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Kathi

Love fiction--classic to light, serious to comedic. Selective non-fiction. These days lots of mysteries (not too violent, please :-)

Member Since 2010

ratings
436
REVIEWS
234
FOLLOWING
6
FOLLOWERS
210
HELPFUL VOTES
1018

  • Watchers of Time

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Charles Todd
    • Narrated By Samuel Gillies
    Overall
    (69)
    Performance
    (61)
    Story
    (62)

    Charles Todd brings his classic mystery series to a new level of intensity and intrigue. The year is 1919, and Ian Rutledge is a fragile yet courageous former soldier searching for his place in a post-war world. Now a Scotland Yard detective, Rutledge is called upon to probe a murder in the small Norfolk town of Osterley - but he soon discovers that the crime may be connected to one of the greatest disasters of all time…

    Linda Lou says: "#5 RECENTLY RELEASED..HANG IN & GROW WITH RUTLEDGE"
    "One of my favorite series!"
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    Charles Todd is the pen name of a mother & son writing duo who somehow create fabulous books together (they also write the Bess Crawford series)--and the two are perfect complements for each other.

    Ian Rutledge is a man deeply wounded in body, mind & soul by the Great War, and he is now reclaiming his life as an inspector for Scotland Yard. He has to do his job while trying to recover from shell shock, which in his case, manifests frequently as an internal personification, or voice, or a dead comrade from the war, who makes his views known much of the time. He functions somewhat like Rutledge's alter ego--in that he often points out nuances and dangers that Rutledge doesn't consider.

    It is hard to describe this part of the books. I think if I had just read about this on the back of a book jacket, I might never have bought the books in the first place (years back). However, I just began reading and discovered that Charles Todd (mother & son) have found very sensitive ways to handle what is a devastating psychological condition in a highly creative manner, without forcing the reader to suspend belief. Their ability to weave story, plot, history, psychology & feeling into their books is exceptional.

    In this book, he is called to a town where a priest has been murdered, and he has to tread carefully because the local police are not totally viewing his presence happily. However, they do work together, and as is always the case in this series, the plot becomes complex, full of interesting people who could all have motives for the murder--and Rutledge has to fight against the local hopes for the villain to have been an outsider, by carefully negotiating his way with careful questioning and interviews.

    This is a really good book--I read it some years ago, and now was happy to listen to it--I enjoyed it quite as much as reading, perhaps even more. Narrator is very good--read at a good pace, and with good inflection. A tiny bit challenging to tell people apart by their voices--but does not detract from the whole thing.

    I highly recommend this book (and every other one in the series!)

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Gideon's Day: Gideon of Scotland Yard

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By John Creasey (JJ Marric)
    • Narrated By Tim Bentinck
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (27)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (15)

    Available to download for the first time, The Gideon of Scotland Yard Series by 'JJ Marric' (pseudonym of Grand Master John Creasey). Gideon's day is a busy one. London is faced with the murder of a little girl and a policeman's murder. While trying to bring these killers to justice, Gideon has to deal with a criminal gang that is after one of it's own.

    Kathi says: "View of a day for Scotland Yard Supt Gideon--1955"
    "View of a day for Scotland Yard Supt Gideon--1955"
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    George Gideon is a superintendent in Scotland Yard, written (I believe) in 1955. Unlike most books that are contemporary, where the heroes seem often to be on the outs with their peers in some fashion, this book (much like the Ellery Queen mysteries) still depicts the police as admirable heroes, and the criminals as somewhat stereotyped "baddies."

    This book is a bit interesting, because the author has taken a slice out of Gideon's life by making this all be about what a typical day is like for him. There are a couple of threads that go through the entire book--cases that are dangerous, important, must be given full attention with use of his forces and wits that provide the ongoing interest for the reader. But this book also humanizes him, as well as providing some back story, by having insight into his personal life which has a bitter-sweet quality to it. Gideon is portrayed as a tall, large man with good powers of observations and memory for details. He works at the Yard, and often delegates, but also feels the necessity of being on the spot with what is happening himself. He seems well-liked and respected by the other police, and appears to have earned his place with sharp, honest work.

