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The Pigeon Pie Mystery: A Novel | [Julia Stuart]

The Pigeon Pie Mystery: A Novel

When Indian Princess Alexandrina is left penniless by the sudden death of her father, the Maharaja of Brindor, Queen Victoria grants her a grace-and-favor home in Hampton Court Palace. Though rumored to be haunted, Alexandrina and her lady's maid, Pooki, have no choice but to take the Queen up on her offer. Aside from the ghost sightings, Hampton Court doesn't seem so bad. The princess is soon befriended by three eccentric widows who invite her to a picnic with all the palace's inhabitants, for which Pooki bakes a pigeon pie. But General-Major Bagshot dies after eating said pie....
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Publisher's Summary

Julia Stuart returns in her follow-up to the best-selling The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise with this clever murder mystery set in Victorian England, brimming with her signature charm and fabulous characters.

When Indian Princess Alexandrina is left penniless by the sudden death of her father, the Maharaja of Brindor, Queen Victoria grants her a grace-and-favor home in Hampton Court Palace. Though rumored to be haunted, Alexandrina and her lady's maid, Pooki, have no choice but to take the Queen up on her offer.

Aside from the ghost sightings, Hampton Court doesn't seem so bad. The princess is soon befriended by three eccentric widows who invite her to a picnic with all the palace's inhabitants, for which Pooki bakes a pigeon pie. But when General-Major Bagshot dies after eating said pie, and the coroner finds traces of arsenic in his body, Pooki becomes the number-one suspect in a murder investigation.

Princess Alexandrina isn't about to let her faithful servant hang. She begins an investigation of her own, and discovers that Hampton Court isn't such a safe place to live after all.

With her trademark wit and charm, Julia Stuart introduces us to an outstanding cast of lovable oddballs, from the palace maze-keeper to the unconventional Lady Beatrice (who likes to dress up as a toucan - don't ask), as she guides us through the many delightful twists and turns in this fun and quirky murder mystery. Everyone is hiding a secret of the heart, and even Alexandrina may not realize when she's caught in a maze of love.

©2012 Julia Stuart (P)2012 Random House Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.3 (75 )
5 star
 (15)
4 star
 (17)
3 star
 (29)
2 star
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1 star
 (8)
Overall
3.3 (63 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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Story
3.6 (64 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
 (5)
1 star
 (3)
Performance
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  •  
    Yvette San Jose, CA, United States 08-13-12
    Yvette San Jose, CA, United States 08-13-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The best thing I've heard for ages!!!"

    The Pigeon Pie Mystery is wonderful! Julia Stuart has written a funny, "cozy" mystery. It is an extremely well researched story full of wonderfully complex characters who interact with each other in unexpected, yet completely believable, ways. The author makes you really care about her characters. The setting is a real place, and by the end of the book you feel like you have been there, too.

    Hannah Curtis is a totally perfect reader for this. You never have to guess which character is speaking, as her characterization is remarkably good, without ever being overdone. And her accents are pitch-perfect.

    I enjoyed it hugely, and did not guess who "done it" before the end. It was definitely worth the credit, and I will listen to it again.

    17 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy St Charles, MO, United States 09-09-12
    Nancy St Charles, MO, United States 09-09-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very pleasant listen"
    Any additional comments?

    The writer has a very subtle and dry wit that comes out very well in this story. The situational absurdities and comical satiric take on the English upper class mores are delightful.

    The plot was good, even without the normal suspense seemingly required in most mysteries these days. One gets the feel of the renowned English emotional reserve very well. I did not guess who-dun-it, even though the clues were there.

    The narrator was great. Just the right pace and displayed the author's witticisms with excellent tongue in cheek style. Her accents were great, except for the American one. But then, I've yet to hear an English narrator ever get the American accent down properly!

    Overall, this book was delightful and look forward to more from this author/narrator duo.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doc Evans FL USA 10-05-12
    Doc Evans FL USA 10-05-12 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Didn't finish"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I would recommend reading this instead. The narrator's lack of inflection caused me to rewind several times because the sentence didn't make sense.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Find a narrator who uses pauses, commas, question marks, etc. in their narrative audio.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    She was just wooden. I couldn't determine which character was speaking often times.


    What character would you cut from The Pigeon Pie Mystery?

    The princess. She was just annoying. I didn't care if it had a happy ending or not. I got 3/4 of the way through and quit listening. I've never done that in 10 years of being an Audible member.


    Any additional comments?

    Have never written a negative review before but thought you she get some feedback

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marie Woodville, TX, United States 12-01-12
    Marie Woodville, TX, United States 12-01-12 Member Since 2004

    I love mysteries in the style of P.D. James, Rex Stout, Elizabeth Peters, Dave Duncan, etc. I love sci fi written by Issac Asimov (the robot books), Douglas Adams, Jack McDevitt (Alex Benedict series) and Susan Collins. I love fantasy written by Terry Pratchett, and Kim Harrison. I love Kate Morton. I don't like graphic descriptions of violence.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "3 1/2 stars if I could"
    Any additional comments?

