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Publisher's Summary

"We are living in the departure lounge," said Ralph Greenwood, "and flights leave with monotonous regularity." So when another resident of the Rosemary House care home is found dead in her chair one Saturday evening in December, no one is very surprised - not until the results of a routine post-mortem reveal something extraordinary. Sergeant DC Smith and his team have to tread carefully as they investigate what took place, and Smith himself has to confront some difficult memories. Others, meanwhile, seem intent on getting him to leave the force altogether, while, despite his best efforts, his social life also becomes a little more complicated. To top it all, Kings Lake has been waiting weeks for the snow to fall, in a winter that seems as if it will never end.

©2014 Peter Grainger (P)2016 Tantor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    405
  • 4 Stars
    254
  • 3 Stars
    68
  • 2 Stars
    20
  • 1 Stars
    3

Performance

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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    479
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    175
  • 3 Stars
    43
  • 2 Stars
    7
  • 1 Stars
    4

Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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    238
  • 3 Stars
    75
  • 2 Stars
    24
  • 1 Stars
    6
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  • Story

Thought-provoking story

I felt a bit lukewarm about the first book in this series. But I find this one more compelling. It’s hard to strictly define it—somewhat police procedural, a little bit of whodunnit, it seems mostly (to me) to be a story that intends to challenge deeply conflicted ethical issues around aging and dying.

Sgt DC Smith and his team work a case of an unnatural death in a senior living home. Is it suicide, assisted suicide, murder? And has it happened before? The listener is given a lot of opportunity to consider those possibilities, but the author also uses this book to explore some of the fine lines among these actions, and invites the listener to examine society’s attitudes toward them.

I liked this second book better than the first, and also want to say that the narration is good as well. It is not a fast page-turner, so much as a book that slowly reveals the story As the listener is invited to think about the topic on several levels.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Charm Largely Gone

I was pleasantly surprised by the first book in this series. I knew nothing about it when I started reading, but was instantly drawn to the melancholy warmth of the main character DC Smith. The plot was complicated enough to keep my interest, but not so complex I was lost. And several of the secondary characters were interesting enough that I was anxious to get to know them better.

Unfortunately, I found But for the Grace, the second book in this series, largely unenjoyable.
Smith's personality no longer comes across as kind, generous and a little out of touch, but almost cruel in some of his comments and actions. I couldn't recognize the DC Smith from the first book in the DC Smith from this. There were subplots that seemed totally disconnected from the primary plot, including the introduction of two women who could be potential romantic interests for Smith, but once introduced he didn't seem to know what to do with them.

I think my biggest issue though was the case he was working on. It did not qualify as a mystery and there was no suspense. It quickly became apparent what had happened and what would probably happen down the road and once you knew that, there really wasn't more story to tell. And Smith seemed to be persecuting and harassing people he thought might be victims rather then helping them.

I do not want to give any spoilers, but when I finished the book all I could think about was what if Smith had not been so slow in realizing what was happening as he interviewed a young woman. What if he had gotten there in time? Then what? What was he prepared to do to the perpetrator/victim? What was the point?

15 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • Jane Brody
  • The Theatre School, Chicago, IL
  • 01-13-17

Great writing and wonderful narration

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

Peter Grainger is a wonderful writer, Lots to think about, sensitive to mood and character, and wonderful images.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

No, I don't like to be on the edge of my seat. I like to be taken into the story and into the mind of the detective. And I like a leisurely read.

What does Gildart Jackson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Wonderful delineation of characters, lovely sense of mood and images. His knowledge of when to hurry it along and when to take his time is quite beautiful.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

I don't like tag lines.

Any additional comments?

This book seems to end too many times, Grainger doesn't seem to want to let go of the story when it is over and he hasn't developed the romantic relationships enough to earn his ending.

12 of 16 people found this review helpful

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Story is Enthrallling, Imaginative and Unusual.

But for the Grace: A DC Smith Investigation Series, Book 2, by Peter Grainger and narrated Bb Gildart Jackson. Series: D. C. Smith, Book 2. You cannot want a better crime investigation series. Each book centers on an obtuse murder, with seemingly little factual guides to finding the perpetrator. So far the offender, leaves us in a moral dilemma about whether they should be punished for their acts or praised for their ethical virtues.

Do not let that opening description that these socially important statements of integrity make you believe the factual stories told are not capable of drawing you into the “who done it” and why! They are really great stories dealing with a crime and its solution. The stories are page turners and you will find it difficult to put down the book (or shut off the reading). The first novel in the series, An Accidental Death, dealt with why illegal drugs are used, persons who commit war crimes, and our innate prejudices of aliens who move into our societies. This second book is more focused on old age and the right to end one’s life. Euthanasia. Its theoretical arguments, for and against, are both demonstrated through plot developments and here and there concepts spoken by the characters in the plot. Engaging to say the least.

