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Elain

  • 6
  • reviews
  • 10
  • helpful votes
  • 24
  • ratings
  • Murder and Mendelssohn

  • A Phryne Fisher Mystery
  • By: Kerry Greenwood
  • Narrated by: Stephanie Daniel
  • Length: 11 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 546
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 495
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 495

An orchestral conductor has been found dead and Detective Inspector Jack Robinson needs the delightfully incisive and sophisticated Miss Fisher's assistance. Hugh Tregennis has been murdered in a most flamboyant mode by a killer with a point to prove. But how many killers is Phryne really stalking? At the same time, the dark curls and disdainful air of mathematician and code-breaker Rupert Sheffield are taking Melbourne by storm. They've certainly taken the heart of Phryne's old friend from the trenches of WWI, John Wilson. Phryne recognises Sheffield as a man who attracts danger and is determined to protect John from harm.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Starchy mystery accompanies KG's take on Sherlock

  • By Kate on 11-09-13

Goodbye Phryne & Sherlock, funny to see you here

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-19-17

I've been a fan of Phryne for a long time, but I don't feel like continuing with the series. This book has been rather disappointing.

Yes, there is a mystery. And when both Phryne and Rupert admit they cannot solve it, I do not find it surprising at all. Because nobody is even trying to solve it. Instead the whole novel seems to centered on Phryne's efforts to bring together the mathematician Rupert Sheffield, who goes around lecturing on the art of deduction, and John Wilson, an ex-army doctor. I did not need to wait for the afterword to figure out that I am reading fanfiction. It is undoubtedly a very good example of a particular genre. Unfortunately, I am not a huge fan of that genre or that pairing. Having it feature so prominently in the book annoyed me not just as a fan of Phryne but as a fan of Sherlock too.

The rest of the book seems to be mostly about Phryne's other conquests told to the accompaniment of bawdy songs and orgies. The other familiar characters - Dot, Hugh, Jack Robinson barely register. The last one only appears in the Lestrade fashion to demonstrate his full incompetence and to have everything explained to him.

  • Strategy

  • A History
  • By: Lawrence Freedman
  • Narrated by: Michael Butler Murray
  • Length: 32 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 554
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 488
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 476

In Strategy: A History, Sir Lawrence Freedman, one of the world's leading authorities on war and international politics, captures the vast history of strategic thinking, in a consistently engaging and insightful account of how strategy came to pervade every aspect of our lives.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Comprehensive 'Tour de Force' on Strategy

  • By Logical Paradox on 07-20-14

A history of proletariat's struggles?

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-17-16

I am generally very persistent in finishing a book. I think only about 1 or 2 in the annual hundred remain unfinished. I may put a book on hold only to return to it later. Repeatedly. So, yeah, you get the idea. And this is the book I could not finish.

It is rather dry, but that is not the main reason. When I see the title 'Strategy: A History', I expect a story of ancient and not so ancient battles and clever stratagems, whether real or embroidered into legends. With, perhaps, some clever explanation of how the mind (and mass mind) works.

Instead, I get a 40 minutes retelling of Moses asking the Pharao to let his people go (I could instead watch 'The 10 Commandments' - more exciting, after a brief mention of the Trojan Horse (ditto 'Troy') and then... then it is hours and hours about Bolsheviks and Mensheviks and the Marx and Engels and the Communist Manifesto. I am not saying it is uninteresting of unimportant, but the book should have been called 'The Politics of Marxism'. Perhaps, then it would have found its reader.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Bring Up the Bodies

  • By: Hilary Mantel
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 14 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 182
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 159
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 161

By 1535 Thomas Cromwell, the blacksmith's son, is far from his humble origins. Chief Minister to Henry VIII, his fortunes have risen with those of Anne Boleyn, Henry’s second wife, for whose sake Henry has broken with Rome and created his own church. In Bring Up the Bodies, Hilary Mantel explores one of the most mystifying and frightening episodes in English history: the destruction of Anne Boleyn.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • As good as the Wolf Hall

  • By Elain on 06-02-12

As good as the Wolf Hall

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-02-12

Having absolutely loved the 'Wolf Hall', I have expected this book with a mix of excitement and trepidation, and must say that it is absolutely fantastic. I love the way the story is told as perceived by Cromwell and I also loved some original twists in what has now become a very familiar tale (thanks to Philippa Gregory and 'The Tudors').

