Phoenix, AZ USA | Member Since 2007
Somehow I started with just one of the books in the series but soon bought all of them back to back. FYI: This is the 11th in the series. Simon Prebble, as always, is a superb narrator - much better than Samuel Gillies, who narrates like he's performing "Hansel and Gretel" to 6 year olds!
No matter how hard you try, you will never guess who will be murdered and by whom. There are so many twists and turns and red herrings that the reader is always kept guessing. The Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge is a tortured soul but a great detective. He suffers from World War I "shell shock" which is what we now recognize as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that is manifested by a dead "imaginary friend" named Hamish McCloud. This adds an interesting component into how this detective acts and reacts. Hamish is to Rutledge what cocaine is to Sherlock Holmes - a dangerous nemesis that both helps and hampers. All of the books are pretty much the same plot but just different enough in locations, people, class distinctions, and twists to make each worth reading. My suggestion is to go on Google or Wikipedia to learn the order of the series and start with the first one. Each book fills in the gaps if you start somewhere in the middle but the continuity really helps. It would be nice if Audible.com would assign chronological order to books which contain a series or prequels and sequels. )I will post this same comment on all of the Ian Rutledge books that I've read.)
With all of the crime that is happening now, people should see that there was just as much crime 60 years. I'd recommend this to friends who are always complaining about "the good old days" and "these kids today". The mindset is the same among criminals - only the amount of firepower has changed. "Dragnet" is the father of all crime shows today, especially the in depth technical ones which involve forensics and DNA and also shows like "Law & Order" that used real crimes taken from newspaper reports or police files. Jack Webb was an innovator who created this genre of television.
That question is not applicable here.
This is a multi-performer audiobook with different actors playing each role. That gives the listening experience a rare layered effect.
IMPOSSIBLE! It's 16 Parts of 6 to 8 hours in each Part. But, say, I had nothing to do for a whole month, like I'm stuck in a hospital bed because I broke every bone in my body - I'd have to say that no one would WANT to listen to these episodes in one sitting or even one day. It's basically the same format over and over again - crotchety old landladies, snoopy neighbors, arrogant criminals, mouthy teens, precocious toddlers, each repeating the same dialogue from one story to the other. The "stage business" - walking, stirring coffee, typing, opening doors, balling up paper, etc. - gets irritating after a while. It worked 60 years ago because listeners wanted to get as much bang for their buck in the 30 minute show time. However, listening to Sgt. Friday "walking" on a hard floor for the first 100 episodes, it becomes a bit old to have to hear it for 260 more shows.
Overall I enjoyed this "book" which is actually recordings of old radio shows, even with the snaps, crackles and pops. That's what gives it the dated feeling. However, the original recording was poorly done with no levels adjusted from one season to another, much less episodes. I had to give up the ghost when "the needle got stuck", playing several parts over and over again. In the old days, we'd just lift up the record player arm or put a coin on it to hold it in the groove. Here it is apparent that the engineer wasn't paying attention during the production and that Audible did no quality control afterwards.
NOTE: A highlight of these old shows is the advertisements. To hear the manufacturers of Fatima ("The Long Cigarette") and Chesterfields ("The Mild Cigarette") insist that smoking is healthy for you and that THEIR product is the very best is both funny and sad. Fatima goes on and on about how smokers switching to Fatima has increased by 500% since its last "report". If you've lost a loved one to lung cancer, this will be hard for you to take. But that was the way it was back then. People lit up a cigarette for any reason, even in a hospital bed!
I think there's a good story in there someplace but I couldn't get past the narrator's too high and irritating voice. Plus, after several starts and stops, I just couldn't get "engaged" in this story. I still don't know what it is about. After about 3 hours, I just threw in the towel. The glowing reviews for this book come from READERS, not LISTENERS, which is misleading since I am an Audible customer.
A much better narrator. While Alison Larkin is not a totally crappy, she just wasn't right for this book.
Yes, I think it was a "perfect storm" of issues which brought the whole work down.
This book is barely BOOK material - I cannot see it being made into a feature film, unless it was a Netflix movie or straight-to-DVD one.
I was the first Audible.com listener to review this book. I bought it based on the reviews but noticed too late that they were all from Amazon.com buyers. I find this very unfair to listeners of books. Narration, production and various other features are critical in an audiobook but are not important in the print version. I don't like the way Audible merges the different web site reviews when they are so very different. It is almost like "bait & switch" if one doesn't pay attention. I gave this book several chances to "come alive" but it only fell flat. REFUND!
