In Winter's Exile the Mystery Man is exiled to the country to recover and recuperate from his injuries. Inevitably, there is no escaping the war. When the son of the local Squire is found dying within hours of a German bomber crashing in a nearby field Guy Winter is suddenly back in his element. However, what initially looks to be a an open and shut, tame whodunit, soon takes on new and sinister proportions as the Mystery Man finds himself in the middle of what seems like a long-running family feud in a rural backwater that, despite appearances, is anything but divorced from the brutal realities of the war.
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A mysterious murder in the times of war...
I'd recommend the book to a friend of mine who likes classic detective stories set in the English countryside. The book has this distinctive feel of Agatha Christie type of crime novels mixed with the Foyle's War films, taking the best from both... We have a small group of characters here who at first sight have nothing in common with each other and then there is the crime, and suddenly nothing is what it seemed to be... Add to it some German pilots crashing almost in the middle of the village, suspisions of them being the murderers, an almost-lynch situation and Inspector Winter in the middle of it all... and you have a great detective story here:)
I liked a lot of characters in the book, so it's really difficult to choose just one... I liked Emily Winter, Guy Winter's 15-year-old daughter a lot - she is lively, intelligent and turns out to be a good observer and a great judge of people's characters. And although she is a kind of background character in the story, she stands out from the crowd and at times she is the one whose actions and ideas move the plot forward.
Again, a tough choice...:) I don't think I can choose between Elspeth and Emily (the wife and the daughter of the main character's) - both are given great "voices" and really come to life in Ms Fraser's interpretation. Elspeth is warm, loving, really caring both for her husband and her stepdaughter; her emotions and fears carried out expertly by Ms Fraser... And Emily, as I already mentioned, comes out as this sweet teenage girl who is just about to turn into a young woman, tender but intelligent, brilliant at times, and on the verge of being in love for the first time - all these just spot on in this interpretation:)
Generally, I think Ms Fraser's interpretation of the book is very good - the "voices" of the characters quite match their personalities and the narrator is very good at showing emotions the characters feel. Also Ms Fraser has no problem with reading the male characters' parts of the story and differentiating the voices enough for the listener not to get confused as to who is speaking (and there are quite a few men in the book:)). I also like the fact that when Guy and Emily are supposedly speaking German, we can instantly hear it - the "German accent" is nicely done (at least to my ear, though I'm not an expert on accents, being only a Polish teacher of English, mind you:))
Well, you may not have extreme reactions to this book (this is not a kind of "I love / I hate this" story), but generally it's a very good book to listen to if you like this type of detective/crime novels. There are some good twists and some "red herrings" of course, enough to make you curious of what will happen next... And the characters - most of them - are interesting enough to make you care what happens to them and why they do what they do...
I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.
- Lidia Chymkowska
Great narration as Guy Winter returns...