Tag Archives: Reginald Hill

Audiobook Appreciation

I’m done with this most recent clump of deadlines! I don’t think I’ve worked at quite a pace like this for a long while – it’s been three to four weeks of fourteen hour days. I am very, very thankful for my audiobooks – I think they kept me sane in the midst of all those deadlines.

Audiobook Treasure Trove

headphones I was lucky enough to come down with a head cold for Christmas and Boxing Day, so I had a grand time those two days: I got to loll around while everyone took care of me, and to top it off, on Christmas Day, I discovered a virtual audiobook treasure chest! I spent most of Christmas Day and Boxing Day lying on the couch, listening to some great audiobooks and snacking on the most delicious foods.

If you live in Ontario, you might be able to take advantage of this audiobook treasure chest yourself. The Ontario Library Service Download Centre is available to all library patrons of participating Ontario libraries, and it is just wonderful. There are loads of audiobooks available for download, much like you would for Audible. The files are deleted at the end of your checkout period, but you can checkout each audiobook for one or two weeks, which is nice.

So far, in the past two weeks, I’ve listened to Bill Bryson’s The Lost Continent, Ellen Degeneres’ The Funny Thing Is, The Green Witch and The Grey King from Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising series, and The Bunnicula Collection by James and Deborah Howe.

Other Listens

The Price of Butcher's Meat

Over the past three weeks, I also enjoyed the audio versions of Reginald Hill’s The Price of Butcher’s Meat (I listened to the British version, which is called A Cure for All Diseases) and Exit Lines. I’d already read A Cure for All Diseases earlier last year and loved it (my review is here) – it translated superbly into audio.

I also played several Agatha Christie audios while I was working – I find I can do “rereads” in audio, as well as memoirs and nonfiction, while I’m working; I somehow have the ability to follow along while getting my work done at the same time. Audiobooks don’t work well for work if they’re audios of books I haven’t read yet, though.

The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Murder on the Links, Poirot Investigates and The Big Four helped me get through a lot of otherwise tedious work, so I’m very thankful for them!

Curtains for ThreeAnd finally, I listened to Rex Stout’s Curtains for Three, a trilogy of three Nero Wolfe novellas. I must admit, the first few times I listened to audiobook renditions of Nero Wolfe novels, I had a hard time getting used to the narrator, Michael Pritchard, because he didn’t sound quite like I always imagined Archie Goodwin would sound. But Pritchard’s voice has grown on me, and now my idea of Archie Goodwin sounds exactly like him! I like the way that worked out.

Coming Up

Thanks to the Ontario Library Service Download Centre, I have some more goodies waiting for my hearing pleasure this coming week:

About Face

About Face, by Donna Leon. I’ve been wanting to read a Commissario Guido Brunetti book for a while, and since this one was available for checkout, I decided to give it a try. I only just started listening to it last night, and it promises to be a good story.

Silver on the Tree

Silver on the Tree, by Susan Cooper. This is the final book in The Dark is Rising series. The version I have is narrated by Alex Jennings, and I started listening to a bit of it yesterday as well. I’m looking forward to finishing my reread of the series in audio.

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So Long as You Both Shall Live, by Ed McBain. This is my first 87th Precinct mystery; it’s a little bit challenging keeping track of all the names in audio, and the story line behind this one isn’t quite to my taste, but I will definitely be looking into reading more of the 87th Precinct series.

Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, by Bill Bryson. I’ve had Bryson’s memoir on my shelf for ages; when I saw it was available at the OLS Download Centre, I decided to check it out, as I really enjoy listening to memoirs in audio.

And from my local library:

The Thirteenth Tale

The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield. The audio version of The Thirteenth Tale came highly recommended – I seem to recall lots of people recommending it on Google Wave. So I thought I’d take the plunge and give it a first read in audio instead of in print.

I recently bought the following, which are waiting for me to get to them:

The Eye of the World

The Eye of the World, by Robert Jordan. This is Book 1 of the Wheel of Time series – I began reading the series ages ago, but stopped at around Book 6 or 7. I recently received a review copy of the final book in the series, The Gathering Storm, which is written by Brandon Sanderson based on Robert Jordan’s extensive notes, so I thought it would be a good thing to reread the series. I’ve had so much luck with rereads in audio, I decided to give the audio version a try.

Dead Until Dark

Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris. I have the first seven books in paperback, but haven’t read the Sookie Stackhouse series at all; a while back, I decided to give the first book a try in audio. I haven’t found myself in the mood for it yet, but I know I will soon – from what everyone’s been telling me, I’ll probably be hooked once I give it a try!

I also have two Audible credits to spend, and I’m thinking I’ll probably splurge on more Rex Stout and Reginald Hill.

