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Publisher's Summary

The story opens with the apparently accidental drowning of a sixth form student in the Norfolk countryside. As a matter of routine, or so it seems, the case passes across the desk of Detective Sergeant Smith, recently returned to work after an internal investigation into another case that has led to tensions between officers at Kings Lake police headquarters. As an ex-DCI, Smith could have retired by now, and it is clear that some of his superiors wish that he would do so. The latest trainee detective to work with him is the son of a member of his former team, and together they begin to unravel the truth about what happened to Wayne Fletcher. As the investigation proceeds, it becomes clear that others are involved - some seem determined to prevent it, some seem to be taking too much interest. In the end, Smith operates alone, having stepped too far outside standard procedures to ask for support. He knows that his own life might be at risk but he has not calculated on the life of his young assistant also being put in danger.

©2013 Peter Grainger (P)2016 Tantor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent British Mystery

Peter Grainger is a wonderful writer. His primary character. Detective Sergeant DS Smith is an older, former Detective Chief Inspector who now works to solve cases rather than supervise. He is interesting, smart, multi-faceted, and his interactions with his subordinate team members provide a window into his character. He's honest and a gentleman, with a unique way of looking at crimes.

I have actually read all 5 of Mr. Granger's books in this series. As with a number of other authors whose books I enjoy enough to read multiple times (Agatha Christie, PD James, Josephine Tey, Dick Francis, Jodi Taylor, Patricia Wentworth and others), I will buy his audiobooks as they become available and listen when I can't read. An excellent narrator makes for great company.

Gildart Jackson is a good choice as narrator. As everyone knows, the narrator can ruin an excellent book but that won't happen here.

For those who like classic British mysteries, I highly recommend this writer.

113 of 118 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An Accidental Read

Just happened on this first in a series and had no expectations when I started reading. A very satisfying read. The primary character, DC Smith is someone I am looking forward to getting to know better. While there is still a great deal of back story to fill in, this relatively short book introduces a complex hero who takes the form of a somewhat shabby, bumbling detective, well past his prime, whom everyone hopes will retire - immediately. I was very impressed with the character development, especially the use of the grown child of an ex-partner, someone Smith first knew as a very little boy, to illustrate just how long he has been around, yet how relevant he still is.

And as usual my favorite aspect of this British police procedural suspense novel is that a wonderful mystery is presented and then solved with very little violence and with no guns. So many US mystery writers have replaced plot with gratuitous and graphic violence and endless gun battles that do nothing to move the story forward.

I thought the narrator did an excellent job!

141 of 148 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Split decision

My husband and I listened to this book together. He liked it very well--while I found it okay or pretty good. I'm putting this into my review, because while we are often in agreement about books, obviously people's reactions differ, as ours did in this case. And they may well for others. He thought this story of DC Smith, an older policeman taking on a case of what at first appears to be an accidental drowning, and leads to danger for himself as he pursues the case, was well written, clear, and totally held his interest. On the other hand, I discovered my attention often drifted away. Something about it just didn't grab me in the same way. I felt the writing more or less just plodded along--even though lots of things happened in the story to keep it moving. At the level of narration, though, we both liked that very well. I thought that was the best part of the book. So even though I feel sort of lukewarm about the book, to be completely fair, I wanted to say the listening experience was shared with someone who thought it was excellent.

81 of 89 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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yes, a 5

It's British, present day, police procedural, fine characters, unusual plot, surprise conclusion, intelligent and cohesive, violence free. There are more books in this series. I hope more find their way to the Audible holdins. Soon,

49 of 54 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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DC Smith is someone I can relate to

Thanks Peter Grainger for giving us a detective who has and uses the institutional memory that the younger bosses and bureaucrats no longer value. It's great to not be forced out of a job you're good at because of age.

31 of 34 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Enter the detective

Where does An Accidental Death rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the better ones, with a great story, nice changes in points of view, and a narrator who makes it all work well.

What other book might you compare An Accidental Death to and why?

The Armand Gamache novels by Louise Penney. Being American, I enjoy NOT reading about car chases, how big the gun is and how many rounds were fired. I want a character I can admire, and stories that could happen to someone.

Which scene was your favorite?

Many good scenes, but the one that stands out to me at the moment is when Smith meets with the Superintendent and purposely misunderstands the "retirement" talk!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Smith remembering his late wife while deciding what music to listen to one evening.

Any additional comments?

I have read all the books out so far, and still wanted to get the audio version so I could enjoy the story again while commuting to work.

42 of 47 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • B.J.
  • Minneapolis, MN, United States
  • 09-27-17

What a great series!

