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Summary

On a cold February night in Regency London, a dark curtain falls on the Sans Pareil Theatre following the death of April Clare, a promising young actress, whose body is found in mysterious circumstances.

Detective Stephen Lavender and his dependable deputy, Constable Woods, quickly discover that nothing is quite as it seems. As successive mysteries unfold, they soon realise that it is not only the actors from the Sans Pareil who are playing a part.

With the Napoleonic War looming dangerously across the Channel, this is a time of suspicion and treachery. Following the clues from the seedy back streets of Covent Garden up through the echelons of society, Lavender and Woods begin to fear that the case is much bigger than they'd dared imagine - and worse, that they are at risk of becoming mere players in a master criminal's shadowy drama.

It will take all of Lavender's skill and wit, and help from the beautiful Magdalena, to bring the mystery of the Sans Pareil Theatre to a dramatic conclusion in the final act.

©2015 Karen Charlton (P)2015 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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London 1810

Interesting story of an early detective in Bow Street, Coventry Garden, a very different place than the touristy place it is today. The story evokes something of the dirt, poverty and harshness of life in England during the wars with Napoleon's forces.

Lavender and Wood make a good detective duo and it will be interesting to see how these characters are developed in future stories.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A favourite Narrator performing a excellent book

Where does The Sans Pareil Mystery rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I would rank this in my top ten. I enjoy murder mystery books with some relational depth to and between the characters, the combination of Karen Charlton's writing and imagination with Michael Page's excellent narration is a great find. I have a job that has more than enough tension and real life concerns, so it is therapeutic to get lost in a good book.

What other book might you compare The Sans Pareil Mystery to, and why?

There is a warmth and depth to the book, just enough edge and murder mystery, but warmth in the unfolding of the key characters. I would compare it to the Max Tudor series, different century, but the characters have a steady reflective no nonsense approach, but with a nod to their romantic and family lives.

What does Michael Page bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Michael Page is an excellent narrator and performer. He gives depth to the characters, I've enjoyed his narration of all the Max Tudor series, and Elizabeth Edmonson's final three books. It has been a pleasure to find him narrating the Inspector Lavender series

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

Gentle tension at times, and occasional laughter.

Any additional comments?

Karen Charlton is an excellent writer, it is a great pleasure to find her books being read by some one as skillful as Michael Page.

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Good and fast paced

An enjoyable story with interesting characters based at the time of Bonaparte's rampage across Europe, the book gives a bit of insight of what it was like to live at that time. If you like mystery and history, you will probably enjoy this book.

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Excellent

Just fallen in love with the main characters this is the 2 nd in series and I read both books in 4 days seriously good fun brilliant plots

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    5 out of 5 stars

A brilliant start to this series

For an audio book of just over 10 hours, not a single minute was dragged out or spent filling out the plot. Each character was given the right amount of detail and the story was great in the attention to historic detail.

I loved the use of period slang peppering the tex. The narrator's different character voices meant I could easily tell who was 'speaking'.

I'm looking forward to more in the series, especially as I've realised Stephen Lavender was a real Principal Officer with the Bow Street Magistrates Court.

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not bad

this series isn"t the greatest detective novels in the world but they are gentle good stories perfect for a cold rainy Sunday afternoon

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Just as enjoyable as the first book!

The author and narrator make a second great outing for Lavender.
Murder, suspense and romance in a novel of this period are rare to find.

Thoroughly enjoyable and worth every penny! I am off to immediately buy the next book in the series and sincerely hope, that it doesn't prove to be the last outing for the brilliant duo Lavender and Woods or the brilliant duo Charlton and Page!!

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  • MidwestGeek
  • 29-12-15

Good mystery with excellent narrator.

This is my first Detective Lavender mystery. The prose is excellent, although the plot is more or less transparent. I have to take on faith what English society was like in the early 1800's, but the author apparently has immersed herself in the period. Lavender is persistent and thoughtful but sometimes unbelievably blind-eyed. The narrator added a lot to the reading, differentiating characters by tone and accent. He had more difficulty with female voices, but even so, did a good job. I prefer 20th century period pieces to the 19th century, so I'm not sure how soon I'll take up another Lavender mystery.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Wildrose Rhedd
  • 12-11-15

Excellent narrator! mediocre material

The book dwindled from a passable mystery to a drawn out bodice ripper. The narration is superior.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • sslarigo
  • 25-11-16

Great new series!

Would you consider the audio edition of The Sans Pareil Mystery to be better than the print version?

The second book in this series does not disappoint! Interesting characters and twisted plot. A nice cosy mystery -- well written and enjoyable. Buying book 3 now.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Kaejae
  • 01-02-16

Great Plot!

A very enjoyable story - with good characters. I enjoyed the main characters in the first novel and it was good to follow the progress of their relationships.
Good mystery plot and never dragged.
Also enjoyed learning about medical field of the time!
Highly recommended!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Bunty
  • 29-11-15

VERY GOOD DETECTIVE WORK. WELL WRITTEN AND WELL NARRATED.

Very good. I like the plot and how Detective Stephen Lavender and his deputy, Constabke Woods work so well together. The romance on Lavender and Magdalena is very interesting too.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Cynthia
  • 02-04-18

Just the right kind of mystery you can listen for HOURS & HOURS & HOURS

Hi Karen ~ Thank you for creating these wonderful characters placed in that special period of English history that lends a noted charm. Your blend of mystery & romance, class vs law, family & religion made for a most interesting “read”!!! Michael Page is one of the best audio actors ~ ever! ~ good choice

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Michelle44
  • 24-03-18

I'm hooked!

Steven Lavendar has captured my full attention. Sherlock Holmes with a 'human' side. The plot kept me guessing and the cast of characters is very well developed. The action is not too fast paced, just enough to make you bite your nails a little. And the humor is placed just right in the story. A definite 5 star read! On to the second one....

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  • Pam in Studio City
  • 20-03-18

Really good mysteries!

I’d like a bit more relationship interplay. Other than that, these are great mysteries. If you are a Sherlock Holmes fan, these books are for you. The narrator is fantastic.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Vicats
  • 12-03-18

Great story line

Great story line based on historical England that describes much of how life went on during those times

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Gothic_Potato
  • 26-02-18

An interesting and well written mystery.

I enjoy thecLavendar Series. The books are very different. Constable Woods is the perfect balance to Detective Lavender's personality. Worth reading!