Archives

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

by
Magpie Murders by  Anthony Horowitz Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
Narrator: Samantha Bond, Allan Corduner
Published by Harper Audio on June 6, 2017
Source: Purchased
Genres: Mystery
Length: 15 hrs 47 mins
Format: Audiobook
Buy on Amazon or Audible
Add on Goodreads

When editor Susan Ryeland is given the manuscript of Alan Conway’s latest novel, she has no reason to think it will be much different from any of his others. After working with the bestselling crime writer for years, she’s intimately familiar with his detective, Atticus Pünd, who solves mysteries disturbing sleepy English villages. An homage to queens of classic British crime such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, Alan’s traditional formula has proved hugely successful. So successful that Susan must continue to put up with his troubling behavior if she wants to keep her job.

Conway’s latest tale has Atticus Pünd investigating a murder at Pye Hall, a local manor house. Yes, there are dead bodies and a host of intriguing suspects, but the more Susan reads, the more she’s convinced that there is another story hidden in the pages of the manuscript: one of real-life jealousy, greed, ruthless ambition, and murder.

I should have loved Magpie Murders. It’s definitely a book for mystery readers. Not only does it have two well-plotted mysteries, it has some great quotes about the nature of mysteries and reading.

“You must know that feeling when it’s raining outside and the heating’s on and you lose yourself, utterly, in a book. You read and you read and you feel the pages slipping through your fingers until suddenly there are fewer in your right hand than there are in your left and you want to slow down but you still hurtle on towards a conclusion you can hardly bear to discover.”

“As far as I’m concerned, you can’t beat a good whodunnit: the twists & turns, the clues and the red herrings and then, finally, the satisfaction of having everything explained to you in a way that makes you kick yourself because you hadn’t seen it from the start.”

The set up is great, a novel within a novel, both murder mysteries. In the “real world,” editor Susan Ryeland is reading the manuscript for Magpie Murders, but the last chapter is missing, and as all mystery reader know, that’s when the grand denouement happens, so to not have that is incredibly frustrating. The problem is, the author, Alan Conway, is dead, an apparent suicide. Obviously, he was actually murdered and Susan becomes our amateur detective, of course almost gets killed in the process of solving the crime.

I listened to the audio and I do think having two narrators worked well, one for the manuscript and one for Susan’s portion of the story. Each did a good job and fit their part well.The problem for me is that I cared more about the “fictional” mystery than about Susan’s life and investigations. I liked the traditional English town mystery, with the investigator who is always just a step ahead, who puts all the clues and coincidences together. I was drawn into the town gossip, the secrets, the characters. Then we came to Susan’s life in London and, honestly, I was a little annoyed. Her story just wasn’t as engrossing for me. It was interesting how the “real” world mirrored Saxby-on-Avon from the manuscript, but I wish the two mysteries had been equally compelling and they just weren’t.

Edited: I wanted to add that there was an odd sound way in the background of the recording. Every time I was listening to the book until I realized what was going on, I though I heard the dog, the sound of his tags rattling. I finally realized it was the book. I can’t really put my finger on what it was, the recording equipment or something, but it wasn’t my player because it doesn’t happen with other books.

About Anthony Horowitz

Anthony Horowitz is one of the most prolific and successful writers working in the UK – and is unique for working across so many media, juggling writing books, TV series, films, plays and journalism.

Anthony has written over 40 books including the bestselling teen spy series Alex Rider, which he adapted into a movie that was released worldwide in 2006. Anthony is also an acclaimed writer for adults and was commissioned by the Conan Doyle Estate and Orion Books to write two new Sherlock Holmes novels. The House of Silk was published in November 2011 and was internationally lauded as the top title of the autumn. The sequel, Moriarty, was published in October 2014 with similar success. Most recently he was commissioned by the Ian Fleming Estate to write the James Bond novel Trigger Mortis, which was published on 8th September 2015.

Anthony is responsible for creating and writing some of the UK’s most beloved and successful television series, producing the first seven episodes (and the title) of Midsomer Murders. He is the writer and creator of award-winning drama series Foyle’s War. Anthony has also written other original complex dramas for ITV, particularly thrillers.

Anthony is on the board of the Old Vic Theatre. He regularly contributes to a wide variety of national newspapers and magazines on subjects ranging from politics to education. He has been a patron to East Anglia Children’s Hospices and the anti-bullying charity, Kidscape, since 2008.

Anthony was awarded an OBE for his services to literature in January 2014.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Mailbox Monday – 7/31

by

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Tell us about your new arrivals by adding your Mailbox Monday post to the linky at mailboxmonday.wordpress.com.

