I waivered between 3 and 4 stars for this book. I finally decided to go with 4 stars based on the strengths of Mina's WWII story.
The book, which alternates between 1944 and present day, is intriguing. The genealogical aspects of the search for Mina are the fascinating and move the story forward. The characters in the 1944 story are well rounded and bring the story to life. I cared about Mina and what happened to her. And when the past and the present merge, the story is first rate. The author should have stopped with Mina's story and edited out the thriller aspects-it would have been a better book.
The present day characters, including the main character (Jefferson Tayte, an American genealogist) are flat and typecast. So is the killer. No secret there, we meet the killer very early on. The bad guy(s) are transparent and the reason for a string of assassinations is over the top. It might have been more interesting if there was more variety in the way people died. The problem started for me when the bodies started mounting. The lackluster response of law enforcement was puzzling.
Tayte repeatedly mentions he is searching for his birth parents and that he has a weight problem. But that's all we know. Why is his weight an issue? How heavy is he? Does he have health issues. Or is it just an impression the author has of Americans? Doesn't Tayte have any relatives who know he was adopted? Were his birth parents British? It seems that is why he is so interested in British genealogy. But how does he know this?
A few of the details in the American scenes didn't work. When present-day Tayte has coffee with his American client, she serves the coffee from a percolator. I don't know if you can even buy percolators any more. And Tayte wears tan linen suits. And he seems to have a steady supply on hand. This is a minor problem, though. I'm sure British readers feel the same about details that American authors put in books set in the U.K.
The narrator, Simon Vance, is one of my favorites and he does a good job with Tayte's American English accent and pronunciation. There are instances, however, where Tatye uses a British pronunciation when he just wouldn't have.
Note: This is the second in a series of three books. I have not listened to the first because it was lower rated. I am just finishing the third and will not be recommending it. Too many bodies and another mean assassin. I will write a review soon.
Sweet Danger is a campy sort of mystery, though the mystery really isn't much of a mystery. Campion is drool and amusing as he and a group of friends try to find the true heir to a piece of strategic property in a far off Balkan country. We get to meet the eccentric Finton family, in particular young Lady Amanda Finton, who scrape by running a mill. The Finton's hold the keys to the mystery. Lady Amanda likes to tinker with electricity, batteries, and radio. The bad guy and his cronies are obvious from the start.
Francis Matthews is a wonderful narrator. I prefer him to David Thorpe, whose Campion I find grating..
I enjoyed the mystery but was left wanting more from the book. For me, it didn't merit being called "Regency." Except for a mention of the war with France and the Princess Charlotte's wedding and people riding around in carriages, there were few other details to bring the Regency to mind. Captain Lacey was also an odd character. His self recriminations often seemed more feminine than masculine in tone. For an army man, I thought it odd he never cursed. What little sex there is is implied rather than seen, which is a nice change of pace. I was amazed to see a reviewer on Amazon say she was going to delete the book because of its overt sexuality. I'm not sure we were reading the same book. The narrator is fine but I gave him only three stars because of Lacey's over the top, screechy dialogue.
This book kept me up all night listening. While seemingly a story of gratuitous murder, River of Darkness also explores the theme of how a person's psyche long after a war is over. War, in fact, is never over for some. Airth skillfully weaves together a police investigation, a love story, and a killer's narrative. I highly recommend this book. The narrator was excellent and his regional accents sounded authentic, at least to my untrained ear.
Raven Black is a moody, atmospheric story with twists and turns throughout. I was actually surprised when the killer was revealed. Cleeves is excellent at pulling the reader/listener into the story and her descriptions of the island culture hook you. Lt. Jimmy Perez is a character with substance, as in Fran Hunter. I understand this book was made into a British TV show called Shetland. I will be on the lookout for it.
I concur with the other reviewers. More of Ann Cleeves please.
This set of charming and witty tales, as told by the Dragon's Bard, is fun and amusing. I even laughed out loud a few times. If you are looking for evil dragons and vengeful fantasy, this isn't the book for you. If you like drunk pixies, sensitive dwarfs, and broken wishing wells, you will find them in Eventide. Good for the whole family.
Simon Vance is at his best.
Another great set of characters make the Fashion in Shrouds an intriguing listen. I loved the way Allingham mixed theater, fashion, and airplane design plots and subplots. It was great to see Lady Amanda Fitton reappear from an earlier novel. Her ability to handle Campion bodes for future encounters.
Having David Suchet read Hercule Poirot is heaven. He knows his character so well. Death on the Nile is a great listen. Even though I had the bad guy/gal figured out before the denouement, it was a fun ride getting there. Christie provides a great cast of potential killers and victims.
A wonderful listen. Campion is in fine fettle in this story about a gang of art thieves and a holy relic. Plenty of plot twists will keep you guessing until the end.
It has been along time since I have encountered such an annoying, self righteous, prig of a heroine as Theodosia. I don't care if she is a nun/anchoress. If I had been Sir Palmer, I would have left her to the bad guys to steam alive. I am half way through and don't know if I can finish. I might throw my Kindle against the wall soon.
Unlike other Campion stories, the reader gets to see a new side of Campion. We get a glimpse into his heart and his struggle with a personal conflict. It adds a new dimension to his character, who usually gets by with a joke to cover his feelings. The story is peppered with intriguing secondary characters and plot twists abound. I gave the story itself only 4 stars because I don't think the motive given for the killers action was worthy of some of his/her actions. A great listen, though I do find David Thorpe's interpretation of Campion's voice a bit over the top.
The book cover makes no sense. No one in the story was a ballet dance. Just a pet peeve of mine.
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