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Publisher's Summary

Madeline Dare, a tough-talking, shotgun-toting ex-debutante, is not your average detective. Then again, not much about her life is what she expected. Born of old money into high society, she married into a Syracuse farming family and a bottom-of-the-food-chain job writing puff pieces for the local newspaper. Her emotional barometer these days ranges from dry irony to whining exasperation.

Then Madeline discovers mysterious circumstances linking her favorite cousin to a 20-year-old murder case, and suddenly her roots are a serious matter again: deadly serious. Unwilling to turn her evidence over to the authorities before figuring some things out herself, she will embark on an ill-prepared and harrowing investigation into the real dark side of her world.

©2006 Cornelia Read; (P)2006 Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

  • Mystery Writers of America 2007 Edgar Nominee, Best First Novel by an American Author
  • Audie Award Finalist, Mystery, 2007

" "Consistently delights. The author's sharp social commentary on everything from the idle rich to the environment adds to the pleasure." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    21
  • 4 Stars
    32
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    29
  • 2 Stars
    12
  • 1 Stars
    6

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    12
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    7
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Story

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kathleen
  • Las Vegas, NV, United States
  • 05-01-08

Witty and a great mystery.

I loved this book. I laughed out loud at some of the lines in this book. The little twists and turns in the plot plus background information added so much to this novel. I started listening to it yesterday morning and finished it last evening. I couldn't put it down and hated it to end. I can hardly wait to start listening to "The Crazy School."

The narrator, Hillary Huber, was perfect for this story. She delivered the great lines in this book with perfection. A great choice for this book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

A lot of fun

It takes a couple of chapters to get into, but this book is well worth the time. The mystery has a quite satisfying resolution, but getting there is as much fun. The little extraneous details that the authors keeps throwing in are terrific. If you enjoy cultural mythology, this is a book for you. I'm looking forward to the author's next book!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Great narration

This is a pretty good book, though rambling in Part II, but the narrator is smashing. Great timing. Numerous distinct voices. A new favorite for me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

a decent mystery

An interesting story line and a decent mystery despite the two-dimensional characters. At times the writing style is slightly crude and juvenile, filled with many tedious; "sucks", "god damn its" "you knows". The narrator has a good rhythm is easy to listen two, save the cringes of pain induced as she stumbles through horrific indecipherable accents. So if you can live with the aforementioned shortcomings you will have a nice mystery worth the few hours and a credit.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ian
  • Oxford Mills, ON, Canada
  • 04-05-08

Great wit, great mystery

Like a new Sam Spade novel, the characters in this novel have great lines. "The money in our family is so old that it all ran out" moans Madeline Dare as she sits in Syracuse. Her family are the bitter ex-rich, and her in-laws are wonderfully crusty rurals. Something dug up in a field leads Madeline to solving a mystery involving both.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Great Story But Some Performance Inaccuracies

This is a fascinating and gripping mystery, and I'm definitely going to get the next in the series. However, as someone who lives in Syracuse, I found the accents to be a bit off (more midwest flattened "a" than our own regionalisms), and the pronunciations of some local names were also incorrect. Since the city is an important element, this bothered me a bit--it jarred me out of the story.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Heidi
  • Wheeling, WV, United States
  • 04-07-12

pretty good

A pretty good listen. I did love the narrator for sure. The story is definitely interesting but I had it figured out way too soon.

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

Mystery with a literary flare

"It captured my attention for three straight days of listening when I could. Normally I listen to audiobooks when I am walking for exercise, but I was not able to put my ipod down when I returned to my house. While a mystery genre book, it's written with a literary play of language and the characters are unexpectedly different and realistic. Unfortunately, I was able to guess who the perp was half way through, but I wasn't certain. I want to go on with this series. Madeleine, the accidental detective, is a warm person and knows her mind. I liked her for her wit and strength of will."

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Jan
  • Berkeley, CA, USA
  • 09-05-09

Dd♠

I did not find the narrator monotonous or the book overlong. I often find the male narrators who read women's voices irritatingly affected so it was a welcome change to hear the opposite done well. One quibble: her pronunciation of Hu?, (Vietnam) was laughable (Hugh!) -- clearly she is under 40. It took me a while to figure it out. Doesn't anyone "proof-hear" these narrations? BTW, web-weaver, something is wrong with this form because I did not title this review "Dd&#9824" and I could not alter it.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Amber
  • Austin, TX, USA
  • 06-28-07

terrible narrator

monotone narrator sucks the life out of the text. I was not even able to get through an hour of the story before turning it off... and I can't tell you what the story was even about because it was so boring. don't waste your money on this one.

4 of 10 people found this review helpful