Everyone in town is shocked when Chauncey St. Amant, a prominent citizen and this year's King of Carnival, is killed on his parade float by a shooter in a Dolly Parton get-up. Skip Langdon is assigned the case because of her own upper-crust background. Skip's investigation takes her deep into the Garden District to dig up the St. Amant family skeletons and a dangerous ancient secret.
Julie Smith, who was a reporter at the New Orleans Times-Picayune, writes with authority about the Big Easy, and Cristine McMurdo-Wallis' performance puts you on the streets of the French Quarter at Skip Langdon's side. Wallis' dramatic delivery breathes life into the novel's menagerie of exotic characters, enhancing the intense psychological drama.
Hear more of Julie Smith's Skip Langdon mysteries.
© Julie Smith; (P)Recorded Books, LLC
The story is good, but it is very tiresome listening to characters who are all depressed and drunk all the time. They're the whiny and miserable because their parents didn't love them. Yikes.
The author provides interesting details about the Mardi gras and a portrait of New Orleans that seems authentic, however, the story lacked the suspense and tension that is essential for any good mystery novel. Character development seemed superficial and most of the personalities portrayed were not very likable. By the middle of the novel I didn't really care what happened next.
While I listened to this book until the end, I couldn't wait for it to stop. It appeared that every character was depressed because their parent(s) didn't love them. It was a very whiny book.
I didn't know Julie Smith, but New Orleans is an enchanting backdrop, so I took a chance. Now I'm going to read everything Smith has written. Once she convinced me that the NOPD chief would assign a rookie patrolwoman to assist detectives on a murder case--and she did in short order--this mystery unfolded with convincing verisimilitude.
Guys are not easily captivated by social nuance, yet this book sucked me right into the juicy entanglements of Big Easy society.
But it's no story for sissies. It's a runaway freight train ride. It never slows down. I don't rate many detective stories five stars, but this book and Cristine McMurdo-Wallis' narration both get my five.
Not only is this an exciting mystery with lots of twists, turns and interesting characters, but it is also a wonderful text for those of us planning on attending our first Mardi Gras. The author goes into great detail concerning New Orleans neighborhoods, accents, class structure. She even names a few good and a few overrated restaurants. I am so ready for Mardi Gras 2005 now.
I was expecting more from this book because I knew it had won the Edgar Award. I gave it 4 stars just in case the 3 I wanted to give it was misguided by over expectations. It a good mystery, but I was hoping for Great and didn't get it. But don't let my judgment prevent you from trying it, I also don't agree with 8 out of 10 Pulitzer Prise winning selections.
An interesting murder mystery featuring a rather unconventional cop, Skip Langdon, and a rather eccentic family at the top end of the social pile. Skip makes a change from the hard-boiled cigarette chompin genre. The listener gets immersed in the whole Noo Orleaans trip, and the atmosphere effectively complements the twists in the tale.
I had trouble determining whether this was a novel or a commentary about Mardi gras. In fact, the beginning of this book is so dry that I had to go back and make sure that I was, in fact, reading a novel. Once we have plowed though the history of Mardi gras, the book turns somewhat wacky and, along the line, lost me as a reader.
This book had so much going for it, the location, the plot, the lead character, the narrator; it should have been a very good listen. But not for me, I was so bored and irritated by the incessant whining inner musings of the supporting characters I didn?t bother to download the second part of the book.
Thoroughly absorbing, well-written and well-narrated, this novel plunges the reader/listener into the world of "high-society" New Orleans during Mardi Gras, with a murder to solve, including intra-family intrigue. highly recommended for anyone wanting a well-told "crime novel" (this categorization does not do this book justice) of contemporary New Orleans
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