Our hero is a police officer past retirement but who stays on because he loves his work and he is very good at it. His cast of surrounding characters are all interesting. he stories are told in a soft cadence but once the book starts the rhythmic beat never stops. And therein Peter Grainger does his job masterfully.

Here we have a death in an old age home that turns out to be not a death by old age but rather heroin overdose. I know, sounds mundane. It is on the contrary imaginative and unusual.

13 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • JD
  • 01-17-18

WARNING: Depression, suicide

I was pretty disappointed in this story. I've read books 1 and 3 of the DC Smith series, and had somehow missed this one. (I usually read a series in order- so I'm not sure what happened.) When I picked it up, I'd expected to read something similar to the previous two works I'd read by Mr Grainger. What I got instead was slow moving and almost entirely lacking in humor or mystery. Since those were the two elements of Grainger's previous writing that had drawn me to buy But For the Grace, I can't help but wish I had ignored this installment.

But more than that, I feel that I should leave a warning to other would-be readers. If you suffer from depression, thoughts of suicide, or have been affected by suicide and/ or depression of a loved one- please heed my warning and skip this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Bk #2 - I hope this series never ends.

Love the hero, Love his quiet humor. Love the performance--exceptional. And love the author!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Character driven mystery

Read this series for the people. They think, they grow, they relate to others, they develop ideas, they intrigue. I end up caring about the cast of characters and I want to know what they'll do next, how they'll solve the mystery.

The assisted suicide topic - did they or didn't they - is timely. As I read about what the characters think, I'm also reviewing what my thoughts and beliefs are.

Audible 20 Review Sweepstakes Entry

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Important concerns not gore

Would you consider the audio edition of But for the Grace to be better than the print version?

I don't read these books, only listen to them.

What other book might you compare But for the Grace to and why?

An Accidental Death, for one, the first in this series. Both books address important issues and concerns of our time. The author is insightful and profound in his analyses.

Which scene was your favorite?

I did enjoy the scene of DS Smith interviewing the granddaughter who was described as a self-assured female character, appreciated by the police interrogating her.

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

There were several areas in the book which addressed assisted dying that I though were well done.

Any additional comments?

Please, Audible, make sure you acquires the rest of this series.

8 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Another excellent mystery

Any additional comments?

Another contained and thoughtful mystery in the D.C. Smith series. These are mysteries on a personal scale, with none of the flash and bombast and prurience of much modern writing. Grainger does not shy away from recognizing the seedy side of human behavior, but he does not center all of the stories around this, instead finding ways to explore what is a crime, who is a criminal, and where the gray areas are. He does this via the main detective Smith and his colleagues, who are each given enough nuance to make them feel real and not like stock police characters. And with Smith at the center, Grainger takes the time to explore what it means to be aging in your profession, to deal with the loss of a spouse, to face up to loneliness, all while trying to unravel events surrounding untimely deaths. This book centers on the suspicious death of a woman in a care home for the elderly, and this setting allows for poignant looks at the end of life and at how we leave this world. Clever and interesting, like the first book in the series, this turns out not to be a stereotypical whodunnit, but a deeper exploration of human behavior (both good and bad). I look forward to the next book in the series and seeing how Smith and his colleagues evolve.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Excellent

Part of the mystery in this story involves end of life issues. I believe this difficult issue is dealt with in a sensitive and thoughtful way.

After reading this book I'm even more fond of DC Smith. He is a unique character and I like him. He has an understated, dry sense of humor and wisdom that comes with life experience.

Narrator Gildart Jackson is superb. I always knew which character was speaking, his narration never got in the way of the story, and I understood every word he said. That is just what I want a narrator to do.

I look forward to the next book is this series.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Seafr
  • 12-29-17

Good to find

Where does But for the Grace rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Near the top, nice to find another detective series that is good old fashioned detective work and not heavy on gory detail.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The main character he is a refreshing change for a detective

Have you listened to any of Gildart Jackson’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No I haven't but he was perfect for this

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

It made me smile at times as is quite whitty

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • George
  • 02-17-18

A treat .

Nice to find a police force that is devoid of bad tempered , foul mouthed , incompetent , basket cases . Enjoyed this book so very much ,can't recommend it highly enough , this promises to be an excellent series

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  • Lord Sidney Allen
  • 12-13-16

Crime or not

An interesting well presented and read book. I will be looking for the next in the series.