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Kirstine

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DIdn't enjoy as much as Book 1 in the series

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 28-07-20

The author was new to me when I listened to Book 1 and I enjoyed the straight forward approach to the genre. Get on with the story and don't pad out with lots of back-stories, sartorial details and psychological navel-gazing. Book 2 largely avoids these annoying diversions but has strayed into including some of the other clichés of detective fiction writing such as having a gormless police constable, colleagues being sarcastic or arguing with one another to an excessive degree and superior police officers giving underlings bollockings. In this book the author had the superintendent giving the bollocking to his chief inspector in dialogue so ridiculously full of the F-word that many short sentences contained it three or more times. The whole book is peppered with the F-word to an excessive degree. Swearing has it's place but loses its force when used to such excess and smacks of laziness in the writing. The journey to the detection of the crime is engaging but the final revelations are pulled out of a hat and not convincing.
The narrator is very good

1 person found this helpful

Intriguing story

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 26-07-20

I have just listened to book 8 in the series, in which Carl's wily assistant Assad's back story is reveled, and was interested to go back to this Book 3 that I'd missed when following the series. I can see that there were odd hints to Assad's past that I'd missed. What struck me most was the contrast between the earlier and later book. The former cruder with more swearing, rudeness and conflict among the characters that detracts from the basically gripping story. Book 3 is very long and I felt it would have benefited from pruning some of the over-long descriptions of what a character was feeling or milking tense situations so much to prolong the tension that they became tedious. Overall it's a good listen made better by the ever excellent Steven Pacey.

Grirpping crime detection

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 21-07-20

Detective novels are a crowded genre and I wondered if I'd bother to try this new author for me. I'm glad I did. In a way this is an old-style detective story. The detection of the crime taking centre stage and the story progressing at at good pace that kept me listening. What I particularly liked was that the author didn't pad out the text with a lot of the characters' life-style choices or their angst-ridden back-stories. I'm tired of lists of a detective's musical tastes, the number of drinks and cigarettes (s)he consumes and detailed descriptions of what everyone is wearing. The recording is greatly enhanced by the excellent narration delivered in authentic Scottish accents.

Characters becoming too cartoon-like

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 19-07-20

I enjoyed the first two books in the series but gave up on the third as not only was the story confusingly weird but the detective Sydney Grise and is maid Molly had evolved into caricatures where in previous novels they had humorous foibles. As others had also been disappointed by the third book I decided to try the next in the series with the hope that the the 3rd was an aberration. Unfortunately in this fourth book the author continues to over-do the extreme arrogance and rudeness of Grise and Molly's malapropisms to a tiresome degree. The story is better than that of book 3 but I don't think I'll continue with the series.
The narrator is good but does add to the unpleasantness of Grise by her forceful delivery of his dialogue.

Gripping but upsetting at times

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 16-07-20

I've listened to a number of these Department Q novels and got to know inspector Carl Morck and his trusty assistants Rose and Assad. Assad has up to now been an enigma with little of his back story revealed other than that he is a refugee from Syria. There have been hints that he was not the simple man he purported to be. The present book diverges from earlier ones in that the story is dominated by unveiling Assad's past. It mixes the present plight of refugees with events in Assad's life 15 years earlier. I found some of the scenes harrowing and fast-forwarded past some of the more explicit torture scenes. There are two main threads in the book one trying to stop a potential lone perpetrator of a crime in Copenhagen and the other connected with Assad's past. Both stories are gripping and fired up my sense of outrage at the savagery and lack of human feeling that drives terrorists to do evil deeds.
Steven Pacey does his usual excellent narration.

Disappointed

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-07-20

I enjoyed the first two books in the series mixing humour with clever detective work by the irascible 'Personal' detective Sydney Grise aided by his witty ward March MIddleton and her admirer Detective Pound. Extra fun injected by Grise's maid Molly's malapropisms. This book 3 is very different. I was confused by the first 20 chapters of weird things happening to March. Then there was some relief as the explanation unfolded. However, where before the balance between detection and the humour deriving from Grise's rudeness, vanity and lack of empathy and Molly's muddling of the language never went over the top: not so in book 3. These traits are greatly over-done and Molly's contributions became tiresome. I ploughed on hoping for explanations for the second crime. To do so the format changed completely to a stilted recounting of Grise's record of his interviews. On and on the written record of what was said prefaced by 'I' and 'he' so repetitive that I couldn't stand it any longer and gave up. It's such a pity that the author didn't stick to his successful formula and diverged into farce. The narrator is actually very good and creates many different accents but even she started to over-do Grise's peremptory style.

Gave up as I couldn't stand the intrusive music

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-07-20

I would have like to listen to Michael Caine telling me stories but I had to give up as I could barely make out what was said as the background music is so intrusive. I cannot understand why so many podcasts and TV programmes have to have music blaring away even when people are speaking. Often as not the music doesn't seem appropriate for the subject.

Riveting

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-07-20

I rate this as Val McDermid's finest novel. I was gripped from start to finish and consumed it in two days. I felt I was witnessing the events as they happened. It's a great story made even better by the excellent narrator who gives characters different voices that makes them seem like real people.

1 person found this helpful

Another enjoyable outing with Grise and Middleton

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-07-20

I enjoyed the first in the series and quickly downloaded this second book and was not disappointed. It's like a comical pastiche of Sherlock Holmes with Grise a caricature of arrogance and rudeness but with the same uncanny detective skills. March Middleton is a welcome antidote with her feisty retorts to his cruel comments. It's a complicated story with a lot of characters and I needed to concentrate listening to the final chapters as the explanations are reeled out and the culprit exposed. The narrator is exceptionally good.

Highly entertaining

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-07-20

I really enjoyed this cleverly plotted and humorous detective novel featuring Sydney Grice who describes himself as a 'personal' detective and whose methods bear a striking resemblance to Sherlock Holmes. Grice is even more irascible and eccentric than Holmes. A lot of the humour is supplied by March Middleton,detective Sidney Grice's witty and feisty ward. It's a rollicking good listen and I certainly intend to download the rest of the series.
The narrator does a fine job.