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Linda Lou McCall

Obsessive reader, 6-10 books a week, chosen from Member reviews. Fact & fiction, subjects from the Tudors to Tookie, Harlem to Hiroshima, Huey Long to Huey Newton.  In-depth fair reviews - from front to BLACK!!! 

Phoenix, AZ USA | Member Since 2007

726
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 163 reviews
  • 778 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 85 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
84

  • New York: The Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Edward Rutherfurd
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall
    Overall
    (740)
    Performance
    (363)
    Story
    (363)

    New York is the book that millions of Rutherfurd's American fans have been waiting for. A brilliant mix of romance, war, family drama, and personal triumphs, it gloriously captures the search for freedom and prosperity at the heart of our nation's history.

    Chuck says: "Stunning"
    "INCREDIBLE!"
    Overall

    How does Edward Rutherfurd do it? I can barely write a check to pay my mortgage while this author regales us again with his incredible story-telling. I'd read "London" and "Sarum" years ago, before audiobooks and just recently listened to "Princes of Ireland" and "The Rebels of Ireland" - unabridged. Just when I thought Rutherfurd had run out of typewriter ink, here comes this magnificent account of the greatest city in the world. He effortlessly weaves the stories of people who made up what would become "the melting pot" of this country, black, white, poor, rich, young, and old. If you slept through history class, this is the book which will get you caught up in an informative and entertaining way.

    64 of 69 people found this review helpful
  • Prisoners of War: Australians Under Nippon

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Tim Bowden
    • Narrated By Tim Bowden
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    This documentary series, first presented in 1985 by acclaimed producer and presenter Tim Bowden, is a harrowing account of the ordeals faced by Australian POWs in Japanese camps, at the height of World War II. Told through the first-hand accounts of survivors from the war, this series has been remastered and serves as an indispensable insight into the realities of the war in the Pacific.

    Linda Lou McCall says: "FILM SOUNDTRACK - DOES NOT WORK AS AN AUDIOBOOK"
    "FILM SOUNDTRACK - DOES NOT WORK AS AN AUDIOBOOK"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about Prisoners of War?

    Not being able to understand what's being said. Some of the Australian accents are just too thick. I thought it would be one narrator reading the first-hand accounts of the war.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    I didn't get that far. I gave up after 30 minutes.


    How could the performance have been better?

    This is the soundtrack of a documentary film. It doesn't work as an audiobook. The survivors' accents are hard to understand. Then some are speaking over sound effects of bombing and shooting - maybe from an underlying film segment - and that only makes it all worse.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dangerous Women

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin, Gardner Dozois
    • Narrated By Scott Brick, Jonathan Frakes, Janis Ian, and others
    Overall
    (152)
    Performance
    (135)
    Story
    (138)

    All new and original to this volume, the 21 stories in Dangerous Women include work by 12 New York Times best sellers, and seven stories set in the authors’ best-selling continuities - including a new "Outlander" story by Diana Gabaldon, a tale of Harry Dresden’s world by Jim Butcher, a story from Lev Grossman set in the world of The Magicians, and a 35,000-word novella by George R. R. Martin about the Dance of the Dragons, the vast civil war that tore Westeros apart nearly two centuries before the events of A Game of Thrones.

    Hassan says: "To All Men Out There, Women Are Dangerous"
    "A CONFUSED BUFFET"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Has Dangerous Women turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Most definitely. I thought I could rely on a good read based on George R. R. Martin's name. But I have no idea what this compilation is supposed to be about. It's a mish-mash of stories which otherwise never have been published.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    I was very, very disappointed in the book. Promised much, but delivered little.


    Any additional comments?

    This book seems to be a way for each writer to blow his or her own horns about what awards they've won, what books they've written and which books they are working on. In some cases, the laudatory prefaces are more interesting than the actual stories. I had to give up on this before I finished Part 1. AWFUL!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Rise of the Mafia: The Definitive Story of Organised Crime

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Martin Short
    • Narrated By Matthew Lloyd Davies
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Murder, violence and corruption are words synonymous with organised crime. Its long and bloody history influences all our lives whether we know it or not. But what lies behind these shadowy organisations? Where did they come from and how did their influence become so widespread?

    Lauren says: "Great Story with some technical flaws"
    "WELL-RESEARCHED BUT POOR NARRATOR & PRODUCTION!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Rise of the Mafia to be better than the print version?

    There's no way THIS production is better than anything, much less the print version! It is poorly produced and badly narrated. I would rather have READ this book than listen to it.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Overall, the book is well-researched, going into detail about many areas of organized crime, often overlooked in other books.


