Many consider the Moonstone to be the first detective novel ever written. And it's, in my opinion, one of the best. The plot is riveting, the story full of surprises. Even when Collins seems to be losing his way in a subplot, he always manage to enrich the main mystery: what happened to the Moonstone, a huge diamond discovered in India and sent to a young woman from her uncle. Almost as soon as she comes into possession of this magnificient jewel, it mysteriously disappears. What happened to the Moonstone, who took it, why and how? The how is especially puzzling. One thing is for sure, you will be entertained all the way to the final solution to this puzzle. It's a must read for true mystery fans.
The narration done by Peter Jeffrey is first class. I could listen to him telling stories all day long. Enjoy!
This story is simply delightful and fun. You can't help but be entertained by the path and career choices of the main character Frank. Pleasantly amoral, he gets into one scrape after another and always land of his feet but never for long. This is Wilkie Collins at his comical best! Like is very good friend Charles Dickens, Collins would write any genre brilliantly. Just sit back and enjoy the ride!
I just finished listened to this wonderful book and I just couldn't wait to write a review. The plot of this book is so ingenious, well written and fast paced that it's literally unputdownable (sic!). I listened to it in one go — it's that good. The anti heroine is so devilious clever and relentless in her plotting and always thinks several moves ahead. She doesn't only have a plan B, she also have a plan C, D and E to fall back down if something goes wrong. And she does all that looking amazingly beautiful and acting so sweet all the while planning murders and deceptions. The book is very well written and the dialogues — especially between Jean Briggerland (the aforementioned anti heroine) and Jack Glover, the lawyer trying to stop her — are clever and delicious to hear. I don't really want to say more because it's such a pleasure to discover this brilliant book without knowing too much in advance.
One important thing to mention. The fact that everybody (except Jack Glover) is convinced that Jean Briggerland can only have an angel's nature because she has an angelic face can seem somewhat unrealistic to modern readers. But the book was written in 1922. At the time, it was a very popular misconception that one's exterior appearance reflected one's character and moral disposition. Simply put if you looked like a criminal people assumed that you were one and vice versa. For example, in Agatha Christie "The Man in the Brown Suit" (1924), Sir Eustace Peddler is constantly amused that his secretary Guy Pagett has the face of a 14th century Italian assassin while he knows that he has the soul of an extremely moral man. And it's that face that will lead several characters in the book to suspect poor Mr. Pagett of the worst crimes.
The narration by Bev J. Stevens is also excellent and she does a great job of making these different characters come to life. At first, I thought that her rythm was a little too slow but it quickly became appearant that it was perfect for the pace of the book. Her calm and poised narration offers in fact a great contrast to the quick successions of actions and plot changes.
I strongly recommend to any amateur of classic detective stories and anyone who enjoys a simply great book.
Piper Kerman writes an honest, realistic and brilliant book about her experience behind bars. Years after having transported a suitcase full of cash for her drug trafficking girlfriend, Piper Kerman's past has caught up wth her and she is sentenced to 15 months in a federal minimal security women's prison. Her journey into the almost outlandish world of incarceration is one of unexpected frienships and unconditional support, both from people on the inside and the outside. As soon as she starts her life as an inmate, she is taken in charge by other inmates who help her naviguate and learn all the rules, regulations, rituals, expectations and limitations of her nwe life. She is also offered psychological support. The everyday life of these women is described with a richness of details that helps the reader relate and empathize. The courage and solidarity of these women is truly awe inspiring. The aspect that strucked me the most is how these non-violent offenders are mostly treated by the personnel they interact with. It is shocking, if not really surprising, to read how many treat them like they don't deserve the least modicum of respect, decency or compassion. The book really raises several questions about how the system and society in general treats inmates and ex-convicts, how little time and energy is spent on rehabilitation and reinsertion. Kerman depiction of the classes she must attend in order to prepare her and her fellow soon-to-be released inmates to reintegrate society would be pure comedy gold if it were not for the fact that these classes are a joke, a very bad joke.