If Richard Jury would grow up. This story takes place about 10 years after the first on in this series and Jury seems to be getting dumber and more juvenile, I listened to the first 3 books, eager for another great series of mysteries in the genre made famous by Agatha Christie. But books 4 and 5 did nothing to advance the characters. So I decided to "fast-forward" to Book 11, knowing that authors get better and better at their craft the more they write. Not so here.
There's nothing really wrong with West except that, outside English accents, he drops the ball. A narrator like Simon Vance, John Lee or Simon Vance can make the telephone book sound interesting. I don't feel that West is vested in this series so his narration is lackadaisical.
The scenes where secondary characters "muse" on something that happened in the past. JUST TELL US! Who needs all of the theatrics? And the narrator's delivery is so flat during these mental flashbacks that it made me sleepy!
I don't see why other listeners and readers like these book so much. I bought them and stuck it out based on the Member Reviews. But these books are not as good as proclaimed. I began reading Agatha Christie books, which are the "Gold Standard" of this genre. I can read Hercule Poirot 5 or 6 times and the stories never get old. Plus it is not enough to weave a good plot with twists, turns and red herrings. The main and reoccurring characters must grow and develop into mature people and more knowledgeable in their field. Scotland Yard's Richard Jury, now a Superintendent up from Inspector, is awful in this 11th book. Ten years older, he takes up with a bunch of female "hood rats", falling in love with a neurotic, unstable, broke mother of a 16 year-old son being raised by someone else. She's in his bed an hour after they met in some secondhand shop. After several non-substantive sex romps, Jury is in love, buying a ring and talking about moving in together. He knows nothing about the woman but suspects much based on her pill bottles and secrecy. But, an experienced Scotland Yard detective doesn't to the same due diligence that he would run on a suspect or family member of a murdered person? That makes no sense! Jury is not a teenager or man in his early 20s whose "big head is ruled by the little one".
None of these books tell exactly when the story takes place but one of the earlier books mentioned actor Robert Redford and this installment talks about the 1975 film "One Over Flew Over a The Cuckoo's Nest" so the reader can tell the story doesn't take place in Victorian or Regency England or even during the early 20th century. I find this whole having to figure "What Time Is It?" aspect to be a stupid waste of the reader's time. Grimes researches everything else in her books. I still remember an excruciatingly boring pool game (in "Jerusalem Inn", I believe) among expert players where Grimes gave a blow by blow account of every shot, chalking of the cues, etc.! But she can't tell us in which period these stories occur?!
My favorite character from the very first book is the titled Melrose Plant, an earl, who becomes Jury's "wing man" in the rest of the books. But here, Plant is acting like a flighty teenager running around Italy with another good character, his gay friend Marshall Trueblood. Both men are more silly than any grown people should be after 11 books! There are much better such series like Dorothy Gilman's "Mrs. Polifax", M.C. Beaton's "Agatha Raisin", even the Birmingham, Alabama sisters in Anne George's books. Anyone who has read ALL the books in these series cannot think that Martha Grimes is a real player in this genre. She (or a bunch of ghost writers) are punching out a book or two a year! The rush is evident in the final product. I know a lot of this author's fans will not find this review "Helpful" and I'm alright with that. I am a prolific reader so I know the difference between what I "like" and what is really a literary masterpiece. I just call it as I see it - no one has to agree. To me there are no "bad" books, only those which we don't care for. I only wish someone had given an opinion like this so I could have saved my money!
After listening to 3 books in the series back-to-back, I was just beginning to become a fan. However, this story didn't grab me, didn't make sense and the narrator's interpretation of an American accent is dated, unimaginative, and irritating. That whiny mid-west twang is better suited in stories from the late 19th century and early 20th century when people rarely traveled more than 50 miles from home. But now we all know how a mid-Atlantc accent sounds and that all Americans do not sound alike. I feel that the narrator and producer of this installment just got lazy. The book is about an American tour group - how hard would it have been to do a little research!
I can't say enough good things about the Dr. Thomas Silkstone stories. I downloaded this one without even reading the synopsis. Last year, I read Harris first book in this series and was blown away. I immediately downloaded the second one. Again, a great book. It's been about 6 months and I stumbled upon her latest book by accident (I wish Audible.com would implement a way that Members can be notified when favorite authors have a new release). "The Devil's Breath" is outstanding. Dr. Thomas Silkstone continues to be a well-developed character. We get a good understanding of the leading edge of what would eventually become good medical practices (not guess work, superstition, bleeding, and/or forms of witchcraft) and the advent of forensic medicine. Plus the deadly catastrophic event which kills many people during this era is a little known natural disaster that reared its ugly head again in THIS millennium! That is the true villain here. You will be shocked and frightened because it can happen again!