    What is different about this book, is that it is not one case that keeps the whole force tied up for weeks or months (though they are tackling cases that have that sort of history behind them). This is all portraying things that take place in a 24 hour period of time. I think it is the introduction to a series that will most likely be told in more the conventional way. Here, serious cases get taken on/solved, though the stereotyping is what one might expect for the time. It is quite interesting, actually. At first I had thought it might not be, but as I got into it, I found it was a good window into the mindset of the times, as well as having one or two threads running through the whole book, which hold it together. I would not exactly call this a mystery, it is more a police procedural story. In the end I enjoyed it, and now plan to find more. Recommend.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Good Indian Wife: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Anne Cherian
    • Narrated By Dylan Lynch
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    Handsome anesthesiologist Neel is sure he can resist his family’s pleas that he marry a "good" Indian girl. With a girlfriend and a career back in San Francisco, the last thing Neel needs is an arranged marriage. But that’s precisely what he gets. His bride, Leila, a 30-year-old teacher, comes with her own complications. They struggle to reconcile their own desires with others’ expectations in this story of two people, two countries, and two ways of life that may be more compatible than they seem.

    Kathi says: "Pretty good, light reading"
    "Pretty good, light reading"
    Overall
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    Although this book was filled with lots of details that gave a very thought-provoking window into the Indian culture, and I think most people would find that interesting, this still seemed like a "Chick Lit" kind of book to me. Or perhaps a story we'd see on the Hallmark Channel.

    Suneel Sarath (known as Neel) is a doctor, educated in America, living and working in California, dating an American woman. However, his family really want him to marry a "good Indian girl," and so, when the chance arises to call him home to India (his grandfather is very ill) his mother and aunt seize the opportunity to connect him with Leila, a lovely young woman who, for various reasons, has been turned down by past potential Indian grooms, and who feels she will never be a bride. They do marry, but when they return to California, he has to decide what to do about his long-time girl friend Caroline (pronounced, she insists, "the French way"). This leads to his having something of a double life for a while, till things force the situation as the book moves toward it's end.

    The good parts of this book are, that I enjoyed hearing about the Indian culture, the characters were interesting, and the story did move along. However, I felt that it was kind of predictable, the narration was a bit bland, and in the end, there was little about it that I'd call memorable (for myself, at least). It was a good listen--and worth the time, but not as deep or exciting as I had hoped when I purchased it. I think I was expecting something different. But if you are seeking a light summer read--this is well worth the credit.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Still Life with Murder: Nell Sweeney Mystery, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By P.B. Ryan
    • Narrated By Leigh Ryan
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (11)

    Boston, 1868: The dawn of the Gilded Age, an era of burgeoning commerce and invention, of unimaginable new fortunes and lavish excess—for some. Born into dismal poverty, young Nell Sweeney scratches by on her wits and little else until fortune blesses her with a position as nursery governess to the fabulously wealthy Hewitts. But she soon learns that ugly secrets lurk beneath the surface of their gold-plated world.

    Kathi says: "Gilded Age in Boston--excellent mystery!"
    "Gilded Age in Boston--excellent mystery!"
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    P B Ryan has written this mystery series set in the 1860's wealthy area of Boston. Ryan parallels Nell's own entrance into the book with her assistance to Dr. Greaves who is managing a particularly difficult delivery. Afterwards, it turns out that the maid who gave birth doesn't want to keep the baby, so it is wealthy Viola Hewitt, wheelchair-bound, grieving the loss of two sons in the Civil War, who decides to adopt the infant. She hires Nell to be governess, and so the connections between Nell Sweeney and the Boston Brahmin Hewitts begin.

    Very quickly into the story, there is a murder, and reason to think that William Hewitt, one of the sons long thought dead, is the killer. Viola is desperate to find out if it is her lost son, so secretly sends Nell to the jail to find out. This will eventually lead the curious Irish immigrant girl back into places she thinks she has gotten away from, as she cannot resist investigating the murder on her own.

    This is a book I read previously, and enjoyed comparing the written version with the narrated one. In the beginning, I was not too fond of Leigh Ryan's reading of some of it. But as the book moves along, I think her narration gets much better. I find her voice a bit soft and gentle for parts of it, but she did very well with the Irish accents, and Nell herself. This is an interesting book, which is why I wanted to re-read (hear) it. I like the author's skill with dialogue, with creating good characters, maintaining a good flow and fascinating details, and just the right amount of tension. I think this is an excellent beginning to the series. Recommend!