So there you have it – audiobooks have managed to keep me on the reading track even while I was submerged up to my neck in deadlines! And yes, I’ve been feeling like a kid in a candy store …

Coming up this week: my giveaway winners! No, I haven’t forgotten about my giveaway. The winners post will be coming soon.

Photo credit

Review: Ruling Passion, by Reginald Hill

Ruling PassionIn Ruling Passion, by Reginald Hill, Pascoe and his girlfriend Ellie arrive in Thornton Lacey to spend a weekend with old friends from their student days. They find instead three of their friends dead of shotgun wounds, and a fourth friend at large, sought by the local police as a suspect in the killings. Meanwhile, back at home in Yorkshire, Dalziel wants Pascoe back to investigate a string of unsolved burglaries.

This is an earlier Pascoe and Dalziel mystery, and as with all of Hill’s novels in the series, both continuing characters and the ones brought in specifically for this mystery are finely detailed. Dalziel is Dalziel, bigger than life, insensitive, bigoted and politically incorrect as ever:

“I told you I belonged to the old school. There’s nowt wrong with a woman that can’t be cured by colour telly, wall-to-wall carpeting and a couple of rounds up the spout,” [Dalziel} said with exaggerated coarseness.

Ellie thought of kicking him in the crotch. Then she started laughing. She laughed so much that people turned and stared and the dogs in the nearby kennels started barking wildly as though in reply.

Pascoe, in the meantime, is hit with an emotional bomb – could his old university friend really be the killer? And was he getting more and more confused, or were the two investigations really starting to look linked in some way?

The mystery itself is complex, with lots of fun twists and potential suspects. The motive for the murders is perhaps not as credible as it could be, but Hill’s writing is as rich and intense as ever. The characters live and breathe, and the reader is drawn deep into Pascoe and Dalziel’s world. Even though this was a re-read for me, I was still caught by surprise – caught by each of the twists in the plot, in fact. Which is another reason I like to keep my Reginald Hill books, as I do re-read them, and do so with much pleasure.

Where to buy:

U.S. (Amazon.com)

Canada (Chapters)

UK (Amazon.co.uk)

Review copy details: published by Grafton, 1992, Mass market paperback , 301 pages

Still Reading …

It’s been quite a whirlwind around the MsBookish household – we seem to have plunged right into spring cleaning/home renovations fever, and if that sounds chaotic … it is!

But I’m still reading. I think it’s the only way to stay sane during a renovation. The main problem is that I don’t have much time for reviewing. I’m toying with posting mini-reviews – maybe call them “In A Nutshell” or something like that, to distinguish them from my regular full-length reviews.

I’ve been having a good time, though, renovations and all. Here’s a list of the books I’ve finished the last four weeks (I may be missing some that have gone back to the library – I forgot to keep a “master list”):

The Victoria Vanishes, by Christopher Fowler

Ten Second Staircase, by Christopher Fowler

Jinx, by Meg Cabot

Missing You (1-800-Where-R-You, Book 5), by Meg Cabot

Bones, by Jonathan Kellerman

Pictures of Perfection, by Reginald Hill

Ruling Passion, by Reginald Hill

A Pinch of Snuff, by Reginald Hill

The Third Degree, by Norah McClintock

Over the Edge, by Norah McClintock

Double Cross, by Norah McClintock

A Rule Against Murder, by Louise Penny (called The Murder Stone in Canada)

The Case of the Left-handed Lady, by Nancy Springer

The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets, by Nancy Springer

As you can probably see, there’s a definite mystery “theme” going on in my life right now. I’m pretty sure I’m missing some titles as well, but I’ll update the list if/when the missing titles come back to me.

In the course of renovating, and moving furniture around, I’ve also been going through my bookshelves. It’s so difficult, weeding my book collection, but it must be done – we simply don’t have enough space for all my books. I must admit, my heart cries a little with each box of books that leaves this house, headed toward charity book sales! But on the bright side, I’ve been finding a ton of books that I either (1) haven’t read yet or (2) want very much to re-read.

So yes, I’m still reading …!

Book Review: A Cure for All Diseases (The Price of Butcher’s Meat), by Reginald Hill

cureforalldiseasesFrom the back of the book:

Some say that Andy Dalziel wasn’t ready for God, others that God wasn’t ready for Dalziel. Either way, despite his recent proximity to a terrorist blast, the Superintendent remains firmly of this world. And while Death may be the cure for all diseases, Dalziel is happy to settle for a few weeks’ care under a tender nurse.

Convalescing in Sandytown, a quiet seaside resort devoted to healing, Dalziel befriends Charlotte Heywood, a fellow newcomer and psychologist, who is researching the benefits of alternative therapy. With much in common, the two soon find themselves in league when trouble comes to town.

