Armchair Audies 2016 MYSTERY CATEGORY

Armchair Audies 2016. The Armchair Audies are the brainchild of Jennifer Connor from The Literate Housewife. Each year bloggers judge a category of their choice and pick their winning narrator. Needless to say, it is all for fun only'
Jennifer Connor was elected Audiobook Blogger of The Year 2015/2016

  • Written by: Rhys Bowen
  • Narrated by: Katherine Kellgren
  • Length: 9 hrs and 20 mins 

  • 3 Stars
    Publishers Summary extract

    From the New York Times best-selling author of Queen of Hearts comes another mystery for "fans of P. G. Wodehouse looking for laughs mingled with some amateur sleuthing." (Publishers Weekly). 

  • Lady Georgiana Rannoch won't deny that being 35th in line for the British throne has its advantages. Unfortunately money isn't one of them. And sometimes, making ends meet requires her to investigate a little royal wrongdoing.
  • Over the years I've read and enjoyed several of the books in this series, yet despite following the usual format, this one missed the mark. I think I am quite simply tired of the same old thing; the situations arising from being high born but poor; the somewhat silly antics of the awful Queenie, and the now boring relationship with Darcy. 
    There are some echoes of books past, the little mystery is quite neat really, and who doesn't enjoy a bit of Royal gossip? Especially when written with the benefit of hindsight. I enjoyed the character of the Princess Marina, it may sound a bit sappy but I like to think she enjoyed some really good times before family tragedy shadowed her young life. 
    The only character who seems to be moving, on or maybe even maturing, is the usually ever exuberant loose lady, Belinda. In this book she had a far more interesting role than previous stories. 
    As we all know by now, wherever Queenie goes trouble and embarrassment is sure to befall her hapless employer. However, this time the author came up with a natty idea to minimise the "Queenie Effect" - she simply devised a means to keep her out of the way for most of the time!
    Overall, I felt this book was written in a hurry, dashed off to a pared down formula simply to put another book on the shelves. Disappointing.
    Narrated by Katherine Kellgren who does a reasonably good job of an aristocratic English accent, however, I was disappointed to hear her speak the dates in an American style, especially considering the story is set in Great Britain in the 1930s. Even these days one would be hard put to find an English Lady pronouncing the date as, for example, "November six," she would say "the sixth of November" a seemingly small detail, but important for authenticity. Sorry to say, but I do think the regional accents need a bit more work too. Katherine does keep the story going though, she brings a lot of vitality to the characters and her comedic timing is just spot on. The overall quality of this recording is very good.

  • Narrated by: Ari Fliakos, Juliana Francis Kelly
  • Length: 5 hrs and 31 mins 
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Source:  own copy
  • 3 Stars

  • This is a Spy novel, not a book that I would  normally have chosen but I found it interesting enough to get through the 5 1/2 hours. Heres the Publishers summary:
  • Nine years ago terrorists hijacked a plane in Vienna. Somehow a rescue attempt staged from the inside went terribly wrong, and everyone onboard was killed.
    Two of those agents, Henry Pelham and Celia Harrison, were lovers at the time, and in fact that was the last night they spent together. Until now. That night Celia decided she'd had enough; she left the agency, married, and had children, and is living an ordinary life in the suburbs. Henry is still an analyst, and has traveled to California to see her one more time, to relive the past, maybe, or to put it behind him once and for all.

    But neither of them can forget that long-ago question: Had their agent been compromised, and how? And each of them wonders what role tonight's dinner companion might have played in the way things unfolded.

      It's all about the dinner conversation and I must say it is a clever little story and I quite enjoyed it.
    I'm not sure though why it was nominated for an Audie.
    The story is told from each others' point of view therefore each narrator does have to perform both voices which is a bit of a novelty. Unfortunately at about three hours in the sound quality deteriorated for a few minutes, this always spoils a listening experience.

  • Author: Adrian McKinty
  • Narrated by Gerard Doyle 
  • Book 4 of The Troubles series
  • 9 hours 52 minutes
  • Source: Public Library
  • 5 Stars

  • This is the fourth book in this great series, set in Belfast, 1985 during the notorious "Troubles".
  • Sean Duffy is a detective in the R.U.C. (Royal Ulster Constabulary). Duffy is a Catholic, his colleagues are Protestant.
  • I think it is necessary to read all of the preceding books to be able to fully enjoy and understand the characters, though understanding Duffy might be a bit of a challenge, I must say, he is too clever for me, some of that philosophy goes straight over my head.
  • Duffy has been through hard times, he likes to get drunk or self medicate on the illegal stuff, he seems to enjoy a bit of oblivion now and then and somehow persuades you that he has earned it. Duffy is changing, 

