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Marie

Member Since 2011

421
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 138 reviews
  • 231 ratings
  • 632 titles in library
  • 41 purchased in 2015
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FOLLOWERS
39

  • A Stitch in Time: A Needlecraft Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs)
    • By Monica Ferris
    • Narrated By Susan Boyce
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (167)
    Performance
    (142)
    Story
    (142)

    The cold, blustery Midwest winters don't exactly agree with Betsy Devonshire, but since moving to Excelsior, Minnestoa, she sure has met a lot of warm, friendly people. So she isn't too surprised when the town's most talented needleworkers volunteer to restore a damaged tapestry that was found in the basement of a local church. Betsy even offers to donate materials for the project, thinking that the free publicity will boost sales at her financially troubled needlecraft shop. But soon Betsy is afraid of losing more than her business....

    Beatrice says: "Fun Mystery"
    "Still waiting for something to happen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I purchased A Stitch in Time because it is set in the area my mother's family was from. I was bemused by the woodsy small town feel of the setting, While Excelsior (why don't narrators check for local pronunciations) is a small town, it is on the shore of a large lake surrounded by big houses, waterfront businesses, lots of other small towns or villages, and lots of old money. There is very little open space left between the Lake Minnetonka area and Minneapolis and the intervening suburbs. Actually, this story could be set anywhere. A inside joke about hotdish (casserole to much of the country) was the only Minnesota touch I heard in the four hours I listened.

    My biggest complaint was that, after 3.5 hours into the story, nothing mysterious had happened. Actually nothing much had happened at all. The potential (and I think eventual) mystery plot line about a tapestry was dropped almost as soon it was mentioned. Instead the listener was treated to a 10 minute internal monologue about the evolution of how Betsy's cat let Betsy know when it was feeding time and a scene at an overly long Christmas party. Neither did anything to move the story forward. Most of the story took place in a needlework shop Betsy inherited from her late sister. The subplot of Betsy having to economize because the business (Crewel World) was unprofitable at the moment was a laugh because Betsy was due to inherit $3 million in a couple of months.

    What I really hate are supposedly smart heroes who do stupid things, and Betsy is so stupid she drove off into a raging blizzard to pick up and deliver a needlepoint pillow. Not only that, when her car went off the road in a whiteout, she actually got out and considered walking down the road. There was excuse for such a stupid action, all for the love of needlework. I don't care if Betsy had been living in San Diego, she was from Wisconsin where she would have learned some winter driving and survival smarts.

    I have no idea what the crime or mystery in the story was because I just couldn't listen any more. Nothing happened and the narrator grated on my nerves. The writing is fine, it's just that a story should go somewhere before it ends. Maybe if I had been into needlework, I would have stayed the course. But I doubt it.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Turkish Phase 1, Unit 01: Learn to Speak and Understand Turkish with Pimsleur Language Programs

    • ORIGINAL (43 mins)
    • By Pimsleur
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (16)

    Turkish Phase 1, Unit 1 contains 30 minutes of spoken language practice, with an introductory conversation, and isolated vocabulary and structures. Detailed instructions enable you to understand and participate in the conversation. The lesson contains full practice for all vocabulary introduced in this unit.

    Marie says: "Waste of money"
    "Waste of money"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Over 1/3 of the time is an explanation of how the Pimsleur method works. You won't learn much.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Murder Is Easy

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Agatha Christie
    • Narrated By Hugh Fraser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (57)
    Performance
    (51)
    Story
    (50)

    Luke Fitzwilliam does not believe Miss Pinkerton's wild allegation that a multiple murderer is at work in the quiet English village of Wychwood and that her local doctor is next in line. But within hours, Miss Pinkerton has been killed in a hit-and-run car accident. Mere coincidence? Luke is inclined to think so - until he reads in the Times of the unexpected demise of Wychwood's Dr. Humbleby.

    Marie says: "Entertaining with Twists and Turns"
    "Entertaining with Twists and Turns"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed the characters in Murder Is Easy, though Christie again adds one of those love at first sight subplots that I find hard to accept. The plot twists keep you guessing until the end. This is sometimes billed as a Superintendent Battle story but be warned, he only shows up in the last chapter or two and is really an afterthought. Any Superintendent would have done the job.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Bedlam Detective

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Stephen Gallagher
    • Narrated By Michael Page
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (118)
    Performance
    (102)
    Story
    (103)

    Sebastian Becker, a former Pinkerton man, lives in England and investigates wealthy eccentrics who may be too insane to care for their own affairs. He is asked to investigate rich landowner Sir Owain, but arrives to discover two young girls have been murdered, and it is not the first time children have come to harm in this small town.