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Book Stops Here: A Bibliophile Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Kate Carlisle
    • Narrated By Susie Berneis
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (10)

    Brooklyn Wainwright is thrilled to be appearing on the hit TV show, This Old Attic as a rare-book expert. Her first subject is a very valuable first-edition copy The Secret Garden. Its owner, Vera, is eager to have Brooklyn recondition it for resale. But a furious man viciously accosts Brooklyn, claiming that Vera found the first edition at his garage sale, and he wants it back - or else. In the days that follow, Brooklyn visits Vera's flower shop…and discovers her dead.

    Kathi says: "It's okay...."
    "It's okay...."
    Overall
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    The story itself was good enough and held my interest. A professional book binder goes on a tv antiques appraisal show in her capacity as specialist in valuing books. A woman brings in an old copy of "The Secret Garden," which Brooklyn Wainwright identifies as quite valuable, and Vera--it's happy owner-- confesses she purchased it recently at a garage sale and expresses interest in Brooklyn restoring it for her so she can sell it. Then things get dicey, because a violent man who says he had owned the book tries to frighten Brooklyn into giving it back to him, things are kind of tense in the studios where Randolph--who is in charge there--believes someone is trying to kill him. A murder does occur, and Brooklyn is drawn into helping to solve it.

    I recognize that I read this book out of order in a series, so I'm just not going to comment much about the characters (though they seemed interesting and appear to be well-developed). What might keep me from going back and reading earlier ones, though, was the narrator. In most respects she was adequate--but she really did have a terrible time trying to do men's voices. I cringed at her reading of Derek (Brooklyn's significant other), because he was British, and she just could not capably capture either a man's voice or a British accent. If I do read another, it will be because I want to follow up on the story line--not due to the narrator.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Wednesday the Rabbi Got Wet: A Rabbi Small Mystery, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Harry Kemelman
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    One of the world’s most unusual sleuths, Rabbi David Small captivates mystery fans with his chutzpah and unparalleled logic. When he investigates some non-kosher behavior by his congregation, he finds himself in water way over his head. While a destructive hurricane pummels Barnard’s Crossing, an elderly temple member dies suddenly after taking his newly-prescribed antibiotic. Soon one member of the Jewish community after another falls under suspicion for drug tampering.

    Kathi says: "Kemelman's wonderful series--brilliantly narrated!"
    "Kemelman's wonderful series--brilliantly narrated!"
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    This is one of the delightful series written in the '70's by Harry Kemelman that focuses on David Small, the rabbi of a conservative congregation in Barnard's Crossing, Massachusetts. Sometimes I hesitate before getting old books--but because I read all these in paper form "back in the day," I could recall how interesting they were.

    In this book, Hurricane Betsy is in the background while one of the temple congregants is very ill, a pharmacist and his son have previously had a bitter dispute--leading to the son leaving home, and there are people who want to do some interesting real estate deals. All of these components are parts of the intrigue that arises out of what appears at first to be a patient taking medications for a treatable infection--and leads to murder. Several people are suspect, one in particular that Rabbi Small wants to help (as only he can do, using his particular knowledge of Talmudic law).

    This series has a very good mix of personal and logical--with development of characters like Rabbi Small and his wife and son and the local chief of police as on-going characters. There tend to be different townspeople and temple congregants and boards of directors featured. But one thing that never changes is that the books are a wonderful combination of good story, intriguing mysteries, and fascinating look into the Jewish culture. I have always loved them--but finding that the incomparable George Guidall is narrating them brings them fresh life. Highly recommend!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Death of a Policeman

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By M. C. Beaton
    • Narrated By Graeme Malcolm
    Overall
    (65)
    Performance
    (59)
    Story
    (54)

    Local police stations all over the Scottish Highlands are being threatened with closure. This presents the perfect opportunity for Detective Chief Inspector Blair, who would love nothing more than to get rid of Sergeant Hamish Macbeth. Blair suggests that Cyril Sessions, a keen young police officer, visit the town of Lochdubh to monitor exactly what Macbeth does every day. Macbeth hears about Blair's plan and is prepared to insure that Cyril returns back to headquarters with a full report. But Cyril is soon found dead and Hamish quickly becomes the prime suspect in his murder.