    Any murder mystery that forgoes the overly graphic descriptions of violence and sex deserves at least a 3 on my personal rating scale. This book did that and, in addition, was well read and very funny in places. I was also motivated to learn more about “grace and favor” and Hampton Court Palace so I was not sorry I bought it. But….if it were part of a series, I would probably not buy the second book and will probably not listen to this one again. Those kinds of books are rated 4 on my scale. It is just a pleasant, light read that you will forget the minute you close the book (or stop the player).

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wendy Ashburnham, MA, United States 10-04-12
    Wendy Ashburnham, MA, United States 10-04-12 Member Since 2004
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    "Disappointing"
    Would you try another book from Julia Stuart and/or Hannah Curtis?

    Probably won't try another book by either. I dislike writing negative reviews, but I found the story boring and the narration unpleasant to my ear. I kept listening, waiting for the story to get better, but unfortunately it never did for me. I guess I'm a person who likes a more active plot that draws one into the story, and this never did. I love British stories, TV, etc but this didn't meet my expectations.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Ken Follet


    How could the performance have been better?

    The English accent did not sound authentic to me.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment, boredom, frustration.


    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Clare Vancouver, BC, Canada 09-23-12
    Clare Vancouver, BC, Canada 09-23-12 Member Since 2009

    Historical & SciFi Book Lover, especially Georgette Heyer, Lois McMaster Bujold, Connie Willis (& New Who). Also books for the kids.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Delightful Victorian 'Maybe Murder' Mystery"

    Victorian 'is it a murder' mystery (scene is thoroughly set as the death does not happen until about half way through) set in Hampton Court. Humour is delightful (one part made me chuckle out loud, and it was not the ludicrously amusing scene in the church, but at the garden party). This is a novel set in a very strongly held British Class Structure, where appearances are held up - whilst struggling with genteel poverty. The characters are, on the whole, engaging.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    diana mcdonald Carneys Point, NJ, US 10-07-12
    diana mcdonald Carneys Point, NJ, US 10-07-12
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    "English book has some bite to it"

    I have never read anything by Julia Stuart but took a chance and was glad I did.
    Book started out kinda slow and I had to get used to the English accent and some new words but all in all is was a entertaining book.
    The last part of the book was the best and I was glad to have read it all.
    The murder mystery as solved with a few little twists and I never had a guess on who "done it".
    I will check other books from this author.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pat Saint Louis, MO, United States 09-24-12
    Pat Saint Louis, MO, United States 09-24-12 Member Since 2009

    A voracious reader, especially for a dog. Of course, terriers are superior. Not bragging. Just true.

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    "Easy Listening"
    Would you try another book from Julia Stuart and/or Hannah Curtis?

    Yes.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Julia Stuart? Why or why not?

    Absolutely. Delicious witty prose. Great characters. Interesting period details. Engaging mystery without creating anxiety. A nice "easy listening" mystery compared to my usual intense fare. The epitome of a "cozy."


    What about Hannah Curtis’s performance did you like?

    Smooth as silk.


    Could you see The Pigeon Pie Mystery being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Sure. But more than a 3-part series. Too light. No opinion on actors.


    Any additional comments?

    A lovely diversion. Inspired fond memories of (tourist) visits to Hampton Court.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terrie BOUNTIFUL, UT, United States 09-21-12
    Terrie BOUNTIFUL, UT, United States 09-21-12
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    "Simply ridiculous."
    If you could sum up The Pigeon Pie Mystery in three words, what would they be?

    Much too silly!


    Has The Pigeon Pie Mystery turned you off from other books in this genre?

    I'm not sure what genre this would be, but it has definitely turned me off from any books by this author!


    What three words best describe Hannah Curtis’s voice?

    Easy to understand.


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

    No! I kept listening in the vain hope that it would get better or more interesting. The characters are unbelievable and definitely not sympathetic.


    Any additional comments?

    There are definitely moments of humor throughout the book. This is its only redeeming quality in my opinion. I'm still not sure if it was supposed to be a comedy, a historical novel, or a mystery?

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret Alameda, CA, United States 02-06-14
    Margaret Alameda, CA, United States 02-06-14 Member Since 2008
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    "Not as good as earlier books"

    As a big fan of two earlier Julia Stuart books (The Matchmaker and The Tower one), Pigeon Pie Mystery came as a significant let down. It felt like a rehash of The Tortoise and the Tower with the same fascination with exotic animals, historic properties and many mustachioed characters. A rehash that lacked the emotional weight that the earlier book had because of Milo's death, let me add. I spent almost the entire time wishing I was listening to it wishing I'd saved my credit and just re-read either of the earlier books.

    The other problem I had was the reader got a kind of "knowing" edge to her voice when a line was meant to be funny. It drove me nuts! I understand that farce is the most difficult genre to read aloud (see the Tarquin Hall books or The Rosie Project to hear it done correctly) but it still grated. For that reason alone, grab the written form if you must. If you are already a fan of Julia Stuart, I think you're about to be disappointed.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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