First, what this is not: The title does not signal any kind of Dan Brown clone--no holy grail stuff. Also, when this novel was written (and where) a p..Show More »riest involved in scandal did not immediately mean a sex abuse story line - so don't pass on this for that reason. Also, this is not a faith-based novel; the series (though not this instalment) draws a little on the tradition of priest sleuth, but no affection for Catholic faith is necessary to like the priest character. Neither is this edge-of-seat stuff: There is no graphic violence and no explicit sex - any violence or sex necessary for the plot are obliquely described.
This is a combination mystery-legal-detective procedural with elements of a traditional village cozy transplanted to an identifiable Canadian city, Halifax. The novel starts slowly but picks up after first quarter. It is somewhat predictable - but the mystery is secondary to character and setting (and establishment of story lines feeding the series).
The narration is good but does not have good regional infections; however, generalized accents are much better than bad regional ones. Two quibbles with the narration: There are more priests with thick Irish brogues in the novel than in Halifax itself. And I hope the narrator gets a dictionary for some common theology terms mispronounced-- Other vocal feats seem very well done.
I'll never get to Edinburgh with Rebus or Baltimore with Tess Monaghan, so I was glad to download this while in Halifax. The cityscape isn't as strong as in the classic detective/ city combinations, but adds interest. The Canadian legal context is laid out to be easily comprehensible to a non Canadian.
I'll definitely be listening to the entire series.
Downloaded this immediately after having finished the first in the series. I really liked The Sign of the Cross, but found this installment lacking. F..Show More »irst of all, the premise seems a bit implausible -- a man's sons are unnerved by his reaction to an obituary and immediately conclude it hides a death threat, launching into an investigation on their own. If their father's past is as mild as they have thought all along, doesn't the panic seem a bit of a stretch? Secondly, if the man himself knows all the "secrets," but refuses to discuss said secrets with his sons (telling the family to forget it), why would they insist of pursuing the search? (They are basically trying to discover things that their father already knows.) So that's my problem with the plot.
A secondary problem, with the characters themselves, is the womanizing priest...and everyone else's acceptance of this priest's 'character flaw,' even encouraging it. Regardless of your views on Catholic priests and their celibacy vow, it seems a little weird that practically all the characters (most of them Irish Catholics for whom the Church is a key part of their lives) treat this priest's frequent 'pecadillos' as somewhat amusing.
That said, the writing is good. I will probably give the series a third try.
I read the first in this series and loved it. Loved the characters...could not wait to follow them further. Second book was kind of a let down (attrib..Show More »uted it to the subject matter and it getting in the way). Then I downloaded 'Barrington Street Blues,' the third one in the series...and I could not even finish it!!!
The "great characters" that showed up in the first novel do not change...at all! I remember saying in my review of that first novel that I could not wait to see how the characters evolved. Well, they don't. Their petty fights and doubts and conversations (which were endearing in that first novel) get ANNOYING. You find yourself saying: "SERIOUSLY? You are thinking that AGAIN?!!!" or "You are making that mistake in your relationship AGAIN?" or "We are having THAT conversation AGAIN?"
The flaw in character development COULD be overlooked IF the mystery was better...but it's not (granted, I did not finish this book -- maybe the conclusion is brilliant). The clues and leads seem to "drop" into our "A-Team Investigators" (a philandering priest and an attorney who's been making the same exact mistakes in his attempts to reconcile his differences with his ex-wife for three books now) as if by magic....And if you thought the parenthesis in that last sentence got in the way of the "sentence"....well, that's a preview of what happens in this novel (the personality "dramas -- and they ARE dramas -- become an annoying distraction)...I will certainly NOT download another Burke & what's-his-name mystery again. I wish them well.
Although this is an intriguing mystery/legal thriller, it draws very heavily on arcane details of Catholicism, music, philosophy and politics. This c..Show More »an either excite or turn off the listener. Narrator did well except in his portrayal of female characters (both children and adults) which was irritating.