When lawyer Jenny Cooper is appointed Severn Vale District Coroner, she’s hoping for a quiet life and space to recover from a traumatic divorce. But the office she inherits from the recently deceased Harry Marshall contains neglected files hiding dark secrets and a trail of buried evidence.
Could the tragic death in custody of a young boy be linked to the apparent suicide of a teenage prostitute and the fate of Marshall himself? Jenny’s curiosity is aroused. Why was Marshall behaving so strangely before he died? What injustice was he planning to uncover? And what caused his abrupt change of heart?
©2009 M. R. Hall (P)2010 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
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This was a good story and I am going to keep track of M. R. Hall who seems to write a murder story with a twist. The coroner is normally consigned to a brief mention in most detective story but here takes centre stage.
The coroner battles with a complex situation, her personal problems and sexual prejudice amongst other things. I was rooting for her and was glad she stuck with it.
An excellent, entertaining story and was well read.
"An Excellent Read"
I really recommend this - an excellent read with an engaging heroine and very good plot. Very well read by Sian Thomas - don't miss it!
This book started well and I was looking forward to listening to a thriller from a different angle ie the Coroner.
Sadly the central character Jenny Cooper turns into an obnoxious, arrogant and totally unbelievable person whose own personal problems completely overwhelm the rest of the story.
I have listened to the first 3 books in this series and they get more unbelievable as they go on and Cooper becomes more arrogant and obnoxious.
A real shame as this could have been an excellent series
This started off promisingly - a new woman coroner with personal problems who nevertheless sets about investigating two cases left by her predecessor. For two-thirds of the book I was with her as she gradually uncovered bits and pieces of evidence in those cases with the help of her ex-detective coroner's officer. Sadly, it became too overblown as her anger with pretty much everyone and everything boiled over. That rather spoilt the tension of the court scenes, which were otherwise interesting, as the tension arose from the worry about whether she would hold it together.
We know from the outset that she is seeing a therapist and that there is some trauma buried deep in her memory from her childhood. She has had a nervous breakdown and has left her previous job in family law to take up this new post. This is to be a fresh start for her after her divorce.
Unfortunately, she degenerates from pill-popping and being almost in control of her anger to borderline psychotic with suicidal tendencies. I could just about suspend disbelief so far as to accept that she was appointed in the first place but was amazed she was able to stay in her job for any length of time.
The baddies have no light and shade. There are some characters who have their feet on the ground (sadly not the coroner herself) who offer some blessed moments of calm.
The narration is excellent. I have given it three stars as, despite the unease I felt about the central character, it was an interesting story but I don't think I want to spend any more time in the company of Jenny Cooper. I found myself hoping that the villager with whom she develops a friendship runs a mile as she is poison!
its a bit slow to start, but good once it gets going, didn't really know a Coroner could do the investigating, some of it seems a bit unlikely, but it is well read and you are willing the heroine to do well. Moves at a good pace and no confusing legal jargon
I have read and listened to many books over the past 67 years and this ranked with some of the best. I nearly didn't download it because of one reviewer's comments but I am so glad I gave it a try. I am looking forward to listening to the others in the series.
The fact that I had to keep listening.
"Gripping and full of twists and turns!"
The story was very well read, the reader giving exactly the right amount of tension to the voice of the Coroner as she investigates the tragic death of two young people finding herself constantly up against petty bureaucracy and criminality
It was all pretty memorable!
I enjoyed her empathetic portrayal of a woman facing very challenging personal circumstances as she tries to do her job.
Neither but it does evoke strong feelings towards those who seek their own advancement at the expense of the weak and vulnerable.
A great listen, shall be starting the 2nd book in the series now!
My first M R Hall but not my last. I found the central character engaging, but did wonder at the ability of such a damaged person to hold down this sort of position. However I was with her all the way, although did get just a little tired of all the pill popping details. Also one of the best narrations I have heard for a long time.
Slow but interesting.
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