    What didn’t you like about Matthew Lloyd Davies’s performance?

    First, this book is about AMERICAN organized crime, so why wasn't an American narrator used? Is the author British also? I found it disconcerting to hear money described in "pounds" instead of dollars in several places. Also, there's something "Un-Mafia" about finding a body in "the BOOT of a car"! I was waiting for Al Capone on go "on holiday" or ask "When will tea be served?

    But the major, major flaw here is in the production of the sound recording. I have listened to 2,000+ audiobooks and I have never EVER heard a narrator stumble, cough, take a long pause, and then start a sentence all over again! Plus he could barely pronounce the names of key figures or common words. This, on top of giving other words the British pronunciation when the subject matter is purely American.


    Any additional comments?

    Audiobooks cost way too much money for this lackadaisical level of production. Overall, this is a great account of organized crime, from it's very inception. However, I had to stop listening after just a few hours in because the flaws in the recording and narration became irritating. If I can spend my money or use a valued credit, why can't I be assured that Audible.com is giving me a well-made product? Audiobooks need some kind of quality control. With the ease and low cost of digital media, there is no excuse for this poorly produced book.

    This is a book better served printed!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • In Bed with the Tudors: From Elizabeth of York to Elizabeth I

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Amy Licence
    • Narrated By Debra Burton
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Illegitimate children, adulterous queens, impotent kings, and a whole dynasty resting on their shoulders. Sex and childbirth were quite literally a matter of life or death for the Tudors.

    Mary Elizabeth Reynolds says: "In bed, meaning giving birth"
    "DECENT HISTORICAL ACCOUNT - AWFUL NARRATOR !"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about In Bed with the Tudors? What did you like least?

    This is pure fact, much of it overlooked in other history books,. However this is the worst narrator ever, especially for a book that is entirely narrative with little or no dialogue.


    Would you recommend In Bed with the Tudors to your friends? Why or why not?

    Not at all! Amy Licence totally ruins this book. She reads way too fast, fumbles words, and mispronounces even more. Her voice is shrill, irritating, and lispy. The book had not been rated at all when I bought it but I figured how bad could a story about the Tudors be? Answer: VERY BAD AS NARRATED BY AMY LICENCE!


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    She's just not experienced enough. A more dynamic narrator like Nadia May, Wanda McCaddon or Simon Vance could have made this a 5-star read.


    Do you think In Bed with the Tudors needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Yes, it could start with one on the Plantegenets as a prequel. The sex lives of the the rich and Royal is well told in the original book.


    Any additional comments?

    I could only take a few hours of this book due to the exceedingly bad narrator. Also the recording production is full of reverb which only exacerbates the narrator's poor performance. With another narrator, this could be a really good work. As it is now, it's not worth the credit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lonesome Road

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Patricia Wentworth
    • Narrated By Diana Bishop
    Overall
    (92)
    Performance
    (63)
    Story
    (63)

    There were times when Rachel Treherne fervently wished that her beloved father had left his fortune to somebody else, so overburdened did she feel with the administration of the estate. And never more so than now for, although she was surrounded by relatives who depended on her, whom she loved and who must surely love her, there was no doubt in her mind that somebody was trying to kill her.

    Constance says: "Scrmptious Classic British Mystery"
    "EASY TO MIX UP STORIES IN THIS SERIES"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    It was something to do. It's certainly not as good as Agatha Christie. I listened to three in this series and Wentworth rehashes the same plots, dialogues, and characters over and over again. A will, a wealthy relative, an American, a bunch of poor relations, one house, a cad, a cousin, a crime, a colorful scarf, Also, Miss Silver is not well-developed and is very uninteresting sleuth.


    Would you recommend Lonesome Road to your friends? Why or why not?

    Yes, there's a market for this kind of book. If you like Miss Marple - and you have read all of those books THREE TIMES EACH - then this series will work.


    Which character – as performed by Diana Bishop – was your favorite?

    I said "Rachel" in my review of the first book "Grey Mask" but that's because I'd read 3 in a row and they were all basically the same. I got the characters confused in Books 1 and 2. Rachel Treherne was my favorite here.


    Any additional comments?

