I've listened to all of the Chief Inspector Gamache novels, and this is the best so far. I enjoy series mysteries until the author tires of them and that fatigue becomes obvious. But Louise Penny obviously loves these characters, so not only is she not tired of them, she is actually in the early stages of romance with them, when we're still learning things about their character, their psychological makeup, their pasts and relationships. Bury Your Dead combines a search for the historical Samuel Champlain with the painful--and current--death of Agent Morin, the young agent who picked up the priceless violin in the "hermit's" cabin in the previous novel, and entranced his fellow officers with his gift. Penny explores Gamache's deep sense of responsibility for the young agent, who was soon to be married, and his anguish over the pain the failed operation has caused his second-in-command Jean Guy, and the other people in his department. Penny has created in Armand Gamache a character who is sufficiently flawed to be believably human, but one who represents the best that human beings can aspire to. I love these novels, and this is the best one yet!
This wonderful imagining of the tale of Macbeth fleshes out the story line of Shakespeare's play and brings to life even further than Shakespeare implies the love story between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, whom the authors name "Skena," and the love story between Macbeth and Scotland. The scenery is as bleak as ever Scotland in the dark ages can be painted, and yet the players love the land. The theme "the king and the land are one" is maintained from legend to this telling and pathetic fallacy abounds. But as beautiful as the writing is, the choice of Scot Alan Cumming to narrate this novel was nothing short of inspired. Scots are often unintelligible to the American ear, but Cumming is intelligible and completely Scottish at the same time. His narration is charming, romantic, and compelling. The authors have scored high with this imagining of a story found deep in history. I hope their next experiment will be with one of my favorite characters from Shakespeare and history--Richard III.
This early murder mystery displays typical Victorian-era country-house characters that are amusing and entertaining. I wasn't expecting Milne's wry humor, and I was pleasantly surprised with the opening conversations between the servants that kick off the story. The 6.5 hour length is good for numerous activities, and the easy-to-follow characterizations allow for other pursuits to occur simultaneously. Like many male narrators, the reader's men are much better than his women, but overall everyone had a characteristic "voice" that alleviated any confusion. This "read" is just plain good fun and I recommend it for anyone who loves country-house mysteries.
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