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Summary

The first book in a new series by the creator of Inspector McLevy.

New Year's Day - and through the misty streets of Victorian Edinburgh, an elegant female figure walks the cobblestones with a certain vengeful purpose. Jean Brash, the mistress of the Just Land, brings her cool intelligence to solving a murder, a murder that took place in her own bawdy house (the best in Edinburgh and her pride and joy). A prominent judge, strangled and left dangling, could bring her whole life to ruin, and she didn't haul herself off the streets, up through low, dirty houses of pleasure and violent vicious men, to let that come to pass.

The search for the killers will take Jean back into her own dark past as she uncovers a web of political and sexual corruption in the high reaches of the Edinburgh establishment. A young boy's death long ago is demanding justice, but as the body count increases, she has little time before a certain Inspector James McLevy comes sniffing round like a wolf on the prowl. Jean may be on the side of natural justice, but is she on the side of the law? Or will the law bring her down?

©2016 David Ashton (P)2016 John Murray Press

What listeners say about Mistress of the Just Land

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If you love McLevy you will love this

This is a story that gives some of the background to Jean Brash , whilst giving us a plot that twists and turns. As always Siobhan Redmond reading the bawdy house keeper is excellant and David Ashton is a good reader - although it did take me a while for the McLevy dialogue not to be said in the voice of Brian Cox. My only problem is that I want more- please hurry with the next in the series.

5 people found this helpful

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Nauseous

This book has nauseating descriptions of what is going on in the murderer’s head while committing his crimes. Not what I was expecting. Sending it back.

4 people found this helpful

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Very bit as good as the rest of McLevy

Inspired! I absolutely loved this story & the narration as much as the BBC McLevy series. More please brilliant Mr. Ashton 😍

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VERY ENJOYABLE

I really enjoyed this book and the way which it fleshed out the characters from the McLevy radio I plays. I'm not sure what the nursery rhymes at the begging in of each chapter were about though. Siobhan Redmond is an excellent narrator and brings Jean Brash to life.

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Just brilliant

Enjoyed James McLevy so much that I purchased this book. Expertly narrated by Siobhan Redmond and the author. I loved the little ‘snippets’ at the start of each chapter.

I was totally transported to the streets of Leith with all their smells and characters. The James and Jeanie relationship is dampened down in this book but a wee spark shines through.

Looking forward to the next book.

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Lots of strengths, one minor weakness

David Ashton is a very skillful writer with an interesting, unique narrative style. Coupled with Siobhan Redmond's outstanding performance this a highly evocative and enjoyable listen. However, the author's own performance was entirely overdone - hopefully a bit less dramatic flair in the next one please Mr Ashton (as I will still be listening!)

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  • Mr
  • 04-03-18

Enjoyable story. Great characters

Loved the background to Jean Brash only hinted at in the Mclevey books.
Overall I thought the mystery/detective element not as strong as Mclevey, but more character background?

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Excellent

Really enjoyed this if not quite the standard of the BBC full cast dramatisation.

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Solid story, great scenes, mixed narration

Ashton paints a captivating backdrop for these stories and the addition of strong and interesting characters always makes them enjoyable. This tale though is rather too predictable and pedestrian. Where I really struggled was with the narration. Siobhan Redmond is peerless in my view, her rendition beautifully paced and warmly delivered. David Ashton sadly doesn't match up and his failed attempts to sound creepy and sinister are so overdone that they become a constant irritation. The stories are good - let the text do the work and leave out the fairground narration. Brian Cox shows the way...

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  • Jk
  • 06-02-22

A must for McLevy fans

As a fan of the Radio 4 McLevy series I approached this with some trepidation but loved it.

I did miss Brian Cox’s performance as McLevy at first but soon hardly noticed. There is just a hint of the too p.c. about the story but nothing too intrusive and I hope the next story will be up to the same standard.

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  • Anthony Scheinman
  • 19-10-16

SIOBHAN REDMOND BRINGS JEAN BRASH TO LIFE!

What made the experience of listening to Mistress of the Just Land the most enjoyable?

There were three reasons why this audio adaptation was so enjoyable. First of all was the performance of Siobhan Redmond (the voice on "Jean Brash" in the BBC Radio 4 series of MCLEVY); as a narrator, she really brings Jean Brash's humor and ferocity of determination to life ... but then she's had many years and twelve series to hone her craft! Secondly, while I might have loved to hear Brian Cox ("McLevy" himself") narrate the parts where McLevy (a supporting character this time) appears, David Ashton narrates it in a way that makes me feel that "Lieutenant Roach" (his role in the series) is telling the story. Finally was the way David Ashton uses his voice to narrate the rhymes used to introduce each chapter; these are definitely nursery rhymes I never grew up on, but they way he reads them makes me want to hear more!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Naturally, since the story is about and concerns her, my favorite character was Jean Brash.

Have you listened to any of Siobhan Redmond and David Ashton ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

While I have heard both in the BBC Radio 4 series MCLEVY, this was my first time hearing them in audio=book format.

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

No extreme reaction, but I thoroughly enjoyed it! I hope Ms. Redmond will continue as narrator should any more "Jean Brash" mysteries be written and then adapted for audio-book.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Stephanie
  • 23-01-17

David Ashton: Great author, bad narrator

I do really love the way David Ashton writes. Excellent descriptions to really get the imagination where it needs to be to see the places and people in the books. I'm usually not one to get hung up on a narrator's quirks but I just couldn't ignore them this time.
Luckily most of the story is read by Siobhan, who is Jean Brash in this book and the McLevy Collection Seris.

After enjoying the McLevy Collection I needed more of my favorite characters.

I just couldn't hear him half the time because he kept whispering. He's great with dialogue but when it comes to reading the action in between I just was so disappointed. Mostly because I know there are more McLevy books and David Ashton reads them!
Well, you can enjoy this book however. Well worth it if your into mystery or Scotland or historical fiction
Jean Brash is a fantastic character!


4 people found this helpful

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  • Cindy
  • 27-10-16

A fine female complement to McLevy series

Where does Mistress of the Just Land rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This book fits nicely into the McLevy series, but with a focus on the bawdyhouse mistress and her "magpies". Ms. Brash is every bit a match for McLevy as she wades through the bodies to find the killer.

What did you like best about this story?

I particularly liked the combination of readers, Ashton and Redmond. I've always enjoyed Ashton's reading because I feel like I am getting to know McLevy as he was intended to be. Ms. Redmond is good match for Ashton and gives Jean Brash a thoughtful, measured tone that suits my vision of her.

Any additional comments?

These are dark novels that paint a grim picture of life in 19th century Edinburgh, particularly for the lower classes. They also portray a tough, gritty people who manage to find their way to reasonable lives.
However, I have to say that if the children's nursery rhymes that Ashton reads at the beginning of the chapters are typical of the time, they go a long way to explaining why the Scots in the book are so dour.

2 people found this helpful