This is mystery week – not by design but by good reads. My two best audiobook selections for this week are both mysteries. The first (messenger of Truth) was written in 2006 and the second (Tales for a Winter’s Night) is a series of short stories written around 1898.
Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear
Messenger of Truth is book #4 in the Masie Dobbs series. The setting is London, 1931. Masie is a private investigator with incredible skills of deduction and observation. This novel takes the reader into the world of art and the deadly world of foul play. On the eve of a much-anticipated exhibition artist, Nicholas Bassington-Hope falls from scaffolding while attempting to mount his secretive masterpiece. The police visit the famed Mayfair gallery and declare the fall accidental, but the dead’s man’s twin sister (Georgina) has other opinions. With the case being closed by the police, Georgina seeks out a fellow graduate from Girton College: Maisie Dobbs and the investigation begins.
The facts of the case take Maisie to the beaches of Dungeness in Kent and the dark memories of World War 1.
Being book #4, the first three provide a great deal of background about Masie and her past relationships. It is a good series and I would recommend taking the time to read the first three novels. There are 16 novels in the series and #17 to be released in 2022. The British-born author has done extensive research into the story’s setting, and the protagonist continues to grow with each novel. A good read and an entertaining audiobook. The audiobook also contains a very interesting and insightful interview with the author.
Tales for a Winter’s Night by Arthur Conan Doyle
These eight classic Conan Doyle mysteries were originally published in The Strand in 1899 and then republished in 1908 as one volume entitled Round the Fire Mysteries. I thought these were going to be short adventures of Sherlock Holmes, but the master detective was not present in any of these mysteries. As an audiobook each tale lasts about 45 minutes so there are several nice stopping places. The table of contents reveals the short stories: The Man with the Watches, The Black Doctor, The Jewish Breastplate, The Lost Special, The Club-footed Grocer, The Sealed Room, The Brazilian Cat, and B.24. As in most collections, some of the stories were better than others. I personally liked The Man with the Watches, the Jewish Breastplate, and the Brazilian Cat. The formal, older, British syntax and vocabulary made comprehension a little more difficult and active listening a bit more difficult, but all in all it was an enjoyable audiobook