    There's nothing overall wrong with this series. Just don't fall for the description "like Agatha Christie" as I did. Because Wentworth is not even close. These books are good for their era and as long as you wait 6 months between each in the series. I can read Agatha Christie books one after another, even a second and third time each, and still not figure out the plots. I was looking forward to listening to all of this series. However three of these is enough for me!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Grey Mask: Miss Silver, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Patricia Wentworth
    • Narrated By Diana Bishop
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    The first of the classic mysteries featuring governess-turned-detective Miss Silver, who investigates a deadly conspiratorial ring. Charles Moray has come home to England to collect his inheritance. After four years wandering the jungles of India and South America, the hardy young man returns to the manor of his birth, where generations of Morays have lived and died. Strangely, he finds the house unlocked, and sees a light on in one of its abandoned rooms. Eavesdropping, he learns of a conspiracy to commit a fearsome crime.

    Linda Lou McCall says: "AGATHA CHRISTIE-LITE......VERY LITE"
    "AGATHA CHRISTIE-LITE......VERY LITE"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Patricia Wentworth and/or Diana Bishop?

    I tried 2 more by Wentworth and found all three books to be the same story, just different names. Narrator Diana Bishop is superb.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    In this first book, I was mildly surprised. But that's because if you pay attention, each most viable suspect - the poor relation, the jealous lover or competition, the disgruntled retainer - are all eliminated, one by one, until the LEAST LIKELY person is left standing. By the third book, I figured it out right away.


    Which character – as performed by Diana Bishop – was your favorite?

    Rachel.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Probably not. Mrs. Silver is not as well-developed as a Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot. She's just not very interesting enough to carry a feature film. Maybe a television series.....


    Any additional comments?

    There's nothing overall wrong with this series. Just don't fall for the description "like Agatha Christie" as I did. Because Wentworth is not even close. These books are good for their era and as long as you wait 6 months between each in the series. I can read Agatha Christie books one after another, even a second and third time each, and still not figure out the plots. I was looking forward to listening to all of this series. However three is enough for me!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Seamstress

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Sara Tuvel Bernstein, Louise Loots Thornton, Marlene Bernstein Samuels
    • Narrated By Wanda McCaddon
    Overall
    (274)
    Performance
    (249)
    Story
    (244)

    Told with the same old-fashioned narrative power as the novels of Herman Wouk, The Seamstress is the true story of Seren (Sara) Tuvel Bernstein and her survival during wartime. This powerful eyewitness account of survival, told with power and grace, will stay with listeners for years to come.

    Karen says: "Thankfully a happy ending to the nightmare"
    "NOT BUYING INTO THIS PARTICULARLY STORY!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Not as a true story. This story is too contrived. Overall it's a good emotionally charged read. I just don't believe it as an actual account. I can't find anything about Sara Tuvel Bernstein except as it refers to this book.


    What could the authors have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Just call it what it is - FICTION! I don't doubt that Ms. Bernstein suffered some oppression at the hands of the Nazi's. I just don't believe that she was the only survivor among millions to have the kind of resolve - and luck - that she claims in this book.


    What does Wanda McCaddon bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Wanda McCaddon is masterful as always.


    Was The Seamstress worth the listening time?

    Only if you think of it as either fiction or a historical account in which the author has taken considerable literary license. The story IS moving and inspiring - it's just not believable.


    Any additional comments?

    I've read all of the reviews both here and on Amazon.com. Only one other reviewer feels like I do. I know I'm going to take a lot of flack for this, but I wish someone had given me a less emotional review of this book. I'm black and I'm used to Jewish friends claiming to "understand the pain of slavery". Well, no! "Your blues ain't like my blues"! But I always read books about Holocaust survivors out of respect for THEIR plight. However, there was something just not right about this account. Sara seemed to always have the answer or solution to some really horrific situations while her reaction to the deaths of her family members, one by one, was like "Ho hum!" I just didn't believe that one person in millions had the survivor instincts that this writer claimed to possess. It's easy to say you've done this and that when there's no one to refute your assertions.

    The story is well-written and well narrated. But when you "pull the seams apart", it just doesn't fit. There's no way to fact-check the claims of the author. Plus, she was only in that concentration camp for a few months right before the war ended. I found her account of her early life and the years leading up to her so-called "arrest" much more interesting. Living like a hunted animal with no country to call "home" had to be awful. It's when she gets to the camp and on the trains that the story falls apart. Who can go WEEKS without water while doing back-breaking work? Or eight days without food or water packed into a boxcar like sardines? One minute everyone is freezing to death inside the boxcar, then in the same week, the train is sweltering from the weather outside. While the first 75% of the book tells an interesting account, the last becomes overly dramatic and predictable. And, again, I found Sara's total apathy towards the death of her family and camp friends bordering on sociopathic. Why? Because nobody died like she claims.

