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Calliope

ratings
104
REVIEWS
103
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
2
HELPFUL VOTES
116

  • A Dangerous Mourning: A William Monk Novel #2

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Anne Perry
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (303)
    Performance
    (205)
    Story
    (197)

    When the beautiful daughter of Sir Basil Moidore is stabbed to death in her bed, Inspector Monk and Nurse Latterly uncover a tale of shame and scandal that threatens to destroy a powerful London dynasty.

    gwennieg says: "A Dangerous Mourning"
    "A shoddy mystery and too melodramatic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I can't decide if the author has written a stupid detective or if she simply thought no one would notice that a major element of the crime identified by him early in the story would simply be forgotten by the police or the reader for the rest of the (too long, too melodramatic) book. This was simply shoddy work from a crime mystery point of view, and the writing style and narration did nothing to improve it or make me suspend my disbelief over the important missed element.

    It's quite clear that Anne Perry wants to focus on the social status of the classes in Victorian London.....I would have been great if the reader could have discovered those things from the characters words and actions, but rather than illustrating them with conversations, actions, or deftly placed descriptions, she repeatedly drives them home with long passages of the characters thoughts that sound more didactic than enlightening. It's as if she wants to teach rather than share or let the reader discover it. Sadly, she's using mysteries as a tool to teach that focus, but her creation of a mystery and her writing of the process of investigation and deduction leave much to be desired - for instance totally ignoring a major determinant of the crime, making her protagonist look stupid or ill-prepared for his job.

    As for the narrator, I found she enhanced the melodrama with a slow reading and long pauses between sentances - this is the first audiobook in almost 100 of them where I chose to run it at 1.25x speed, because the ponderous reading and multiple pauses made it very heavy and slow.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Sparkling Cyanide

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Agatha Christie
    • Narrated By Hugh Fraser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (34)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (27)

    Six people sit down to a sumptuous meal at a table laid for seven. In front of the empty place is a sprig of rosemary - "rosemary for remembrance." A strange sentiment considering no one is likely to forget the night, exactly a year ago, that Rosemary Barton died at exactly the same table, her beautiful face unrecognizable, convulsed with pain and horror. But then Rosemary had always been memorable - she had the ability to arouse strong passions in most people she met. In one case, strong enough to kill....

    Calliope says: "poor resolution to an interesting mystery"
    "poor resolution to an interesting mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a different type of Christie story for me, as almost half of it takes place in the past - remembered by characters and explained in exposition - rather than actively happening. That made for a different feel to the story, but it's a good story nonetheless: A year ago, a young socialite married to an older man dies of cyanide poisoning at a restaurant, and it is declared a suicide. Almost a year later, her husband gets a note stating that it was actually a murder, and at the birthday dinner at the same restaurant for the dead woman's sister, he ends up dying of cyanide poisoning himself. Was it suicide from grief? Was the note correct or a red herring? Was his death also a murder?

    All good questions and a plot for a good mystery, but the resulting solution is weak and unworthy of the setup, IMO.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mad Mouse

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Chris Grabenstein
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (705)
    Performance
    (319)
    Story
    (314)

    Young Danny Boyle, the part-time summer cop "down the shore" in Sea Haven, New Jersey, gets taken on a wild ride when he and his longtime beach buddies become the unwitting targets of a madman's twisted scheme for revenge. Fortunately, John Ceepak, the cop with a soldier's unshakable code of honor, stays at Danny's side to help him negotiate the quick twists and turns that threaten to destroy his life, his friends, and everything about the world he loves.

    John says: "Whack a Mole"
    "good follow up in the series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Like the first in the series, this is good, lightweight fun with a lot of humour and a little crime on the Jersey Shore. There's more character development in it, which makes me look forward to future installments, but it's still a fun, easy "read" that kept me entertained. It's not great literature, but it is good fun, and the narration was terrific.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs. Dalloway

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Virginia Woolf
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (132)
    Performance
    (110)
    Story
    (107)

    It is a June day in London in 1923, and the lovely Clarissa Dalloway is having a party. Whom will she see? Her friend Peter, back from India, who has never really stopped loving her? What about Sally, with whom Clarissa had her life’s happiest moment? Meanwhile, the shell-shocked Septimus Smith is struggling with his life on the same London day.