EBooks

I may have gone a little NetGalley crazy this week – but they all look so good!

Mailbox Monday – 7/31Weycombe by G. M. Malliet
Narrator: Allan Corduner, Samantha Bond
Published by Midnight Ink on October 8, 2017
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Buy on Amazon
Add on Goodreads

Weycombe is the chocolate-box village of everyone’s dreams. For American Jillian White, a gated life of pleasure and comfort with her titled English husband was a fantasy come true.

But the murder of a local estate agent mars the village’s so-pretty surface. Are people actually dying to live in Weycombe? Jill investigates, piecing together clues along the snaking paths and winding lanes of her adopted village. She knows truth has many versions, depending on who is doing the telling. And that few can be trusted in Weycombe, where nothing is as perfect as it seems.

Mailbox Monday – 7/31Impossible Views of the World by Lucy Ives
Published by Penguin Press on August 1, 2017
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Buy on Amazon
Add on Goodreads

Stella Krakus, a curator at Manhattan's renowned Central Museum of Art, is having the roughest week in approximately ever. Her soon-to-be ex-husband (the perfectly awful Whit Ghiscolmbe) is stalking her, a workplace romance with "a fascinating, hyper-rational narcissist" is in freefall, and a beloved colleague, Paul, has gone missing. Strange things are afoot: CeMArt's current exhibit is sponsored by a Belgian multinational that wants to take over the world's water supply, she unwittingly stars in a viral video that's making the rounds, and her mother--the imperious, impossibly glamorous Caro--wants to have lunch. It's almost more than she can overanalyze.

But the appearance of a mysterious map, depicting a 19th-century utopian settlement, sends Stella--a dogged expert in American graphics and fluidomanie (don't ask)--on an all-consuming research mission. As she teases out the links between a haunting poem, several unusual novels, a counterfeiting scheme, and one of the museum's colorful early benefactors, she discovers the unbearable secret that Paul's been keeping, and charts a course out of the chaos of her own life.

Mailbox Monday – 7/31Much Ado About Murder by Elizabeth J. Duncan
Series: Shakespeare in the Catskills Mystery #3
Published by Crooked Lane Books on November 7, 2017
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Format: eARC
Buy on Amazon
Add on Goodreads

Costume designer Charlotte Fairfax has another murder on her hands as she prepares for the latest performance of the Catskills Shakespeare Theater Company, Much Ado About Nothing. The company's steady growth enables them to cast star British actress Audrey Ashley, who arrives on scene to play the lead role of Beatrice. But things immediately get more complicated when Audrey insists the company replace the current director with new, up and coming British director Edmund Albright.

Edmund plans to change the popular romantic comedy, which alienates several people associated with the production. And the list of people he upsets only grows: the laid off former director, the hotel owner's secretary, and even Audrey herself. Just as Edmund's plans are about to come to fruition, his body is discovered on his sofa, holding a gun in his hand. His death is quickly ruled a suicide but Charlotte thinks otherwise. Why would Edmund, on the brink of greatness, kill himself? And in such an American way?

Mailbox Monday – 7/31A Guide for Murdered Children by Sarah Sparrow
Published by Blue Rider Press on March 20, 2018
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Add on Goodreads

We all say there is no justice in this world. But what if there really was? What if the souls of murdered children were able to return briefly to this world, inhabit adult bodies and wreak ultimate revenge on the monsters who had killed them, stolen their lives?

Such is the unfathomable mystery confronting ex-NYPD detective Willow Wylde, fresh out of rehab and finally able to find a job running a Cold Case squad in suburban Detroit. When the two rookie cops assigned to him take an obsessive interest in a decades old disappearance of a brother and sister, Willow begins to suspect something out of the ordinary is afoot. And when he uncovers a series of church basement AA-type meetings made up of the slain innocents, a new way of looking at life, death, murder and missed opportunities is revealed to him.

And I got one Kindle Freebie. I love Christmas novellas. I think it’s 99¢ now.

Mailbox Monday – 7/31I'm Scheming of a White Christmas by Kate O'Keeffe
Published by Wild Lime Books on January 30, 2017
Source: Purchased
Genres: Christmas Romance
Pages: 65
Format: eBook
Buy on Amazon
Add on Goodreads

Tilly Grayson is finally back in the city she loves, New York. She's exactly where she wants to be and is loving every moment as a personal shopper at the prestigious Marlowe Department Store. That is until Brady McKinnon walks in one cold December day. Brady may have been Tilly's high school crush, but he publicly humiliated her back in the day. Something she's never been able to forget. So, when the perfect opportunity presents itself - a Christmas party at a chic New York apartment - it could be time to get her revenge... But has Brady changed? And will Tilly realize it before it’s too late?