For me, this series has it all: terrific characters with depth and humanness, great plotlines, no gratuitous violence, quirky language, and a narrator who fits it all perfectly. I love the tiny details that carry over from book to book.

As I storm through the series one after another, I can say it's definitely one of the best finds of the year. I've thought of Louise Penny's Gamache often during the listening. I have that same feeling about these books as I did when I first discovered Three Pines.

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Cozy mystery with great characters.

I hope Audible gets more DC Smith books. He reminds me of Penny's Gamache series. Really enjoyable. In fact, I didn't want it to end. Narration was stellar.

44 of 50 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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Good Start to the Series

I'm always happy to discover a new fictional detective that appeals to me. Based on this first book of the series I believe I've found one in DC Smith. Five more books in this series have been published, and a sixth is scheduled for 2017.

As the story unfolds the listener learns more about DC Smith and the people that he works with. A young officer, Waters, is assigned to work with Smith. I found that part of the story revealed a lot about Smith. As the book ended I had a better sense of who Smith was, but also that there was much more to learn. How Smith solves the mystery may be more important than the mystery itself.

The pace of the story was steady. I appreciated the absence of excessive violence and crude language.

I'm fascinated by DC Smith and look forward to the next book in the series.

29 of 34 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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An enjoyable listen

I really enjoyed this book. The narrator was just right, and I loved DC Smith's dry sense of humour. I hope audible gets the rest of the books in this series. Nice change of pace.

21 of 26 people found this review helpful

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  • Simon
  • 08-27-16

Plodding In Fine Style!

Well I have just spent a pleasant few hours in the company of the oddly-named DC “DC Smith”, an interesting choice of initials for a detective constable if ever there was one. This is Frost rebooted, a gumpy old curmudgeon but with more of a human side and a considerably beefier background. There is a young protégé to add to the mix and as crime fiction so often has it the usual mix of doubting senior officers, competitive colleagues and local characters.

It would be wrong to write this one off as just another cliché though. The writing is clever and the characters are engaging. What this book also proves is that you can write a good crime novel without killing off half the local population and incorporating the worst of crimes. The central incident of this novel is an almost mundane seeming accidental drowning of a local teenager that is almost but not quite closed as just that rather than being properly investigated.

The narration by Gildart Jackson seems to fit these character to a tee. It’s not the most energetic of performances but it does breathe genuine life into the lead character. The story itself does develop significantly from its humble beginnings and the mental leap to the end from the starting mundane incident is a big one. The back story of DC Smith is also gradually revealed and he does surprise us with being quite a bit more than just another old cantankerous detective on the verge of retirement.

I liked it despite its brevity.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • George
  • 02-16-18

Real talent .

Best in a long time , at last a crime novel without foul language , foul language is no substitute for talent , something other writers could learn from , contrary to popular belief foul language is not common with the majority of people particularly those who are well read .

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Voyager
  • 10-17-16

Very Enjoyable

Just the sort of book I like. A bit of tension at times but with no graphical horror. A really good story that just flows and is clearly narrated. Can't be better than that!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • marmitemoo
  • 09-07-17

Brilliant!

Such a good book, with great characters and witty too. Already downloaded the next one

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sally Anne Avery
  • 09-05-17

Such a pod read!

Haven't been so captivated by a detective story in a long time. Couldn't put it down until the very end. Will now look for others in the series to read. Excellent storytelling too.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Avid reader
  • 02-14-17

Refreshing and fun!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Definitely. This was a real joy to listen to - a change from the gritty serial murder books that are so plenteous these days. It was well written and had a really likeable cast of characters. I welcomed the lack of bad language and sex scenes that seem to be de rigeur these days regardless of genre.

Who was your favorite character and why?

D.C. I really liked his style. If you enjoy MJ Trow's Peter Maxwell series you will enjoy this.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

There were many but I think the opening scene sets us up for what is to come and continues in that vein.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Not really.

Any additional comments?

I will enjoy reading more of this series and have already downloaded the next book.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Janrow
  • 11-28-16

Absolutely brilliant enjoyed every minute

What made the experience of listening to An Accidental Death the most enjoyable?

Both the storyline and the reader really made the characters come to life

What other book might you compare An Accidental Death to, and why?

it has a similar feel to the Bryant and may books just as good in a different way

What about Gildart Jackson’s performance did you like?

the way he portraited Smith

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Lots of laughs if you listen carefully

Any additional comments?

Highly recommended I have purchased the other 2 books

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  • Jann McKinnon
  • 02-23-18

An Accidental Death

I found the book quite compelling. Written and read in a restrained manner which kept the reader’s attention until the end about an exciting case.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ruth on a house
  • 01-10-18

Great listen!

The story was clever, the characters were excellent and the humor was wonderfully enhanced by the reader.