    Darwin8u says: "A near perfect modern novel"
    "lyrical prose, wonderfully read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is probably a very difficult novel to read, as it is various streams of consciousness of different (but often intertwining characters) taking place in the course of a single day. The novel jumps from one to another without so much as a chapter break, but the fabulous narration of Juliet Stevenson makes it so much easier to understand and follow. The language is so wonderful, it's almost poetic in it's feeling and pacing, and this was a joy to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Kraken Wakes

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By John Wyndham
    • Narrated By Alex Jennings
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    Journalist Mike Watson and his wife, Phyllis, trace it back to the strange showering lights they noticed on the final day of their honeymoon cruise; lights which appeared to land and disappear into the water. Reports mount of similar sightings all over the world. Governments embark on missions to investigate the sea, but ships disappear and diving crews never return to the surface. Something deep in the ocean does not want to be disturbed.

    Calliope says: "classic sci-fi, wonderfully read"
    "classic sci-fi, wonderfully read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm a big John Wyndham fan, but this is one I'd never read - and fortunately it's wonderfully read and rendered as an audiobook. Like several of his others, this book follows an invasion of Earth, centering on England, but unlike many alien-invasion stories, this one involves aliens in the deep that are never seen by any of the characters in the book. It adds an air of mystery to the already mysterious happenings, as does the music that separates segments of the story in this production.

    The narrator does a great job, not only in personalizing the different characters, but also in keeping the tone from getting too maudlin.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Shirley Jackson
    • Narrated By Bernadette Dunne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (330)
    Performance
    (258)
    Story
    (262)

    Six years after four family members died of arsenic poisoning, the three remaining Blackwoods—elder, agoraphobic sister Constance; wheelchair-bound Uncle Julian; and 18-year-old Mary Katherine, or, Merricat—live together in pleasant isolation. Merricat has developed an idiosyncratic system of rules and protective magic to guard the estate against intrusions from hostile villagers. But one day a stranger arrives—cousin Charles, with his eye on the Blackwood fortune.

    jaspersu says: "The narration changed my interpretation"
    "How very strange......."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There's a lot of strangeness in this story - strange characters, strange setting, strange history - and it all mixes up nicely into an unsettling and kind of creepy story. Not frightening, just kind of weird and disturbing. It's clear from the set up that the protagonist is suffering from an undisclosed psychological issue - her words and actions are too juvenile for her actual age - but you never really know if it's always been a factor in her life or if it's secondary to the changes she's gone through since the murder of most of her family by poisoning.......She now lives a mostly secluded life in the old family home with her older agoraphobic sister and her wheelchair-bound uncle who survived the poisoning but with a loss of both mental and physical capabilities. Most of the townspeople blame the older sister for the murders, in spite of her legal acquittal, and so the sisters have reacted to the town's shunning and malevolence by withdrawing further and further into their own lives in seclusion, but managing to be content in their own little world. When a distant cousin comes to try and bully them into allowing him to rule the family home and money, it upsets their isolated fantasy world and causes unexpected changes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Appointment with Death: A Hercule Poirot Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Agatha Christie
    • Narrated By Hugh Fraser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (49)
    Performance
    (43)
    Story
    (43)

    Among the towering red cliffs of Petra, like some monstrous swollen Buddha, sits the corpse of Mrs.Boynton. A tiny puncture mark on her wrist is the only sign of the fatal injection that killed her. With only 24 hours available to solve the mystery, Hercule Poirot recalled a chance remark he'd overheard back in Jerusalem: "You see, don't you, that she's got to be killed?" Mrs. Boynton was, indeed, the most detestable woman he'd ever met....