I can't wait for book #4 in this series, due out in June in print form. Get on it, Audible - don't make YOUR Members wait too long for the audiobook! Tessa Harris has devoted fans who are ready to buy the next Dr. Silkstone book as soon as it is released! I hope this will be a 20+ book series!
I don't know why Audible.com repeatedly asks this question in its Guided Review. It's rather presumptive to assume, as much as books cost today - especially audiobooks - that most readers/listeners would buy both formats. Of the close to 2,000 audiobooks I own and 10,000 print books that I've read in my lifetime, I only have doubles on, maybe 5, works. This is not one of them.
I was really not that surprised at the instigator because he gave himself up pretty early through his actions. However, the COMPLEXITY and MOTIVE of the conspiracy was a bit shocking.
There are 16 books in this series (4 not available in audio, although this was one of them when I pulled up the Series list), I started with "A Pale Horse" which is #10 and narrated by the great Simon Prebble. I then went from 10 to 15 and got "addicted" to the stories and very comfortable with Prebble who makes the whole psychological thriller aspect more compelling and interesting. But, out of sheer desperation (pretty much like a junkie needing a "fix"), I fed my "habit" by listening to #2, 3, and 4, narrated by Samuel Gillies" There's nothing really wrong with him, after all he started out as the narrator, but Prebble is just a better fit, giving the story a darker feel while Gillies is more suited to a light Charles Dickens story or something more Victorian. I bought #18, "Hunting Shadows" upon its recent recent 2014 release. This book was released in January 2014 also (?) so I downloaded it as soon as I finished 18. Bad move because I just couldn't get into Gilles and the quality of the recording was not good.
This series keeps the listener on guard, with its numerous twists and turns and red herrings. The moving part of the story is in every book in this series - I keep feeling sorry for Inspector Rutledge. He was dumped by his shallow fiancée when he returned from the war and, although attracted to numerous women in 14 books, he never seems to be able to pull himself together emotionally to embark on a new relationship.
Rutledge's "demon" is a psychological "talking monkey on his back" called "Hamish McCloud". No spoiler from me! But I didn't like Gilles Scottish accent enough. Hamish became irritating because it's hard to understand what Gilles is saying half the time.
I grew up just a few miles from Bethesda MD, in Washington, DC, so I was very interested in reading about this crime. However, the book started out talking about Bethesda like it is Bel Air, Rodeo Drive, Aspen, Palm Springs, Scottsdale, or any number of other much more tony and high-income areas. I failed to see what that had to do with the murder of a young woman - something that can happen anywhere.
He could have focused less on all of the alleged accomplishments of the victim (George Washington U grad, six years at Haliburton in Texas, 6 weeks away from TWO Masters from Johns Hopkins), especially since she's working in an yoga store selling workout clothes! Also about all of her drinking and hanging out with her girlfriends, like she's living in "Sex In The City"! It made her a less sympathetic character. Plus I figured out who the perpetrator was about 15 minutes after the police got to the crime scene. Range kept throwing in "red herrings" about black men which "stank" more than they fooled me.
The problem with Jesse Einstein is that he sounds like he should be reading a book about Broadway or Liza Minnelli, rather than a vicious cold-blooded, gory murder. I would say my favorites Nadia May or Simon Vance but this whole story is not up to their masterful standards. Not the crime - THE BOOK.
I was like "Oh, well". Without giving away the killer, I just felt like this killer just took a page from the criminal playbook of Susan Smith and Charles Stewart. My husband was brutally murdered in a home invasion robbery in 1997. He was an award-winning recording artist but the legal system didn't go all out to solve his murder, not even as late as today February 11, 2014, just days away from the birth of his first grandchild. This is a typical white woman murder where everyone wants to get all up in arms like it's some kind of surprise. Bethesda is a few steps from one of the most violent cities in the country but people keep flocking there. As one of my law professors taught us: "assumption of the risk".
I'm glad I only paid 99 cents for this book in the "Daily Deal". Who writes a true crime book that is less than 4 hours long? True crime writer Gregg Olsen or a young Ann Rule would have made this a real page turner, without all of the melodrama. I felt that the author's whole attitude was too cavalier about this murder. He worked really hard to make up the listener's mind ahead of time. Was the crime unspeakable and unnecessary? Of course, but it always is for the victim's family.