    Kathi says: "The narrator brings this book to life!"
    "The narrator brings this book to life!"
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    Graeme Malcolm's narration carries the story in this episode of the Highland policeman who wants nothing more than to be left on his own turf, to take care of matters as only he can do best. However CI Blair has always been jealous of Hamish, and thinks up a plot he hopes will get rid of him at last. Since there is a movement to down-size the police force, Blair gets Cyril Sessions, a young policeman, to secretly follow Hamish, take pictures and document that he and his partner really do not do any work, in the hope that this evidence will get MacBeth removed from the force. Unfortunately, this will lead to a murder instead.

    The fun of Hamish Macbeth books is always the characters more than the mystery (although that part is good, too). Hamish is a life-loving man, who doesn't take himself too seriously, does his job quite well in fact, but has little interest in doing anything that would take him up the ladder of promotions, because that might mean leaving his beloved town of Lochdubh. He loves the Highlands, the townspeople, his cat and dog, and wants nothing more than to do what he does best, where he is. That lack of ambition puzzles some and infuriates others, which is where much of the tension in the stories comes in.

    This book is typical of most in the series, but it lacked a bit of the usual pizzazz, and I don't really know why. I love the narration of Graeme Malcolm, and that compensated for what I think is one of the weaker stories in the series. It is still good--I haven't read a bad Hamish MacBeth book ever. But would not call this Beaton's best. I would still recommend it to any faithful Hamish fan!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Cards on the Table: A Hercule Poirot Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs)
    • By Agatha Christie
    • Narrated By Hugh Fraser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (62)
    Performance
    (56)
    Story
    (57)

    Mr. Shaitana is famous as a flamboyant party host. Nevertheless, he is a man of whom everybody is a little afraid. So when he boasts to Hercule Poirot that he considers murder an art form, the detective has some reservations about accepting a party invitation to view Shaitana's "private collection". Indeed, what begins as an absorbing evening of bridge is to turn into a more dangerous game altogether.

    Calliope says: "this is a great Christie mystery"
    "Poirot according to Hoyle"
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    In my own mind, I kind of think of Agatha Christie mysteries as being sort of "A list" and "B list." To me, this book is on the "B list," but not because it is bad; only because it is not quite as wonderful as some others (I don't personally think there are any bad AC novels).

    In this one, Poirot (along with Supt Battle, Col. Race and Ariadne Oliver--a mystery writer who one senses is created by Agatha in her own image) must solve an odd murder. Mr. Shaitana, a man who has boasted he can pick up on clues to people who have committed murder, invites the four sleuths, along with four other people, to play two tables of Bridge. Alas, the man who believed he could figure out who was a murderer quickly becomes the murder victim. And the hunt begins. Poirot cleverly uses the score sheets from the bridge game to ascertain who was playing the game at various times. But there are many more twists and turns till the murderer is revealed in the end.

    I think High Fraser does a good job with the narration, and it is all the more fun since he played Captain Hastings in the Poirot TV series. This is a fun read. Agatha Christie is always a winner, and even though I read them all many years ago, I'm having a lot of fun listening to them again. Recommend!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Henry Huggins

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Beverly Cleary
    • Narrated By Neil Patrick Harris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (101)
    Performance
    (39)
    Story
    (38)

    Genuinely funny books for children are few and far between. So, when a story like Henry Huggins comes along, it comes to stay. Children everywhere see themselves in this irresistible boy's adventures.

    J. Walker says: "Wonderful!"
    "Excellent--just excellent!"
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    I don't typically review kids' books. But we are just back from a vacation with our 5 & 7 year old grandkids--and we listened to this book, as well as "Henry & Beezus" and "Henry & the Clubhouse". They were all wonderful!

    I'm so used to serious lit and adult mysteries, that it was a pleasant surprise and change of pace to listen to these. My husband and I found them as charming as our grandsons did. The kids never uttered a whimper of protest or "when are we going to get there?" during a fairly long car trip because they were just fascinated by the various adventures of Henry Huggins and his dog Ribsy. There is also a lot of interaction with Beezus and Ramona Quinby (from the "Ramona the Pest" series).

    These were originally published in the 1950's I think--and believe me when I say--they have lost none of their charm since then. Our kids read them a generation ago, and now our grandchildren are listening to them. There is something totally timeless about the way Beverly Cleary touches so perfectly on the behaviors and feelings and behavioral strategies of elementary school-aged kids.

