P. Buchanan

New England
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3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-20-13

Stilted narration spoils an okay story

What disappointed you about And Then You Dye?

The mystery itself was okay, but Susan Boyce presented almost all the characters as prissy and stilted. It was as if she was reading to a kindergarten class.

I added "And Then You Dye" to my library when Audible offered it on a reduced price--and I had a $10 coupon. Why not try a mystery series I hadn't known about? If I liked it, I could start at the beginning. I knew going in that starting with # 16 in the Needlecraft Mystery series would mean I'd be getting a lot of shorthand on development of long standing characters, but I was willing to give Monica Ferris the benefit of the doubt

What was most disappointing about Monica Ferris’s story?


How could the performance have been better?

The story was reasonably well plotted and included a couple of digressions to flesh out secondary relationships such as those of Godwin and Rafael and Jill and Lars Larson--the sort of thing that readers of mystery series want--and miss if they're left out (like the family dinners in Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti series).So. Points for keeping up with the major and minor characters.

What character would you cut from And Then You Dye?

And points also for incorporating a *lot* of information about handicraft dying into the plot without overloading her readers with too much detail. She uses a standard device--bring in an expert to explain the essential points about natural dyes but punctuate her delivery with additional conversation. Further, after setting us up to expect a murder based on poisonous dyes and mordants (see I paid attention), she switches to a plain old death by gunshot. But the dye-ing demonstrations are not irrelevant, as the conclusion makes clear.

Any additional comments?

However, if Susan Boyce represents the way Ferris wants her characters to sound, then I won't be going back to the beginning of the series. ]Boyce. articulates. every. single. word. and. every. sentence. on. a. falling. tone. no. matter. how. complex. it. may. be. And, although Boyce does modulate her voice in an attempt to distinguish the characters, the result is that she sounds like a sheltered first grade teacher reading to a Sunday school class. I will not be listening to any other books she narrates.Just a note: The only way I could get paragraph breaks was to type my comments into the separate boxes. As you can see, the headers don't fit the comments.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-06-08

Made me want to find more Michael Gruber novels

I downloaded "The Book of Air and Shadows" after it was recommended to me by my local independent bookseller. It was just the diversion I needed while driving to Maine last summer.

My companion and I felt that the 17th century sections were a little slow--at least in the beginning--but once we were past the introduction, we were hooked. Noyes does an excellent job of separating the three separate narrators, so it's always clear who is speaking.

The story itself provides both mystery, romance and action. It was a great summer "read."

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