Audiobook

I picked up Magpie Murders with an Audible credit.

Mailbox Monday – 7/31Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
Narrator: Samantha Bond, Allan Corduner
Published by Harper Audio on June 6, 2017
Source: Purchased
Genres: Mystery
Length: 15 hrs 47 mins
Format: Audiobook
Buy on Amazon
Add on Goodreads

When editor Susan Ryeland is given the manuscript of Alan Conway’s latest novel, she has no reason to think it will be much different from any of his others. After working with the bestselling crime writer for years, she’s intimately familiar with his detective, Atticus Pünd, who solves mysteries disturbing sleepy English villages. An homage to queens of classic British crime such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, Alan’s traditional formula has proved hugely successful. So successful that Susan must continue to put up with his troubling behavior if she wants to keep her job.

Conway’s latest tale has Atticus Pünd investigating a murder at Pye Hall, a local manor house. Yes, there are dead bodies and a host of intriguing suspects, but the more Susan reads, the more she’s convinced that there is another story hidden in the pages of the manuscript: one of real-life jealousy, greed, ruthless ambition, and murder.

Phoenix Rising by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris

by
Phoenix Rising by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris Phoenix Rising by Pip Ballantine, Tee Morris
Narrator: James Langton
Series: Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences #1
Published by Harper Audio on August 9, 2011
Source: Library
Genres: Steampunk
Length: 13 hrs 46 mins
Format: Audiobook
Buy on Amazon or Audible
Add on Goodreads

Evil is most assuredly afoot—and Britain’s fate rests in the hands of an alluring renegade . . . and a librarian.

These are dark days indeed in Victoria’s England. Londoners are vanishing, then reappearing, washing up as corpses on the banks of the Thames, drained of blood and bone. Yet the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences—the Crown’s clandestine organization whose bailiwick is the strange and unsettling—will not allow its agents to investigate. Fearless and exceedingly lovely Eliza D. Braun, however, with her bulletproof corset and a disturbing fondness for dynamite, refuses to let the matter rest . . . and she’s prepared to drag her timorous new partner, Wellington Books, along with her into the perilous fray.

For a malevolent brotherhood is operating in the deepening London shadows, intent upon the enslavement of all Britons. And Books and Braun—he with his encyclopedic brain and she with her remarkable devices—must get to the twisted roots of a most nefarious plot . . . or see England fall to the Phoenix!

Phoenix Rising was fun, but not quite good enough to hold my attention the whole time – like I found myself at the gym watching the captions on HGTV instead of listening to the story.

I think it’s a problem with the attitude of the book. It’s steampunk. Books is an archivist; Braun is kind of a female James Bond. They embark on solving a mystery that drove one of their colleagues literally insane. There are huge mechamen and an enemy intent on destroying England maybe – not sure. There’s an orgy and an escape from the dungeon. It’s absurd and would be amusing, if it felt like the story knew how silly it was, instead it seems to take itself seriously. Now, I listened to the audio, so I don’t know if that’s just the way the narration seemed and I would have found the whole think more tongue in cheek had I been reading it in print. I like over the top stories, as long as they realize they’re over the top. Does that make sense.

Don’t get me wrong, it is fun, a bit of brain candy. A bit of steampunk, a bit of adventure. The banter is fun and all the characters are well-done. A couple of these scenes, like a fight at the opera, were laugh out loud funny, but a couple, like the orgy, seemed slightly out of place.

Will I read the next one? Maybe, if it’s available from the library on audio and I have nothing else in line.

About Pip Ballantine

Born and raised in Wellington, New Zealand, Philippa is a writer and podcaster of fantasy fiction. Immersed in books from an early age, she moved onto to become a librarian. She’d been dreaming of being a writer since a teenager, but in the last ten years she’s devoted herself to it. Philippa currently resides in Manassas, Virginia with her husband and co-writer Tee Morris, their daughter and a clowder of cats who keep them all in line.

About Tee Morris

Tee Morris began his writing career with his 2002 historical epic fantasy, MOREVI The Chronicles of Rafe & Askana. In 2005 Tee took MOREVI into the then-unknown podosphere, making his novel the first book podcast in its entirety. That experience led to the founding of Podiobooks.com and collaborating with Evo Terra and Chuck Tomasi on Podcasting for Dummies and its follow-up, Expert Podcasting Practices for Dummies.

In 2011, Tee returned to his first love—fiction—with the steampunk Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences novels, co-authored with Philippa Ballantine.

When he is not writing, Tee enjoys life in Virginia alongside Philippa Ballantine, his daughter, and their cats.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

%d bloggers like this: