it.
Not at all what I expected. I had watched the 1953 movie starring Gene Barry but never considered when the story originally took place. I had no idea the book was written in 1897 and was set in England rather than California. What I found most surprising was that attitude of the populous to the arrival of Martians. Until the Martians began to attack, there was no panic or civil disorder. The people seemed very willing to accept the existence of Martians.
I found the story intriguing. As always, Simon Vance is a superb narrator.
I stopped listening after less than 20 minutes. The narrator is terrible. He is an American who has no idea what a British accent sounds like. His phrasing and pacing are bad. There is no way I could have listened any more.
I like this author. I read the first in the series and will return to the book for the second. I advise you to read. I am giving the story four stars because, even though I didn't listen to most of it, I don't want to penalize the author for the terrible narrator.
An hour into this book, I had no idea what was happening or what it was about. I didn't want to spend 16 more hours to see if I could figure it out. I don't know if the hard copy would be of any help. Maybe the reader failed to pause at scene breaks. But long dissertations on elements bogged down what story there was. I can't recommend this book.
I think it was supposed to be a serious tale, but the narrator gave a such foppish voice to one of the main characters, I couldn't tell if it was supposed to be serious or light hearted.
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