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Ellen S. Wilds


Silver Spring, MD USA | Member Since 2011

  • 3 reviews
  • 3 ratings
  • 175 titles in library
  • 2 purchased in 2015

  • Jack the Ripper: The 21st-Century Investigation

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Trevor Marriott
    • Narrated By Norman Gilligan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    There have been countless attempts to solve the brutal murders committed by Jack the Ripper more than 100 years ago. It seems that almost everyone has their own theory and their own suspect, ranging from the reasonably likely to the entirely preposterous. What this most famous of British criminal cases has always required is a professional eye to analyse it with all the benefits of modern investigate techniques. Now that has been provided in the shape of the man most qualified to solve the case: former British murder-squad detective Trevor Marriott.

    Galadriel says: "A must for the Ripper-obsessed"
    "A New Take On An Old Mystery"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Jack the Ripper: The 21st-Century Investigation to be better than the print version?

    I would not know since I have not read the print version.

    What was one of the most memorable moments of Jack the Ripper: The 21st-Century Investigation?

    I am not certain how this question applies to what is essentially a "documentary" account. What I found compelling about this book is that the author has uncovered new information ad perspectives on one of the greatest unsolved cases from the 19th century. Just when I thought there was nothing more to say about the Ripper murders, Trevor Marriott uncovers clues and leads left uncovered for over a century, leading him to an entirely different conclusion than other authors on the topic.

    Such leads include a conclusion that Jack the Ripper need not have had any supposed surgical skill at all. He further disputes the list of canonical victims. Rather than the usual five (Nichols, Stride, Eddows, Chapman and Kelly) he includes victims before Polly Ann Nichols and victims after Mary Jane Kelly, as well as victims in foreign countries. By expanding his view of victims he also expands the list of suspects.

    While the Ripper Killings will never be definitively solved due to the long passage of time and the loss of physical evidence, Marriott has presented a compelling circumstantial case for his chosen suspect.

    Which scene was your favorite?

    This book is not an actual mystery, but instead is a book about a mystery. I suppose if I had to name a favourite part it would be the description of the author came to discount the theory that Jack the Ripper possessed advanced surgical skill.

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

    I am not allowed the luxury of listening to books in a single sitting, and I deem this a silly question.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Haunted Ground

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs)
    • By Erin Hart
    • Narrated By Jennifer McMahon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    When farmers cutting turf in an Irish peat bog make a grisly discovery, the perfectly intact body of a young woman with long red hair, archaeologist Cormac O'Callaghan and pathologist Nora Gavin are thrown together by their shared scientific interest in human remains. Because of the preservative effect of the bog, it is difficult to tell whether the body has lain there for two decades, two centuries, or two millennia.

    Sara says: "Archeology, Folklore and Mystery in Ireland"
    "Best Book I Have Read All Year"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Haunted Ground to be better than the print version?

    While I have not read the print version, I feel certain that the audio presentation must be far better because the narrator moves seamlessly between Irish, English and American accents. Since in some ways Ireland itself is a character, hearing the native speech is crucial for the reader to feel the atmosphere of the country.

    What did you like best about this story?

    Erin Hart has wonderfully woven archeology and modern forensics to solve not one, but two mysteries, one centuries old and the other a recent cold case. As an historian with an interest in archeology, I have always found the "bog bodies" of Europe to be fascinating if unintentional time capsules. This novel clearly presents the character of Irish society from the 17th century to the present, all in the guise of a modern murder mystery.

    What about Jennifer McMahon’s performance did you like?

    Ms. McMahon's reading is beautiful, her accents for the various characters clear and compelling. She gracefully shifts from Irish to English to the US, from male to female, from young to old

    Who was the most memorable character of Haunted Ground and why?

    For me, the most memorable character is the murdered woman whose head is found in a peat bog at the opening of the book, a beautiful girl with masses of red hair. The investigation into her brutal death in the 17th century leads the local Gardai (Gaelic for "police") to reopen a more recent cold case. While this latter case forms the major plot of the novel, the story always returns to the Cailin Rua (Gaelic for "red haired girl") and does not leave the reader wanting for answers.

    Any additional comments?

    My only criticism of the format is the confusing lineup of books and chapters; these "books" each having 10-12 chapters in's production. While I understand and accept the needs of audio production, it would have been better to inform the reader the exact location within the book (or books as the case might be) for the chapter list. I suggest readers use the installed bookmark system rather than rely solely on the cutoff place. This book is far too brilliant to leave complicated by audio formatting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Susan Wise Bauer
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    This is the first volume in a bold new series that tells the stories of all peoples, connecting historical events from Europe to the Middle East to the far coast of China, while still giving weight to the characteristics of each country. Susan Wise Bauer provides both sweeping scope and vivid attention to the individual lives that give flesh to abstract assertions about human history. This narrative history employs the methods of "history from beneath" - literature, epic traditions, private letters, and accounts - to connect kings and leaders with the lives of those they ruled.

    Amazon Customer says: "A Fantastic Overview!"
    "An Historic Achievement"
    If you could sum up The History of the Ancient World in three words, what would they be?

    Colourful, In-Depth, Informative

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Considering this book covers a vast portion of early human history it is impossible to assign particular value to a single character.

    Which scene was your favorite?

    Picking just one episode is difficult, but the most memorable to me was the exchange between King Croesus of Lydia and King Cyrus of Persia on the night the Persians looted the fabled wealth of the Lydians. Noting that the defeated monarch was quiet as his city burned, Cyrus asked how he felt about losing his wealth in this manner. "It is not my wealth they are stealing," Croesus replied. "It is yours." Valuable insight into the nature of conquest even today.

    Any additional comments?

    Although my field is 19th century Victoriana, I have an interest in many periods of history, in particular the Aegean Bronze Age and the early Celts in Europe. This book blends ancient historical accounts, myths, legends, religious texts to weave a tapestry of early human history, including civilizations as diverse as Mesopotamia, India, China and Europe. It is a massive undertaking.

    I accept that accuracy is not always possible when the only texts available are those that have been translated, interpreted, and even deified. While experts may disagree on the finer points, the overall effort is worthy of credit. To keep all these many threads separate and clear is a mighty undertaking and I applaud the author for the attempt.

    No historical account can be perfect as new discoveries come to light all the time, from archeological digs and manuscript finds to revisions of classic literature. If we waited for historians to agree on the details, no history would ever be written. And that would be a great loss. This is a fine historical overview and what it lacks in depth is more than made up for in breadth.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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