    Notice that Sara is the only person who repeatedly manages to "save the day" by stealing, smuggling, or hiding enough food for her companions. Under those severe and harrowing circumstances, I know I wouldn't take up with a bunch of losers who never bring anything to the table to help in the survival of the group. When Sara is given a lice-ridden coat in the camp-wide clothing swap, she somehow gets one full of paper money hidden in the lining! And she just happened to have squirreled away a needle and thread in the tightly secured camp so she can rip up the lining to get the money, then sew it back up expertly. Really? As if all of those SS guards were too stupid to notice that the already thin garment just might be a little heavy or bulky! Then she and her friends used the money for TOILET PAPER for several weeks but, again, no one in the camp, prisoners included, noticed them "Benjamins" in the crapper! You haven't wiped your butt in months and that's all you could think to do with a large amount of money? C'mon!

    What I DO believe is that some opportunistic writers saw a KERNEL of a good book after meeting a Holocaust survivor, likely in her dotage. I thought this book would be a first-hand account by an actual survivor who had gone through one horrific act after another during World War II as a Jew in occupied Europe. It turned out to be a compilation of everything that could happen to several people in a "perfect storm" of terror and persecution. Kind of like "Forrest Gump Meets The Fuhrer"! There's something that just didn't pass the "smell test" for me. I almost didn't write a review because I knew others would be upset with my reaction to this book or they would say, being black, I just don't understand the plight of Jewish people. That's absolutely not true. I sympathize and empathize with the hatred endured by Jews THROUGHOUT the history of the world. How could I not when my own ancestors were oppressed, murdered, beaten, lynched, and raped for centuries as recently as the 21st century? Here, I'll just have to take the hit because I'm calling "a spade a spade" - Sara is "shoveling" it a bit deep!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Dragnet: Old Time Radio - 380 Episodes

    • ORIGINAL (137 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Frank Burt, James E. Moser, John Robinson
    • Narrated By Jack Webb, Barton Yarborough, Ben Alexander, and others
    Overall
    (30)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (27)

    Dragnet was perhaps the most famous and influential police procedural drama in media history. The series gave millions of audience members a feel for the boredom and drudgery, as well as the danger and heroism, of real-life police work.

    Actor and producer Jack Webb's aims in Dragnet were for realism and unpretentious acting. He achieved both goals, and Dragnet remains a key influence on subsequent police dramas in many media.

    Elizabeth says: "The Grandfather of Law and Order"
    "A CLASSIC!!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    That question is not applicable here.


    Did the narrators do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    This is a multi-performer audiobook with different actors playing each role. That gives the listening experience a rare layered effect.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Serpent Garden

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Judith Merkle Riley
    • Narrated By Alison Larkin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (8)

    Susanna Dallet is the daughter of a Flemish painter and wife to a philandering husband, living in the court of Henry VIII. When her husband is murdered, Susanna is suddenly left with a household to provide for and nothing to her name. Her days of anonymity are over when Susanna finds that guild rules preventing women from working do not apply at the king’s court, and she manages to secure a position as a miniature-portrait painter. Before long, she has not only made a name for herself, she is close to those who surround Princess Mary. But even in this lofty company, Susanna is not safe....

    Linda Lou McCall says: "DON'T FALL FOR THE PRINT VERSION AMAZON REVIEWS"
    "DON'T FALL FOR THE PRINT VERSION AMAZON REVIEWS"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    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.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    A much better narrator. While Alison Larkin is not a totally crappy, she just wasn't right for this book.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Alison Larkin’s performances?

    Yes, I think it was a "perfect storm" of issues which brought the whole work down.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Old Contemptibles: Richard Jury Mysteries, Book 11

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Martha Grimes
    • Narrated By Steve West
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (25)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (22)

    Following a passionate and troubled love affair with a pretty widow named Jane Holdsworth, Jury finds himself, unaccountably, a suspect in a murder investigation. Detained in London, Jury sends his friend Melrose Plant, former Earl of Caverness, to the Holdsworth family's Lake District home to pose as an eccentric librarian. Plant discovers that his catalogue cards contain less data on Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Southey than they do on tantalizing questions about the Holdsworths: What happened to Crabbe Holdsworth's first wife? What happened to his son, Graham?

    Toby says: "Another gem by Martha Grimes"
    "AM I MISSING SOMETHING?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made The Old Contemptibles better?

    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.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Steve West?

    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.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Old Contemptibles?

    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!


    Any additional comments?

    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!

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