    Calliope says: "Another great reading of an enjoyable book"
    "Another great reading of an enjoyable book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's not my favourite Christie novel, but it's still an interesting story with great characters - I particularly like the malevolent mother who is the murder victim in this story. Not sure why it was called "Appointment with Death", though - time is a factor, but no appointments were made out in the deserts around Petra (in Jordan). Hugh Fraser does a great job again, and I love listening to his narration of so many of the Agatha Christie mysteries.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Death in a White Tie

    • ABRIDGED (3 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Ngaio Marsh
    • Narrated By Benedict Cumberbatch
    Overall
    (55)
    Performance
    (45)
    Story
    (43)

    The season had begun. Débutantes and chaperones were planning their luncheons, teas, dinners, balls. And the blackmailer was planning his strategies, stalking his next victim. But Chief Detective Inspector Roderick Alleyn knew that something was up. He had already planted his friend Lord Robert Gospell at the scene. But someone else got there first...

    Patricia McBride says: "Abridgment, Narration Highlight Weaknesses"
    "bad pacing and narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I hate to say this because I love Benedict Cumberbatch's speaking voice, but the narration on this audiobook is really bad - the pacing is too quick and, espcially with the fast pacing, it's difficult to tell one speaker from another. There are parts where the narration is much better and there is tone and emotion in the various character's voices, and other times when it sounds like the book is being read quickly with little inflection, as if under time constraints. I don't know if that's a post-production issue or if Cumberbatch read it that way.

    I haven't decided if I'm going to continue or return it. I might choose an unabridged Ngaio Marsh title with a different narrator, as I can see some good mystery underneath it all.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Tilt-a-Whirl

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Chris Grabenstein
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1315)
    Performance
    (729)
    Story
    (725)

    There isn't much fun in the sun when a billionaire real estate tycoon is found murdered on the Tilt-a-Whirl at a seedy seaside amusement park in the otherwise quiet summer tourist town of Sea Haven. John Ceepak, a former MP just back from Iraq, has just joined the Sea Haven police department. The job offer came from an old Army buddy who hoped to give Ceepak at least a summer's worth of rest and relaxation to help him forget the horrors of war. Instead, Ceepak will head up the murder investigation.

    Bryan says: "A Guilty Pleasure"
    "good fun!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a fun, lightweight mystery set in a small seaside town.....The narrator is a summer cop, a part time employee to help with the extra summer season crowds. He is partnered with a full-time cop of the Joe Friday mold - "just the facts, ma'am" - and the contrasting styles of the buddy-cop theme works well. Even though I kind of saw the end coming, it didn't take away from the fun of the characters, and I look forward to trying the next in the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Burning Angel: A Dave Robicheaux Novel, Book 8

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By James Lee Burke
    • Narrated By Mark Hammer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (102)
    Performance
    (91)
    Story
    (91)

    Detective Dave Robicheaux becomes entangled in the affairs of the Fontenot family, descendants of sharecroppers whose matriarch helped raise Dave as a child. They are in danger of losing the land they've lived on for more than a century. As Dave tries to discover who wants the land so badly, he finds himself in increasing peril from a lethal, rag tag alliance of local mobsters and a hired assassin with a shady past.

    Ted says: "HAUNTING: A Mystical Bayou Cop Story..."
    "lazy writing, bad editing, sloppy plot"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Apparently JL Burke never met a simile he could refuse - I've never seen such an overuse of similes, and to me it's a sign of lazy and heavy-handed writing.; It's a lot more difficult to write a description without a simile than with it, and it's more didactic and heavy handed to write a simile that leaves nothing for the imagination to create or enjoy. While some might say that it results in wonderful description, I say it results in a paint-by-numbers picture rather than a work of art.

    And the sloppy plotting......oh, where to begin? Did everyone forget that Sonny has a look alike cousin? Why did the professional assassin make such an amateurish job of trying to kill Dave? What did anyone's recollections of their military past add to the various story lines? And why were there so many subplots?

    As for the editing of the audiobook, there were extremely extended pauses - some of 6-7 seconds that made me wonder if the app had stopped working. And at one point, I heard a muted "what's wrong" at the end of the chapter, as if either the mike was still active or the editor had not trimmed out that piece of audio.

    I like Mark Hammer's lazy and slow reading pace - it seems very appropriate for a deep south storyline. But he still has problems differentiating voices, and it got confusing sometimes - a really good narrator should allow you to recognize the character without hearing the name spoken.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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