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Publisher's Summary

Laura Lippman won the Nero Wolfe Award for this powerful mystery.

Former journalist turned P.I. Tess Monaghan thought she knew Baltimore like the back of her hand - but what she doesn't know just might kill her in this grim yet irresistible novel.

Solve another case with Tess Monaghan.
©2000 Laura Lippman; (P)2008 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

"A rare find: a puzzle so finely calibrated that each new disclosure brings revelation and deepening mystery at the same time." (Kirkus Reviews)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    132
  • 4 Stars
    199
  • 3 Stars
    80
  • 2 Stars
    20
  • 1 Stars
    20

Performance

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    101
  • 4 Stars
    90
  • 3 Stars
    42
  • 2 Stars
    23
  • 1 Stars
    25

Story

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    114
  • 4 Stars
    109
  • 3 Stars
    36
  • 2 Stars
    10
  • 1 Stars
    5
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great Story, Don't Like the Narrator

What made the experience of listening to The Sugar House the most enjoyable?

I love this series. I think Laura Lippman is brilliant. I enjoy the character development and the wonderful world building.

What did you like best about this story?

Character development.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

The narrator is very talented, but does not suit this story, in my opinion. She sounds like a contralto woman who has smoked for a long time. She does a great job with the "world weary" characters in the story, but everyone else sounds goofy.

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

I love the writing,

Any additional comments?

This is a great series.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

What was Barbara trying to do?

Barbara Rosenblat has narrated a number of the books in my library, but seems something was really going wrong during this reading - like someone was goosing her or giving electroshocks. Or some kind of chemical? The tone was totally wrong for the story. I'm still listening, so hopes she settles down soon. The plot and story seem interesting. That's what I want in a detective story, so will try to ignore the reader.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Book Great - Narration difficult to listen to

I love Tess Monaghan and jumped in right after I finished "In Big Trouble." When I started the book, I honestly could not tell if the narrator was male or female. I came back Audible and was shocked to see the narrator was Barbara Rosenblatt whom I have heard in numerous audio books and always enjoyed. Her voice is unusually gruff and abrasive. Also, her characterization of the major players seems a bit on the sarcastic side, plus, some of the voices sound like they're from the deep south rather than Baltimore. I am planning on going through the series in order, and almost dread listening to the ones by Rosenblatt. I may read them instead. I would say to listen to a sample. This makes me sad. She's always been one of my bankable narrators who is a pleasure to listen to.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Change in Narrator a Problem

I've really enjoyed the Tess Monaghan series so far and thought that Deborah Hazlett did a great job of bringing the characters to life with her narration. With this book however, the author changed publishers and narrators. I like Barbara Rosenblat's narration on the right books. She is not a narrator I necessarily avoid. But she has a somewhat unique voice that doesn't lend itself to a wide variety of characters. Her voice is deep enough that it is difficult for her to sound as young as the main characters are in this series, and when ever she tries to use the Baltimore dialect that Lippman refers to so often, it sounds like she is drunk. I realize these books were narrated over a decade ago, but Rosenblat's voice probably never sounded young enough for this series.

The plot on this Monaghan entry was strong, if a little complicated and I enjoyed the book even though I didn't like the narration.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Now this is a good reader

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

Absolutely. Really good. it's 2:30am. I couldn't stop listening. Done in one sitting, standing, walking, bathing. Just couldn't stop.

What did you like best about this story?

Barbara is an excellent reader. She becomes the characters in the story and can be true to the characters to the end. Brava!!!

Which character – as performed by Barbara Rosenblat – was your favorite?

Tess. The reader made her so much stronger than the first four. So good.

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

Persistence makes it happen.

Any additional comments?

It's a shame that this reader wasn't chosen for the books that came before this one. She performs the book. The other reader just read the books. This is soooo much better.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Listen to the sample before buying

Would you try another book from Laura Lippman and/or Barbara Rosenblat?

I have been listening to this series through my local library, which only had a few of the books. I purchased this one from audible not realizing it was a different narrator than the previous. This woman's voice is so annoying, I'm having a difficult time listening to the book. She is over dramatic and sounds as though she smokes, and has smoked, three packs of cigarettes a day. Others may not be bothered by her voice - so take a listen first. I wouldn't have wasted a credit if I had.

Has The Sugar House turned you off from other books in this genre?

The Narrator has

What didn’t you like about Barbara Rosenblat’s performance?

Her voice is annoying and inappropriately dramatic

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

One of Lippman's best

I adore this series and this might be my favorite. It is a perfectly woven mystery with layer upon layer. It unravels at a nice pace and kept me interested the entire time. Good ending too. Great character development all around.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Karen
  • Hyattsville, MD, USA
  • 07-23-09

Sugar House is a winner!

I take chances listening to new authors only when read my favorite narrator. This story grabbed your ear phones and would not let you take them off until the last words were uttered. Lippman is now on my list of authors I listen to. I like stories about areas I am familiar with and Baltimore was a great place for this story to take place in. After hearing the book I actually road through several of the areas mentioned in the book. Maryland is truly a beautiful state and I enjoyed hearing about it in this fantastic book.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Moire
  • Linden, VA, United States
  • 02-23-09

Tess Monahan's making trouble again

Good story & Barbara Rosenblatt does a great job of telling Tess's tale (although sometimes the Balmer accent gets a little too thick to be understood). It's got a good plot, but a details of Maryland towns it's late 20th century political scandals bog down the story rather than enhance it.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

I don't even know if I like the book because

What would have made The Sugar House better?

A different narrator

Would you recommend The Sugar House to your friends? Why or why not?

NO...not via audible. I will be reading the book myself to see if I enjoy it or not.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Barbara Rosenblat?

I like all the prior books narrated by Deborah Hazlett. I will skip the next book in the series as it is narrated by Rosenblat and then will give the new narrator a shot.

Any additional comments?

I had a difficult time focusing on the book or getting into it as I really disliked the smokey, old sound of the narrator...hard to believe her as a 30 year old....sounds like a chain smoking grandmother.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful