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Publisher's Summary

In the cold Toronto winter of 1895, the naked body of a servant girl is found frozen in a deserted laneway. The young victim was pregnant when she died. Detective William Murdoch soon discovers that many of those connected with the girl's life have secrets to hide. Was her death on attempt to cover up a scandal in one of the city's influential families?

©1997 Maureen Jennings (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A finely flavored plot, credible characters, and detailed atmosphere make this a winner." (Library Journal)
"Turn-of-the-century Toronto makes an evocative setting for murder in Except the Dying, a skillful first novel that is interesting both for its historical accuracy and its fully realized characters." (Amazon.com review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • connie
  • Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 06-22-12

Gritty not grisly; above average Victorian mystery

I am biased because I LOVED the Canadian setting -- but that could make this series of interest to other fans of the rapidly-multiplying Victorian-set mystery genre: the Toronto setting helps the listen keep some of the genre cliches at bay. The strength of the novel is its depiction of the daily grind of the poor - The author goes beyond trite description and into the chamber pots and privies. It's also the kind of police procedural that describes more scenes of tea drinking conversations than Hollywood-hopeful action.

Parts of the listen make it identifiably a first novel, but I really look forward to the rest of the series for summer listening. I am undecided about the narrator - it sounds like a site-read job, but he seems to handle some of the regional accents well and with imagination.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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If you like the show - don't buy

Between the engorged male parts and the naked breasts this was a horrible mystery. I got this book cause my husband and I love the television series. Light funny and a good mystery show and this book was none of that. I hated and it took everything in me to finish it. I will not get any more in the series. Horrible just horrible.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Detective Murdoch

I listened to this because I have watched Artful Detective, the series based on Maureen Jennings' books, during the last year. Entertaining mystery. I pictured the characters like the TV series rather than the description and got into the story, feeling like I was seeing it as it went along.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Janet
  • Midlothian, VA, USA
  • 07-30-15

Just becoming acquainted with William Murdock

I recently discovered Murdock Mysteries, a Canadian TV show based on Jennings novels and the world she has created . This is her first. I enjoyed the story. . a little convoluted.. not crazy about the narrator though. can't decide if I will read or listen to any others .

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Great mystery

Loved the plot and characters, but it doesn't measure up to the CBC television show.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Fine story, difficult to get into

I love the TV show based on this series so I thought I'd love the books. Instead I started it three different times before I managed to get into it. I think flashing back and forth between present and recent past while obscuring the characters to maintain the mystery for me didn't translate as well to audio. There were times had I been holding a book I'd have flipped back a page or two to clear up confusion.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Ok but not the best

The story is not the nice story I have enjoyed in the Murdoch Mysteries on the Canadian TV series. I'm more of a PG person. The narrator was choppy at times - not flowing smoothly.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amanda
  • n. Charleston, SC, United States
  • 04-01-13

Sometimes confusing, great reading

Any additional comments?

I listen to audiobooks in roughly 40 minute chunks during my work commute - much like many other people on this site, I suspect. Usually it's not a problem, but this book was occasionally difficult to follow. Jennings uses flashbacks and multiple points of view, which are probably crystal clear in print, but were sometimes confusing in audio. I liked the characters, especially poor Murdoch and the befuddlement of his personal life. It was a good read, a nice one, and down the line I'll pick up book 2 of the series.<br/><br/>David Marantz gives excellent narration! I loved the consistency of his choices - each character was uniquely voiced, with his or her own accent, which did more than just differentiate them from each other, but related to their history and who they were. <br/><br/>

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Eh. Forgettable.

Slow moving and not a very interesting story for a murder mystery. Some characters had potential to be likable and interesting, but their development never really got going. The narration was odd--slow and meticulous--reminded me of someone reading a story on an educational children's show on PBS.

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  • Kathleen
  • Minneapolis, MN, USA
  • 08-27-12

No. 1 in the Detective Murdoch series

Detective William Murdoch is called to a deserted laneway late at night in 1895 Toronto, where the naked corpse of a servant girl was found. The autopsy showed that she was pregnant, and that she was given a shot of morphine. This led to her freezing to death after being hit on the head causing unconsciousness. The girl was soon identified by the family who hired her. She was a modest quiet girl and everyone was shocked that she was pregnant. Who was the father of her baby? Could it be the husband or the son of the household? Was she killed because she was pregnant? And where were her clothes? Then Detective Murdoch finds her clothes hidden in the latrine of the house closest to the site where she was found, and one of the two prostitutes who had stolen her clothing also witnessed a carriage picking her up. Then, that prostitute turns up dead. Detective Murdoch is convinced that the two crimes are connected andf sets out to find out what happened. A very good mystery. This is my first by Jennings but won’t be my last.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Edward Smith
  • 02-28-17

Rather a dull "read"

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I've watched the Murdoch Mysteries on TV, and really enjoyed them, so I thought I'd enjoy this book. Unfortunately, I found it to be very slow and dull. I wouldn't recommend it to a friend.

Would you be willing to try another book from Maureen Jennings? Why or why not?

I'd be reluctant because I didn't particularly enjoy this one.

Do you think Except the Dying needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

no

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • teacherstevo
  • 08-15-17

Detective Thriller of 1899

The audio production was excellent. The narrator does an excellent job and uses a array of voices which are distinct.

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  • Samie
  • 04-24-17

Not the Murdoch we know

I love Murdoch Mysteries on the TV so thought I'd give this a try. Whilst this is not the Murdoch from the TV series it was very enjoyable and I will get the others.

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  • Sandra
  • 03-29-16

Very good

Interesting story with some great twists and turns to keep you guessing right to the end. Characterisation is good, but don't expect the loveable portrayals you see in the TV show; I'm a fan of Murdoch Mysteries and still enjoyed this book.