Thursday, 5 August 2010

The Joy of Sales, or, The Victim in Victoria Station by Jeanne M. Dams

Audible sales are deadly, especially since they really know that if they give you one book of a series and you like it, you’re going to want to by the others, ergo, more sales for them. On the one hand, this is a good thing, on the other, it can truly be evil.

• You can pick up a lot of books on the cheap (especially their $4.95 sales)
• If you don’t like it, at least it didn’t cost a fortune
• If you do like it, it still didn’t cost a fortune
• The sales are usually limited to a about 100 books or so, so it limits your focus and makes you look at and buy books you might otherwise not have given a second glance
• Said books can widen your horizons by introducing you to new authors and genres
• It helps to keep you from running out of reading material and the resultant state of shock and horror. This is especially important once you’ve gotten used to cleaning with a book. Not having a book to clean to now usually results in little to no cleaning of living area/car/dishes…you get the point.

• You spend more money on books than you wanted to
• You spend more money on books that you needed to
• You spend more money on books than you really should
• You spend more money on books than is good for you
• You spend more money on books period

The entire con section can, however, usually be overruled with the argument “there are many, many worse things to spend your money on”, and besides, needs be you can always just go hungry at the end of the month – if you’re me, this will not hurt you in the slightest.

So, brought to you courtesy of Audible and their sales (again) is The Victim in Victoria Station.

Dorothy Martin is an elderly middle aged woman with a penchant for finding herself in the middle of a lot of trouble, mostly because she can’t leave it alone. On this particular occasion, her husband, a recently retired chief of police, is out of town and she is recovering from a broken leg. While on the train to London, she chats with her fellow passenger for a while before settling down to their own thoughts. She assumes that he has drifted off to sleep, but when she tries to wake him upon arrival, she realizes he’s dead. A doctor happens by and confirms that the man is indeed dead. After noting her name and address, he assures her he will take care of the situation. Dorothy, reassured and relieved, goes off to her appointment. Only later when strange things start to happen does Dorothy realize she has landed herself in the middle of another murder and has made herself a target to boot. With the help of friends, she sets off to get to the bottom of the whole business.

At first I was a little shocked that the reader read with an American accent, but Dorothy is an American, as is the author. Well done to Dams for this because if an American is going to write an English Murder Mystery, it’s a great point of view to write it from. Neither author nor character is pretending to be something they aren’t, so it works well. The narrator was also a good choice, even though her voice is quite a bit younger than the character. Kate Reading, a.k.a. Jennifer Mendenhall and Johanna Ward, is an American who grew up in England and Switzerland, so she’s good with all of the accents. I’ve heard her before under Johanna Ward and like her a lot.

The story itself was a good, comfy English murder which relies more on the characters than action. Dorothy and her friends are likeable, there’s little violence or language and the plot is fast-paced enough to hold the reader’s interest without becoming hectic. All in all, I found it quite a pleasant read, which is what this particular genre is really all about. Since I like me a good, comfy mystery to relax to, I’ll certainly be trying out more of the books in this series.

As a cosy mystery, 4 out of 5.

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