Try an audiobook on us

The Sans Pareil Mystery

The Detective Lavender Mysteries, Book 2
Narrated by: Michael Page
Length: 10 hrs and 15 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (153 ratings)
Regular price: £9.89
£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

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

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    107
  • 4 Stars
    36
  • 3 Stars
    8
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    2

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    94
  • 4 Stars
    32
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    88
  • 4 Stars
    27
  • 3 Stars
    11
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

The sans pareil mystery

Another very good read. Anyone who likes detective stories that are not dark and depressiing would love the lavender books. These stories are very well put together and the characters are very real.

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

Gripping story populated by interesting characters

This is the third book I've listened to in the inspector Lavender series and won't be the last. I enjoy the emphasis on developing the characters and, in this book, was engaged in a gripping story of French spy-rings at the time of the Napoleonic Wars. Lavender and his trusty sidekick Constable Woods are sympathetic characters around whose lives the stories are told.

The narrator does a great job creating all the different accents and portraying convincing female voices.

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

love this series.Riveting

What makes these books by Karen so good are the characters and interesting plot.You really feel like you are there in that time and it's interesting from a historical point of view.The narrater is one of the best and brings out the humour in the book by his ability to be several different characters.

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

Splendid work riveting story line

One again a wonderful book, twists it's way through London's theater world and Spanish French spy ring. The reading is superb and the charters a e brought to life.

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

Thoroughly Enjoyable Story Set in Georgian London

Easy listening, believable, likeable main characters, good plot. Immersed myself in Georgian London. Well researched.

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

Amazing

Even better than the first one! Can not wait to listen to the nexted one.

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

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.

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

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

Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • 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 6 people found this review helpful

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

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • 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 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Wayne
  • 23-04-16

Delightful and charming mystery novel!

I had not listened to a Michael Page narrated audiobook in some time and forgot what a great talent he is. I'm in awe of his performance in narrating The Sans Pareil Mystery.

The protagonist of this mystery novel is London UK Detective Stephen Lavender. It is set in the year 1810. It seems at first that an actress has been kidnapped and murdered. The autopsy shows that she died of congenital heart disease after being kidnapped. Then it turns out that the dead woman is not the actress but her identical twin sister that has died. The reason for the kidnapping and the culprits must still be determined. There are many fascinating characters and twists in The Sans Pareil Mystery.

This complex novel is a fun read made even better by superb narration.

This audiobook is loaned to the listener at no extra cost to members of Kindle Unlimited.

5 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • sarah brunnig
  • 14-02-19

very enjoyable

This is the second of the stories about Detective Stephen Lavender and Constable Woods, and I have enjoyed both thoroughly. The narrator does a perfect job making the story come alive. So many distinct voices.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Wendy McIntosh
  • 24-01-19

Great Author

I love Karen Charlton. Her writing is so vivid and compelling. I totally enjoyed all her books on detective Lavender.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Debbie
  • 02-01-19

Intrigue, Drama and London's Underbelly

Led by a street urchin, Detective Lavender, Constable Woods and his team arrive to a dilapidated, abandoned building where they hear the cries of a baby. Search as they may, they cannot locate the infant, but every time they are about to leave, the tot begins to wail again. Interestingly, Lavender is able to unravel the mystery. Yet a neighbor woman still insists there is a body in the building. The listener is taken back to early 1800s London, in this tale of death and intrigue, with excellent descriptions of time and place. The cobblestone streets, with horse drawn carriages, reeked of steaming freshly dropped dung, and whores hung out of windows hawking their wares. When the coppers, do indeed find a decomposing body of a beautiful young woman beneath the floor boards, Detective Lavender is on the move, determining just how she ended up there . . . and why. The story is set at the time of the Napoleonic Wars, and filled with Spanish refugees, both Spanish and French spies. The dead young woman turns out to be a much admired actress at the Sans Pareil Theatre, who was first kidnapped, before being placed in the abandoned building. As Stephen Lavender and Ned Woods try to determine the motive behind the kidnapping, we get a glimpse into the world of the theatre, London’s high society and their view of others. One Spanish refugee, Dona Magdalena has caught Detective Lavender’s eye, much to the distain of his boss, Magistrate James Read, who repeatedly warns Lavender to distance himself from Magdalena. Involving himself with a Papist will ruin his career, according to Magistrate Read. Indeed, Catholics were not accepted in England in the 1800s. Happily, Stephen Lavender had a mind of his own. All in all, this is an excellent listen. I will be listening to more in the series.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • L. Buell
  • 14-05-18

A Classic Mystery/Love Story

I love a good mystery --one that relies on character, not on gore. With The Same Pareil Mystery, the plot is engaging, the detective work fun to follow, and the characters matter very much. Honor, duty, valor leave you better off for reading this gem. And the ending makes you want to come back for more.

The dramatic reading puts skin on the bones. I love all the accents. Beautiful and entertaining.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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
  • 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....