    Margaret says: "Satisfying!"
    "Half of last chapter is missing from Audible"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    An odd transition between the last two chapters had me check out the book version. Turns out the first 1/2 of the last chapter, which ties up the story lines of two important characters, is missing. Makes me wonder if other material has been left out as well.

    I enjoyed the first half of the book and the various storylines, but by the second half the book loses steam. The ending was unsatisfying and convoluted. I can't say I understand the motivation of the murderer or the how it relates to the rest of the book.

    Sebastian Becker is not a well developed character. His lack of emotion at the death of someone close to him is jarring. He seems to walk through the story without having any reactions to what is going on around him. The only emotion in the story comes through the great narration by Michael Page.

    This is not the first book in the series but the only one on Audible. I doubt I will look for more of them to become available. Apparently, the first book is set in the US before he returns to England. I was not surprised to discover that the author is a screenwriter. The story feels very much like a treatment for a miniseries

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Sidney Chambers and the Perils of the Night

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By James Runcie
    • Narrated By Peter Wickham
    Overall
    (40)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (32)

    1955: Canon Sidney Chambers, loveable priest and part-time detective, is back. Accompanied by his faithful Labrador, Dickens, and the increasingly exasperated Inspector Geordie Keating, Sidney is called to investigate the unexpected fall of a Cambridge don from the roof of King's College Chapel; a case of arson at a glamour photographer's studio and the poisoning of Zafar Ali, Grantchester's finest spin bowler. Alongside his sleuthing, Sidney has other problems. Can he decide between his dear friend the glamorous socialite Amanda Kendall and Hildegard Staunton, the beguiling German widow?

    Maine Colonial says: "Good writing, but weak mystery, and awful reader"
    "Watch the TV series instead"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I watched, and loved, the British series Granchester on PBS. I can't wait for more. I had great hopes for the book but they weren't met. BBC has taken a mediocre book and created a wonderful TV show. This book is actually a set of short stories with continuity of the main characters and themes. Sidney Chambers is so different from the James Norton TV character, and I couldn't warm up to him. He is flat and unengaged. In his late 30s, Sidney is naive and a bit of an air head. In the final story of the book, he treats being arrested in East Germany like a couple days at camp.

    In the book, Sidney is very involved with a college in Cambridge, which is more of the focus than the village of Granchester. Because the dons are involved, several of the stories relate to college politics and involve chemistry and physics. One story goes so much into detail about how cricket is played that the mystery gets lost in the game. As someone who is not familiar with the game of cricket, I had no idea what was going on for most of the story.

    The narrator did a good job except for one of the female voices. Amanda's voice is grating and annoying.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Absolution by Murder: A Sister Fidelma Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Peter Tremayne
    • Narrated By Caroline Lennon
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (35)
    Story
    (35)

    In AD 664 King Oswy of Northumbria has convened a synod at Whitby to hear debate between the Roman and Celtic Christian Churches and decide which shall be granted primacy in his kingdom. At stake is much more than a few disputed points of ritual; Oswy's decision could affect the survival of either Church in the Saxon kingdoms. When the Abbess Etain, a leading speaker for the Celtic Church, is found murdered, suspicion falls upon the Roman faction.

    Yvette says: "Interesting new (for me) series & great narrator!"
    "Good story, annoying writing, too many green eyes"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Even though I was intrigued by the setting and the period detail in this book, this story would have moved much faster if details and facts were not constantly repeated. I was so tired of hearing about Sister Fedelma's bright green eyes that I was ready to poke them out. I also tired of, and was annoyed by, the constant sexual undertones of the religious characters. While during this period there were mixed religious houses where both men and women lived, from what else I have read it seems men and women did not regularly "cohabitate" as described by the author but lived in separate quarters. When first introduced to Sister Fedelma, both female Abbessess in the story comment on her figure and her looks. I didn't realize that medieval nuns wore such form fitting habits that their figures were so easily judged. The main characters spend more time thinking about sex and the opposite sex than to about religion or praying. In fact, I don't recall Sister Fidelma ever praying or contemplating religion. It seemed off. The author needs to work on revealing his feminine side in his female characters. The killer was easy to spot early on. In addition, it bothered me that so many things were referred to by their latin names over and over; then again, without the narrator, I would never have guess how some of the names and titles were pronounced.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Sweet Danger

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Margery Allingham
    • Narrated By Franis Matthews
    Overall
    (60)
    Performance
    (51)
    Story
    (53)

    Way back during the Crusades, Richard I presented the Huntingforest family with the tiny Balkan state of Averna but since then the kingdom has been forgotten, until circumstances in Europe suddenly render it extremely strategically important to the British government. They hire unconventional detective Albert Campion to recover the long-missing proofs of ownership - the deeds, a crown, and a receipt - which are apparently hidden in the village of Pontisbright.