Kerman doesn't offer false excuses for what happened to her. She made a mistake, a stupid and selfish mistake that ended up hurting so much more people than she ever expected. She doesn't wallow in self-pity, but on the contrary, accept her situation and her responsability with grace and courage.
The narration by Cassandra Campbell is solid through the whole book. I only would wish for it to be more lively and animated in certain passages. But overall, it's an enjoyable performance.
If you are looking for racy scenes and violence filled tension, stick with the Netflix series. The book is less sensationlist than this.
This novel is quite a surprise. It's stars with the trial and conviction of a sea captain. But the novel is not about that sea captain at all. His fate is quickly dealt with and the novel deals with his daughter, Sydney Westerfield and how her life is affected by what happens in the aftermath of her father's conviction, death in prison, her mother's remarriage and how she abandons her own daughter when she decides to start a new life in America. So contrarily to what I was expecting from Wilkie Collins, this novel is neither a crime story nor a thriller. It's in fact a victorian melodrama about marriage, temptation, infidelity and divorce. But I was not disappointed as to the quality of the writing and the flow of the story. The characters are well drawn and are truly 3 dimensional. What makes them so real is the fact that they all are simply human, no one being truly evil or entirely good. The best chararcter is the mother-in-law, Mrs Prestly, with her acid tongue and her feeling of always knowing better. The author depicts a difficult situation: Herbert Linley .mainly for compassionate reasons, brings home a young and beautiful governess (Sydney Westerfield) for his young daughter Kitty. As soon as this new arrival joins the Linley household, emotions run high. Sydney feels incredibly grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Linley for the opportunity they haven given her and she quickly develops a strong bond of affection with Kitty. The mother-in-law thinks that her daughter is taking a foolish risk by letting a young and beautiful woman live in her house and that she represents a threat to the Linley marriage. Mrs Linley is torn between the confidence she has in her husband and the frienship she feels for Sydney and the constant forebodings of her mother. I'll let you discover the rest. Wilkie Collins has a surprisingly modern view of the situation and looks at each character with compassion and without passing harsh judgments on their actions. The evil genius of the title is about discovering who is the person who truly contributes to destroy the Linley family. All in all, this story is a great treat.
But the narration is sadly lacking. The novel deserves so much better. i agree with other reviewers that the narrator has an incongruous American accent for most of the book. His interpretation of a Scottish accent is so outlandish, it's almost comical at times. And the womens' voices are quite atrocious - too high pitched and in a annoying falsetto. But in spite of the bad narration, I still enjoyed the book and would recommend it. Read it or wait for a better audio version. Simon Vance and Juliet Stevenson, just to name two examples, would do such a fantastic job at making this novel shine
I was greatly entertained by this novel. It seems to me that the more I read the earlier in the book I can see in advance what is going to happen. Not so with this novel. Nothing is what it seems. Every time you think you understand exactly what is going on, the rug is pulled from under you and you realized that the truth is so much more complicated than you imagined. I don't want to say too much about the plot itself. The summary provided above by the editors should suffice to whet your appetite. You had much better discover the rest on your own than to have your fun spoiled by a review that tells too much.
The story will take from the underworld of 19th century London pickpockets, petty thiefs and burglars to the quiet life of gentry living in the countryside. But don't think that people will be more respectable or honorable in the seemingly better world. They are just better at keeping up appearances. The novel shows how women of all classes in that century were completely dependent on men and how they had to struggle to find freedom and happiness.
Juanita McMahon does a stellar job narrating this book. She makes every character come alive and each one has a distinctive voice. I certainly enjoyed how she adjusted her pace, tone and accent to make the parts of the book narrated by Susan and Maud quite different.
This was the first novel of Sarah Waters I read. It certainly won't be the last.
I'm usually not very fond of mysteries that are set around a holiday because too often things seem to be forced made to fit into that particular setting. Rhys Bowen has convinced me that it can be done and well done. The story flows and the holiday setting just make details and descriptions of Georgie's surrounding more interesting and genuine. We are treated to a traditional English Christmas with the carroling, the Yule log and the plum pudding. You'll want to change the menu for next year's celebration.
