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I've put off reading this series for a few years and I am not certain why. It covers one of the most fascinating times in recent history - the First World War - and I tend to read anything I can about that time period. It is by an author whose other works I enjoy - to a degree. I found the first few books of the Monk series fascinating, the Pitt series far less so, although I read several of them. The problem with Perry is, while I like to read series books in order and one after the other, when possible, the books in her series tend to run together and they all begin to sound like essentially the same book with different secondary characters and London locations inserted into the same plot line.
I was hopeful that would not be the case with this series. I enjoyed No Graves as Yet, the first book in the series. It takes place at the cusp of the war, the main event that drives the plot actually occurs the day the Archduke is shot. There was a family of main characters to get to know and while they all seemed dry and stiff, based on Perry's style of character development, as well as the time period the book was set in and the class of the family, that probably makes sense. There are more colorful characters when the plot moves to Cambridge and London, which keep the reader engaged. The problem was there wasn't anybody the reader could really like or really hate. There were several characters I found very annoying though. But the storyline was complex enough it kept my interest even if the characters always didn't.
The mystery revolved around a plan to keep England out of the war.It seemed a little far fetched and overly complicated, but since this plan was the reason for the mystery that drove the book, I was OK with that. The end held a few surprises, which was great. In her other series, the endings quickly became predictable.
The book was full of details regarding the ramp up to the war and Perry did an excellent job with her research and her ability to so clearly define a specific time and location.
I usually enjoy Michael Page's narration, and he did a good job with this as well. The only problem I noticed with the narration was there were too many middle-aged male characters for him to give each a unique voice, inflection or diction and I had trouble telling who was talking sometimes. And he contributed to the annoying qualities of a few of the female and younger male characters by the shrillness of his voice sometimes.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
This is a so-so, slow mystery with not much history to recommend it - and the history that is there makes me want to ask: Does Perry know anything about WWI?
I did not think I would ever recommend Follet's "Fall of Giants" as a good listen (awkward dialogue and campy sex scences), but after listening to "No Graves", I'd recommend, even if you like Anne Perry Victorian mysteries as I do -- to pass on her WWI series and download Follet.
However, if you think WWI was "the good fight" and want a really slow mystery, this might be for you. I gave it two stars for evoking the atmosphere of pre WWI Cambridge and avoiding campy sex scenes. Perhaps over the course of the other novels in the series she makes more historical sense, but I don't think it's worth the credits or listening time to find out.
12 of 15 people found this review helpful