    Charming. Delightful. Amusing. Perceptive. Clever. Fun. Captivating stories. And here is a shout out to Neil Patrick Harris who narrated them all. If you want something for kids of this age range, you can't go wrong with the Beverly Cleary series. And this narration is simply wonderful! Though I don't read or listen to too many kids' stories these days--I highly recommend this series! Kids can totally relate to the situations that are described, despite the span of years since originally published.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Unsolicited: A Booklover's Mystery, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Julie Kaewert
    • Narrated By William Neenan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (16)

    From best seller to death-dealer, London's Plumtree Press has a world-class best seller of a novel. And the sequel is earmarked to get this old family firm out of the red. But its anonymous author, known to Plumtree only as "Arthur", has apparently vanished, leaving the crucial last five chapters undelivered. Alex already knows they reveal the identity of the characters who smuggled British children to America during World War II. But, of course, this is fiction. So when a lead critic previews the book as a nonfiction exposé, Alex is shocked.

    Kathi says: "Pretty good, but gets tedious in places"
    "Pretty good, but gets tedious in places"
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    I took a chance on getting this (first book) in a series, after having previously read a later one out of order, and thinking maybe I found it kind of lackluster was because I didn't have the background the first books would have provided. So it turns out that that was sort of correct--I liked this one considerably better than the other one, but it still had a quality of seeming like an over-long listen.

    Alex Plumtree is desperate to keep his publishing house going, and is depending upon a mystery writer whom he knows as "Arthur" to provide him with the remainder of a best selling novel about kidnapped children. Except there is beginning to be suspicion that this might not be fictional, but true. Furthermore, where is Arthur? He, and the missing end of the manuscript have disappeared. So it is a really good setup for a book. Dangerous things begin to occur and Alex is beginning to wonder who is trustworthy?

    I think two things kept this book from being more interesting (to me). For one thing, it seemed longer than necessary, but more importantly, I didn't feel as if the characters (however well drawn they were) were that interesting (some more than others). The other concern was that Alex is portrayed as a rather young man, someone who is physically fit and has love interest, but my ears heard the narration making him sound more like an older man in the part, which left a disconnect in my listening experience somehow. But that is only my own opinion, others may not hear it that way. The premise of the book is interesting, and it has lots of places that are interesting, but it just seemed to be a little too stretched out somehow. Could have used a bit more editing. Better than I had expected, less engaging than I had hoped for. And I did like it better than the other one in the series I read previously.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Presumed Innocent

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Scott Turow
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1135)
    Performance
    (582)
    Story
    (589)

    Presumed Innocent brings to life our worst nightmare: that of an ordinary citizen facing conviction for the most terrible of crimes. Prosecutor Rusty Sabich is transformed from accuser to accused when he is handed an explosive case - that of the brutal murder of a woman who happens to be his former lover.

    Glen says: "Excellent Book, Gripping Entertainment!"
    "Great courtroom thriller; really great narration!"
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    This is Scott Turow's first book in what I understand will become a long line of good legal mysteries. Can't think what to say about this book that hasn't already been said by everyone else. It's old now (written in 1987) but I am just getting started on his books, which I had always heard were wonderful thrillers but somehow missed reading or seeing the films. This did not disappoint in any way, and didn't lack anything for being slightly ahead of cell phones and electronics, which have revolutionized mystery books forever. In fact, I rather prefer the books that are still pre-computerized and rely on old fashioned ingenuity.

    Rusty Sabich is a prosecutor in a mid-west state who is also working to try to get his boss re-elected. When that doesn't happen, and Nico Della Guardia wins the election, he realizes that things will change. But he had not banked on a colleague getting murdered, and himself getting charged with it. A great deal of the book takes place during the trial, and is quite interesting with lots of twists, turns and surprises. The story moves well, and even though I had assumed some things about the ending, I actually had not figured it out.

    This book has similarities to the exciting page-turner John Grishom style of writing, but I believe it preceded those, so this may be the trend-setter here for a lot more subsequently done in similar style. I must say a little about the narrator. I found his ability to do voices to be superb! He shifted back and forth between a lot of different people and it was always clear who was speaking. He did a particularly good job with the voice of Sandy Stern, very light, gentle, yet assertive in the courtroom. If you are like me, one of the dozen or so people on the planet who missed the book or movie of "Presumed Innocent," I can strongly recommend this book. I really enjoyed listening to it!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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