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Murders for Sale

Narrated by: Jewel Greenberg
Length: 6 hrs and 36 mins
3 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

When Fredericka Wing arrives in South Sutton, Massachusetts, a tiny New England town, it seems an ideal place for a working summer vacation. She plans on managing Miss Hartwell's bookstore while working on her own writing. She never dreamed she would find a body in a hammock in her own backyard. Someone brutally murdered Catherine Clay, an heir to the Sutton fortune. And more violence follows. Together with Peter Mohun, a professor at a local college, Fredericka sets out to discover the murderer's identity...and unravel the secrets of the wealthy and powerful Sutton family!

Murders for Sale - also published under the title Sneeze on Sunday - is one of science fiction writer Andre Norton's rare excursions into the mystery field.

©1953 Andre Norton and Grace Allen Hogarth (P)2017 Wildside Press LLC

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  • Bonnie
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • 02-03-19

Worst Andre Norton novel EVER & I've read them all

I was always a huge Andre Norton fan, even of her more uneven early works like the Sword series. I don't know how much Andre Norton wrote on this one, as opposed to her co-author Grace Hogarth, but there is precious little that is recognizably Norton. I did manage to finish the book, mostly from stubborn determination, as the murder mystery plot is silly and the killer is obvious less than halfway through, despite some lame red herrings. There are a few scattered Nortonisms, like Frederica the heroine being a librarian, aspiring writer, and a spinster who doesn't like children; and the hero having been a secret agent during the war. But most of the writing is tiresome blather about what people eat at every meal, and the daily weather, and endless cringe-worthy thoughts like "She silently cursed herself for {insert faux pas real or imagined} and hoped the others hadn't noticed". And half way through, the hero falls unconvincingly in love with the heroine, who breathlessly waits on him to solve all problems. He even calls her "You little fool" with classic 1950's affection. I groaned through all the romance, it was so phony. All inconvenient people are killed or do us the favor of killing themselves, so the plot is hopelessly contrived.

But wait, it gets even worse. The narrator, while speaking with crisp enunciation, doesn't bother to change her tone for the different characters until well past the middle of the book, then sporadically changes tone almost at random. There were many, many places where I could not tell if she was reading narrative or a character's line. Worse, where two or more characters had a conversation without cues like "Henry said" or "exclaimed Susan", I had no idea who was speaking when the conversation switched from one to another.

I hate to diss one of my adolescent idols, but this book is a stinker. Try Norton's science fiction instead. Catseye is a classic! and available on Audible. Or try her Witch World fantasy series. "Year of the Unicorn" is how she writes a beautiful believable romance. And I hope they put "The Crystal Gryphon" and "The Jargoon Pard" on Audible one day soon.