The fact is that the REAL criminals that night were the two Apple Store employees right next door who had their ears to the common wall for NINE MINUTES listening to thumps, bumps, crying, moaning, wailing, gurgling, calls for help, and even death throes, yet they did absolutely nothing! They didn't ask the 2 Apple security guards to check on the women next door. They didn't look out the door. They didn't knock on the wall. And above all, they failed to act as any concerned citizen would do and call 911, even if it was for a welfare check. This is a crime which could have been at least stopped before Jayna Murray was killed, hit and stabbed over 300 times during a protracted struggle. But the Apple employees let her die. They let her lay in her own blood all night long. In the allegedly upscale shopping street in allegedly ritzy Bethesda. THAT is the true crime here!
If white people in America had spent as much time watching "The Wire" as they did the mafia "fantasy" show "The Sopranos", they might not be as naive as they continue to be in this country. No place is safe. No race is solely criminal.
Flavia de Luce is the draw in these books. I've read the 4 previous books in this series and just downloaded the latest offering (which I'm saving to read until I've read everything else in the world - including, but not limited to, the active ingredients of NyQuil - in Egyptian hieroglyphs!) because I really hate when these stories end!
The only books which compare to this one are "The Sweetness At a The Bottom Of The Pie", "The Weed That Strings The Hangman's Bag", "A Red Herring Without The Mustard", and "I Am Half-Sick of Shadows" - ALL by Alan Bradley, ALL narrated by Jayne Entwistle, and ALL "Flavia de Luce Novels"! Sorry - no smoke & mirrors - nothing but the real thing!
In this book, there was a plot twist not presented in any of its predecessors. A CLIFFHANGER! And a very compelling and critical one. It came, totally unexpected, out of the blue, at the very end of the book. To say I was "verklempt" is to put a soft spin on my shock and surprise. And not to be able to go back to Audible and download the then yet-to-be-released Book 6 was enough to give a 63 year-old woman a massive stroke!!
Not only WANTED to listen in one sitting - I DID! And would have kept right on listening if the next book in the series had been released for download at the time!
Yeah!! Please, Alan Bradley, be ready to release Book 6, "The Dead In Their Vaulted Arches" within a week because I know that this elderly de Luce devoteé can not handle going "cold turkey" while waiting "with bated breath for Book 7!!! 😟
A previous reviewer claimed to be "Flavia'd out". After only THREE de-lightful romps with de Luce?! I say that is most definitely a person who doesn't love life or who is so bent down by the traumas of our time that he or she has no room for a little fun and a lot of joy. Alan Bradley never fails to give his readers a great time, like a day at the fair or a ringside seat at "The Greatest Show On Earth". Flavia is a precocious 11 year-old amateur chemist, part-time detective, and full-time pain in the rear-ends of adults. Not precocious in the "I want to smack this kid in the mouth" way. Flavia makes you remember when you were a kid and grown-ups paid no attention to you, talked around you and about you as if you weren't in the room, or gave you stupid admonishments like "Do as I say, not as I do"! Flavia's brilliant little mind always finds her in the middle of a murder but, unlike a regular pre-teen girl, she doesn't shy away or get the "vapors" over a little bit of decomposition. Instead her brain starts dissecting the crime in a way to be envied by the top Scotland Yard Inspector. I've read ALL of the books in the series and, at 63 years old, should have found nothing of interest in the machinations and misadventures of a girl young enough to be my grandchild. Yet, the one thing in common which we all have in common with Flavia de Luce is that, ONCE - for a mere 365 days - we were all 11 years-old.
Narrator Jayne Entwistle is the perfect voice for Flavia. She doesn't perform like an adult TRYING, but failing hopelessly, to imitate the voice of a child - Entwistle actually sounds like a young adolescent girl, complete with the tongue-in-cheek....well, "cheekiness" that IS Little Miss de Luce. Alan Bradley delivers another great story. I am definitely a fan and, in the future, will buy his Flavia books as soon as they are released!!! I'll never ever be "Flavia'd out" because I've got so much room in my life for a good time!! ❤️❤️👍❤️❤️
I stumbled upon this recently released Book 16, after buying every audiobook recorded in the Ian Rutledge series. It did not disappoint. I thoroughly enjoyed this one since I didn't think Todd could get any better. Rutledge continues to be a troubled detective, fighting demons from World War I. And no bigger demon than Hamish McCloud. But how can one not like a person named "Hamish"? You can start with this book or start with the first in this series. All of them stand alone. I suggest reading them in order so that you can "grow" with Ian Rutledge. Narrator Simon Prebble gives another masterful performance. I hope he continues as narrator of this series.
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