The characters continue to be explored and they grow. Georgie is not the same shy and awkward girl we met in Her Royal Spyness. She's less clumsy and isn't afraid anymore to speak her mind and get her point across. Darcy, Georgie's mother and grandfather are along for the ride and we are treated to just enough of the detestable Fig's antics and criticisms. The mystery is well done and quite complex. It will keep you guessing and has plenty of red herrings to make you think you are getting ahead of what the characters have managed to understand.
As always, Katherine Kellgren narration is flawless. All her characters are distinct and have appropriate accents without ever being made into caricatures. I could listen to her for hours and hours.
My only criticism is that Belinda, Georgie's best friend, was sorely missed. Hopefully, she'll be back next time.
I won't really comment on the story and the writing. The story is too well known and Charles Dickens as a marvelous author needs no presentation.
Let's talk about the narration. What a great idea, pairing Tim Curry's talent with this classic Christmas tale! His voice is rich and his voicing of the characters superb. It's a real treat. Candy for the ears and a story that never gets old.
I don't want to say too much about the plot, it was such a thrill reading this book in the first place many years ago and I don't want to spoil it for anyone. For me, this book is without a doubt one of the top 5 best Christie books. It's set in Ancient Egypt and at first, it's a bit unsettling. But soon you realize that, in spite of the exotic setting and the unfamiliar first names, it's a classic Christie intimate family murder mystery. And Christie proves that she doesn't need Poirot or Miss marple to make a complex and fascinating story. The characters and the situations still resonated with today's realities: petty jealousy, selfishness, greed - all part of human nature and too often found in so-called loving families. You will soon forget that it's Ancient Egypt although Christie added plenty of historical tidbits and facts about the people of that time period and particular place that never feel patronizing. Christie knows how to inform and respects her readers intelligence. Christie, whose second husband was famous archeologist Max Mallowan, clearly loves archeology and communicates that love to her readers never better than in this book. (Also in Murder in Mesopotamia, a close second to Death Comes At the End).
The plot starts rather slowly as Christie takes her time leading her readers in that setting and developing her characters and exposing their complex relationships, their quarrels, their jealousies, their greed and hidden agenda. As a mystery, it's every bit as good and even better than what her readers come to expect of Agatha Christie.
Emilia Fox does an excellent job narrating this story and giving life and individuality to each character. In my opinion, apart from David Suchet, in a category all by himself, she's the best Christie narrator and I had the pleasure of listening in Destination Unknown, The Man in the Brown Suit, They Came to Baghdad and The Seven Dial Mystery. All of which I strongly recommend.
Miss Pettigrew lives for a day is a jewel of a novel. You follow the adventures of Miss Pettigrew, middle-aged spinster and unemployed children governess, as she is swept up into the world of Delicia LaFosse for a day. Because of mix up at the employment agency, Miss Pettigrew is sent by mistake to the appartment of Miss Delicia LaFosse a young singer and aspiring actress who is in fact in need of a maid. From the first moment these two women, who cannot be more different from each other, meet, we are taking for a delightful ride as Miss Lafosse juggles her 3 lovers and Miss Pettigrew sheds years of inhibitions and strict religious upbringing to help her young new friend prevent those men from learning about each others. Along the way, Miss Pettigrew will discover within herself qualities and ressources within herself so far unknown and untapped. She will also meet a whole cast of characters that both shock her and ultimately delight her and allow Delicia to understand her own heart. Along the way, Miss Pettigrew will meet a cast of colorful characters that will shock and ultimately delight her. The events will forever change her way to see life and her perception of herself. All this in a single day. The book was both written and set in the late 1930s and captured admiredly the zeitgeist. This charming comedy cannot fail to enchant, entertain and delight!
Frances McDormand (who happens to play the title character in the 2008 movie) does a wonderful job of bringing to life these two incredible women and the people surrounding them. Her narration is lively and colorful, never a dull moment or a dull sentence. Her words flow and enliven this beautiful story. I cannot imagine a more perfect choice for the narration of this book. I certainly hope to listen to her voice again and again, telling this story and many others.
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