The narrator is perfect. I've enjoyed every minute of listening to this book!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Artists in Crime

  • By: Ngaio Marsh
  • Narrated by: Benedict Cumberbatch
  • Length: 3 hrs and 19 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 232
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 207
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 205

It started as a student exercise, the knife under the drape, the model's pose chalked in place. But before Agatha Troy, artist and instructor, returns to the class, the pose has been re-enacted in earnest: the model is dead, fixed for ever in one of the most dramatic poses Troy has ever seen. It's a difficult case for Chief Detective Inspector Alleyn. How can he believe that the woman he loves is a murderess? And yet no one can be above suspicion.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Aii! Abridged

  • By Charles on 06-05-11

A good old-fashioned detective story

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-16-12

I've been wanting to get acquainted with Ngaio Marsh's books for some time, but kept postponing it. In the end, this was the book I've decided to start with. And I've really enjoyed it.

It is a good old-fashioned detective story along the lines of Agatha Christie. A big house, a bunch of people come there for a short stay, and a murder. There is also a piquant bit of New Zealand flavour, as in all the books by Ngaio Marsh, I believe. I literally fell in love with the character of the gentleman detective Roderick Allein. (I am planning to dig up the old BBC series on the topic). And I definitely liked a bit of romance going on in the midst and despite all the grisly happenings.

Because this is an abridged version, some episodes and conclusions seem a bit abrupt, but cannot be helped, I suppose.

The narration by Benedict Cumberbatch is simply fantastic. The number of accents and voices he puts on here is really impressive, and I am definitely listening to the other two Ngaio Marsh's books read by him.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sherlock Holmes: The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries and Other Stories audiobook cover art
  • Sherlock Holmes: The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries and Other Stories

  • By: John Taylor
  • Narrated by: Benedict Cumberbatch
  • Length: 2 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 206
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 180
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 181

An Inscrutable Masquerade', 'The Conundrum of Coach 13', 'The Trinity Vicarage Larceny' and 'The 10.59 Assassin'. Inspired by Arthur Conan Doyle’s original Sherlock Holmes stories, John Taylor has written four more mysteries featuring the world’s greatest detective. Read by acclaimed actor Benedict Cumberbatch, these new adventures share all the suspense of the original tales.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Cumberbatch is a great Sherlock Holmes

  • By Janette on 01-27-12

A pleasure for the fans

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-16-12

I have enjoyed the book. Mostly, I have to admit, because Benedict Cumberbatch has one of those voices, which can turn a phone book into an exciting story.

The stories themselves are nothing special, but still a pleasurable way to spend an afternoon.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone

  • By: Laini Taylor
  • Narrated by: Khristine Hvam
  • Length: 12 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 65
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 59
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 59

In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she's a 17-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in 'Elsewhere', she has never understood Brimstone's dark work - buying teeth from hunters and murderers - nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn't whole.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Original story idea, not enough chemistry

  • By Jodie on 11-29-11

A magical fantasy world

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-16-12

I've chosen this book on a whim and was very happy I did so. It is a magical story, somewhat different from the typical fantasy set-up: you won't find the was of angels and chimerae in many books. I was starting to feel a bit bored when getting to the middle of the book, but then it was as if the whole new world has suddenly opened before me and I became totally engrossed again.

I am pretty sure, it is mostly meant for teenagers, but still it was refreshing to find a fantasy book without mountains of gore and pages of love-making.

It is also very well narrated.