Sandytown’s principal landowners have grandiose plans for the resort- none of which they can agree on. One of them has to go, and when one of them does, in spectacularly gruesome fashion, DCI Peter Pascoe is called in to investigate – with Dalziel and Charlotte providing unwelcome support. But Pascoe finds dark forces at work in a place where medicine and holistic remedies are no match for the oldest cure of all …

The Snapshot Review

What I Liked: I loved the epistolary method of story telling that is employed through the first part of the book, especially since it lets Dalziel narrate parts of the novel!

First Line: Hi Cass! Hows things in darkest Africa?

Ms. Bookish’s Very Quick Take: My admiration for Reginald Hill has increased – a rather remarkable feat since I already held him in high esteem. He handles the epistolary method well (I especially enjoyed the parts narrated by the lovable politically incorrect Dalziel) and as usual, there are lots of credible plot twists.

Read the Full Review of A Cure for All Diseases

Library Loot: Mostly Mysteries – and BBC Audio

library-lootIt’s time for Library Loot, where book bloggers share what they brought home from the library this past week.

I love going to the library, although these days, because I’ve been very efficiently using the library’s request holds system, I normally just pop in, grab my on hold books off the hold shelf, take a quick look at the “New” section and come right back home.

I kind of miss just wandering around, not having any goal except finding interesting-looking books. My work schedule will be much easier after the next two weeks, so I will probably be doing more treasure hunting at the library after then. But I did manage to get to the library for an afternoon of browsing this past week, as well as having some requested books come in.

My husband likes to say I’m the library’s biggest financial supporter; he bases this on the amount of library fines I’ve paid in all the time that he’s known me. I actually don’t feel embarrassed about the amounts anymore – not when people are getting charged $1 a day for overdue DVDs!

Here’s what I picked up from the library this past week:

Mystery: A Cure for All Diseases, by Reginald Hill. I actually borrowed this late last year, but wasn’t able to get around to reading it until it was due back. I couldn’t renew it because someone else had it on hold, so I requested it again. I love Dalziel and Pascoe, and have been wanting to read this one ever since finishing up Death Comes for the Fat Man early last year.

Contemporary fiction: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. I put in a hold request for this a few months back – it’s a book that I probably would never have discovered if it weren’t for book blogs (I have a lot of books on my TBR and i-want lists that are a direct result of hanging around other book blogs). I’m looking forward to this one.

I only picked up two books this past week, but I took an afternoon to hit the shelves specifically in search of audiobooks. I dislike abridged versions of audiobooks, and will always opt for the unabridged version (or not get the audiobook at all if there is no unabridged version) but there’s an exception to this: BBC Radio Collection (BBC Audio) audiobooks!

These audiobooks are simply wonderful. There’s a full cast of characters, all with rich, plummy British accents, and lots of background sounds to get you right into the mood of the story. When you’re ready for something light and dramatic, but you don’t really want to watch a movie, these are extremely fun listens.

So far I’ve just been listening to mysteries from the collection, but there are audio presentations of lots of other kinds of novels too: see the selection here and here.

I picked up the following BBC Radio Collection audiobooks this past week:

Cover Her Face, by P.D. James, starring Robin Ellis, Siân Phillips, Beatie Edney and Hugh Grant. Yes, Hugh Grant! I don’t know if this is THE Hugh Grant (haven’t listened to the CDs yet), but anyway, this Hugh Grant plays the role of Felix, one of the major characters (not Dalgliesh, so he’s probably one of the main suspects).

Three Act Tragedy, by Agatha Christie, starring John Moffatt (as Hercule Poirot), George Cole, Michael Cochrane and Clive Merrison. I remember the plotline (but not who-done-it) so I know I’ve read this one before, but definitely not under this title (for a brief second there, I was quite ecstatic, thinking here was finally an Agatha Christie title I hadn’t read before).

Peril at End House, by Agatha Christie, starring John Moffatt (as Hercule Poirot, once again). No other actors are listed on the back, and there’s no little booklet inside, so I don’t know who plays the rest of the main characters. I have read Peril at End House numerous times, so I know that by midway I will have remembered who-done-it, but the dramatization will keep it interesting, I’m sure.

Lord Edgware Dies, by Agatha Christie, and starring, of course, John Moffatt as Poirot. Other actors include Simon Williams and Nicola Pagett.

Each of these audiobooks runs for about two hours or so, so they don’t require a huge investment of time. And have I mentioned how much fun they are?

What did you get from the library this past week? And have you tried the BBC Audio (BBC Radio Collection) audiobooks? What did you think of them?