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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 15-05-18

Enjoyable listen

Jeff Harding's performance is excellent, as always. In fact, I chose this book from looking at things he had narrated.

The writing is good too - I mean the actual prose.

I did find the story interesting, though as a lawyer myself I really wonder if the procedures around the trial itself were really in accordance with Texas law. It all seemed remarkably ad hoc, with new witnesses popping from nowhere with previously unheard testimony. The stuff about the judge's political reasons for her conduct of the trial would worry me a lot if I were in Texas!

I also detected echoes of other crime novels, which I suppose is almost inevitable.

I did enjoy listening to it though and was keen to get to the end and see what the outcome was. Although I didn't have much sympathy for the alleged killer as a person - can there really be women in the US married for years to successful lawyers but who are so infantilised they don't even have their own bank accounts?

Although this is the second in a series, I didn't feel it was necessary to have heard the first one. I'm going to buy another one from this stable.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-05-18

Just one complaint!

I loved all these stories, and their introductions, and overall Zara Ramm's performance is excellent. Characters are well differentiated and believable, accents are good (Markham's accent is great).

Just one thing, though. I really wish someone would run her through the foreign words before the final version, or correct them before issue!

I don't remember them all, but they make me wince. Diane de Poitiers is not pronounced de Poy-tears. Siwa oasis is See-wa, not Sai-wa. The Hittites are Hit-ights, not HeeTeets. Akhenaten, mangled beyond recognition. Please take this little extra trouble!

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-03-18

Not my favourite Heyer

Normally I adore Georgette Heyer and I think Phyllida Nash reads her very well. But I found this one just a little too arch.

I lost count of the number of times someone said something "with a chuckle in his/her voice" or similar. And frankly I found the mother irritating rather than adorable.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-03-18

Fascinating

Unfortunately - or fortunately - I kept falling asleep during this, but the bits I heard were so interesting I've bought the book. Seriously, the author is a real expert, and if you care about your health you will take note.

There's no doubt that the causes of our modern problems of obesity, diabetes, allergies, dementia, etc are far more complicated than we used to think. The human body with its interaction between the brain, hormones, microbiome, mood, consciousness, etc, has to be treated with respect or it will not function optimally. Surely that should be common sense!


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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-03-18

Excellent as always

A good Georgette Heyer, nicely read. For those who like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing they like. I had to add the last sentence to make up the words. Only you know if you like this sort of thing.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-03-18

Well written, plotted and narrated

An enjoyable thriller/detective story. I didn't spot any holes in the intricate plot though I was on the lookout for them. Every time I thought I had found one, it was explained. A lot of the characterisation was believable. The writing is literate, by which I mean competent rather than literary.

As usual Jeff Harding does an excellent job of the narration. Jeff, we audiobook regulars really do notice and appreciate the craftsmanship you put in.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-02-18

Good but not outstanding

I had to start listening to this more than once as I wasn't really compelled by it. Something about it seemed just a little bit pedestrian - as if the author was trying to make history relevant to a class of uninterested teenagers. Lots of questions were simply skipped over - the question of language and pronunciation for instance. I simply don't believe that somebody from the fourteenth century could make himself understood in the nineteenth.

The narration seemed just a little bit leaden too. As far as I'm concerned, the audiobook was OK but never really took off.

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0 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-02-18

A book in two parts

Evidently Paul Torday died before he could finish this book. He died far too young and left some excellent novels written with an analytical view of human nature, and perhaps a special subject in self-deception. His son Piers completed this book. As a result the book is in two different parts, both of which are disturbing in their own way.

The first half centres around the manipulation of facts for political advantage and is all too recognisable in 2018. The second half ties up the loose ends with a supernatural flourish. I found the two halves did not compete or clash, and while the ending might be a little too easy, I applaud the effort and found the whole book very listenable.

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3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-11-17

Not for me

I really enjoyed this as a printed book, but I disliked the voice of the narrator of this audio more and more as I continued. I just didn't think it matched the material at all. Others may disagree, I suppose. I will return this.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 31-10-17

Spoilers in review

This could have been a much better book. What spoilt it for me was the lack of scientific plausibility or accuracy. I couldn't believe that someone who had studied biochemistry 30 years before could set up a lab of the quality suggested, with pressure differentials and airlocks, in a standard US style trailer. I wouldn't be convinced that spraying someone with disinfectant from a garden sprayer would kill the smallpox virus. I'm no expert but I don't believe that there is such a thing as an antidote to a virus. It's the wrong concept, surely? And I was deeply irritated that having said that smallpox has a 30 percent death rate they then accepted that "thousands" could die if the virus were released. Billions, surely. And there was absolutely no sensible thought given to what this meant. Finally, the end of the book was utterly perfunctory.

I like Joe Barratt's voice normally but I thought it made the subject matter sound a bit too cosy.

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