    Kristin says: "Funny and engaging Campion mystery"
    "A Campy Campion"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Sweet Danger is a campy sort of mystery, though the mystery really isn't much of a mystery. Campion is drool and amusing as he and a group of friends try to find the true heir to a piece of strategic property in a far off Balkan country. We get to meet the eccentric Finton family, in particular young Lady Amanda Finton, who scrape by running a mill. The Finton's hold the keys to the mystery. Lady Amanda likes to tinker with electricity, batteries, and radio. The bad guy and his cronies are obvious from the start.

    Francis Matthews is a wonderful narrator. I prefer him to David Thorpe, whose Campion I find grating..

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Hanover Square Affair: Captain Lacey Regency Mysteries

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Ashley Gardner, Jennifer Ashley
    • Narrated By James Gillies
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (113)
    Performance
    (107)
    Story
    (108)

    Cavalry captain Gabriel Lacey returns to Regency London from the Napoleonic wars, burned out, fighting melancholia, his career ended. His interest is piqued when he learns of a missing girl, possibly kidnapped by a prominent member of Parliament. Lacey's search for the girl leads to the discovery of murder, corruption, and dealings with a leader of the underworld.

    Gash says: "Another damaged but honorable man solving crimes"
    "Interesting mystery but missing that flare"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed the mystery but was left wanting more from the book. For me, it didn't merit being called "Regency." Except for a mention of the war with France and the Princess Charlotte's wedding and people riding around in carriages, there were few other details to bring the Regency to mind. Captain Lacey was also an odd character. His self recriminations often seemed more feminine than masculine in tone. For an army man, I thought it odd he never cursed. What little sex there is is implied rather than seen, which is a nice change of pace. I was amazed to see a reviewer on Amazon say she was going to delete the book because of its overt sexuality. I'm not sure we were reading the same book. The narrator is fine but I gave him only three stars because of Lacey's over the top, screechy dialogue.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • River of Darkness

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Rennie Airth
    • Narrated By Christopher Kay
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (190)
    Performance
    (146)
    Story
    (143)

    In 1921, the bloodied bodies of Colonel Fletcher, his wife and two staff are found in a manor house in Surrey. The police have put the murders down to a violent robbery, but Detective Inspector Madden from Scotland Yard has his own suspicions. In the meantime the killer is plotting his second strike.

    Nancy J says: "New Mystery Written in 1920's Style-What A Thrill!"
    "Exceptional Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book kept me up all night listening. While seemingly a story of gratuitous murder, River of Darkness also explores the theme of how a person's psyche long after a war is over. War, in fact, is never over for some. Airth skillfully weaves together a police investigation, a love story, and a killer's narrative. I highly recommend this book. The narrator was excellent and his regional accents sounded authentic, at least to my untrained ear.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Raven Black: Book One of the Shetland Island Quartet

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Ann Cleeves
    • Narrated By Gordon Griffin
    Overall
    (475)
    Performance
    (423)
    Story
    (427)

    It is a cold January morning, and Shetland lies beneath a deep layer of snow. Trudging home, Fran Hunter's eye is drawn to a splash of color on the frozen ground, ravens circling above. It is the strangled body of her teenage neighbor, Catherine Ross. The locals on the quiet island stubbornly focus their gaze on one man - loner and simpleton Magnus Tait.

    MxH says: "Couldn't find a weak point."
    "A New Discovery - More Please"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Raven Black is a moody, atmospheric story with twists and turns throughout. I was actually surprised when the killer was revealed. Cleeves is excellent at pulling the reader/listener into the story and her descriptions of the island culture hook you. Lt. Jimmy Perez is a character with substance, as in Fran Hunter. I understand this book was made into a British TV show called Shetland. I will be on the lookout for it.

    I concur with the other reviewers. More of Ann Cleeves please.

    10 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Eventide: Tales of the Dragon's Bard, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Tracy Hickman, Laura Hickman
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (13)

    When a traveling bard stumbles into a dragon's den, he is forced to tell stories or end up being eaten. Eventually running out of tales to share, he makes a deal: for his freedom, he will return with new sagas of adventure, romance, and bravery. Tales of the Dragon's Bard is the story of one man's quest to collect the most exciting stories he possibly can, and Eventide is the first town he encounters. With wish-women, gnomes, a centaur farmer, a resident Gossip Fairy, and a blacksmith dwarf, those living in Eventide have enough going on to keep the Dragon's Bard busy .

    Marie says: "Witty and Charming Fairy Tales"
    "Witty and Charming Fairy Tales"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This set of charming and witty tales, as told by the Dragon's Bard, is fun and amusing. I even laughed out loud a few times. If you are looking for evil dragons and vengeful fantasy, this isn't the book for you. If you like drunk pixies, sensitive dwarfs, and broken wishing wells, you will find them in Eventide. Good for the whole family.

    Simon Vance is at his best.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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