  • A terrible double murder and a suicide has occurred, Duffy had given the case to his men, he intended to stand back and let them get on with it, just be there ready with advice and guidance. Needless to say, it didn't turn out quite like that! 
  • MI5 make a return with a compelling storyline which may shock Duffy fans.
  • These books are riveting, they have a little bit of humour albeit on the dark side sometimes, a bit of romance and oodles of drama. Adrian McKinty is a master story teller whose words create unforgettable books, this one is no exception, maybe even better than the first three. The ending is mightily powerful

  • What creates the magic is the awesome narration of Gerard Doyle who is so talented. How many narrators are capable of switching between Irish and Scottish accents without missing a beat? Very few, but it isn't all about accents though, this story telling business, it's also about somehow conveying the emotion, the feelings engendered by words and actions.
  • Many of those words and actions in McKintys' "Troubles" series are factual and political, Doyle infuses every awful, chilling word with such ominous significance that the listener will shudder at what was and what might have been. Unforgettable, his best yet, and excellent recording quality.

  • Author: Lisa Scottoline
  • Narrator: Kate Burton
  • 11 Hours 22Minutes
  • Rosato and DiNunzio series Book 3
  • Source: own copy
  • Did not finish

  • Summary 
  • Bennie Rosato could not help a boy who ultimately served time in a juvenile detention centre, now, years later, he needs help

  • Well, this wasted one of my credits! I tried hard, and, because I really wanted to get in to the story I listened for three hours.
  • No, could not muster any enthusiasm for this one and did not finish.
  • Kate Burton did a good enough job, but the producers let her down, sibilance and slight echo are both evident, so even her pleasant voice was spoiled. 
  • How does poorly produced product get nominated?

  • Author: Robert Galbraith
  • Narrator: Robert Glenister
  • Series: Cormoran Strike Book 3
  • Length: 17 hours 54 minutes
  • Source: own copy
  • 2 Stars

  • The severed leg is delivered, the horror begins .....
  • I really liked the first in series, The Cuckoos Calling, even though it was a bit dark for my taste. The second book: The Silkworm, I found disappointing, now this, the third in the series I found to be simply distasteful and silly.

  • There is a lot of grim, dark and deviant goings on, too much. it is as if some of it were plonked in merely for shock value.
  • I, who was so fond of Strike, especially with his Cornish background and interesting family, now find him slightly farcical.
  • It is an unnecessarily long book, nearly eighteen hours, judicious editing of waffle would probably cut that back to eight.
  •   No, there won't be anymore Cormoran Strike books for me.

  • Robert Glenister does a great job with Strikes' accent, which is that of a man raised in Cornwall but who has lived his adult years in England. He also does an excellent deep, dark, evil and creepy voice, there were a couple of medical mispronunciations, butI had no issues with his accents or voices at all, but maybe he didn't much like the story either because some of it just sounded a bit off-hand, as if he were a little bit bored with it all. Well, it did go on a bit! Good quality production.

  • Author: Louise Penny
  • Narrator: Robert Bathurst
  • Series: Inspector Gamach
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio
  • Source: Own copy
  • 3 Stars

  • Summary
  • Nine year old Laurent Lepage is known for his tall stories, so tall that no one ever believes him. One day Laurent disappears ..... was one of his stories true?

  • Gamache, no longer heads the inquiry of the missing child, well not officially, but his old team hold him in high regard and respect his opinions.
  • This would be a confusing listen for those who have not followed the series as there is a lot of back story, had I not read some of the previous books I would have found this one too confusing, too complicated.
  • There are one or two surprises in the plot, plus a couple of wonderful secret service officers who add not only a little humour but a seriously creepy undercurrent.
  • The Gamache series has been likened to the Agatha Christie stories, I think it's in the writing style because I am always a little surprised when an I-phone or other such modern day gadgetry is mentioned, it jolts me back to he present.
  • Always a good read, but I did not find The Nature of the Beast to be as gripping or absorbing as previous stories in the series.

  • Narrated by Robert Bathurst the actor of Downton Abbey fame, not easy for Bathurst as many of us were used to listening to the late Ralph Cosham narrating this series.
  • However, it is a nice enough narration but, for me, his style remains a little too actorish, a little too stiff which detracted from my enjoyment. 

  • The Winner

  • My Winner of the 2016 Armchair Audies is:
  • "Gun Street Girl" by Adrian McKinty read by Gerard Doyle,
  • an outstanding, masterful and unforgettable narration.

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