05 August 2009

Dead can dance

I'm absolutely SOLD on audiobooks. How did I ever drive long distances (i.e., more than 10 minutes) without them? I listened to three in July.

First, I indulged in two Maisie Dobbs mysteries: Among the Mad, and An Incomplete Revenge. (Although I really want to read the series from the beginning, these two were available at the library and I needed books!) Each takes place in the early 1930s, and each shows how the horrors of the European War continued to be lethal long after the war ended. Maisie Dobbs is a trained psychologist as well as a trained investigator, and she uses both her training and strong intuition to solve her cases.

Maisie herself was injured when she worked as a nurse in wartime France. She recovered, but her fiance was injured severely, and still lay, insensible, in a nursing home. Among the Mad brings her back to the shell-shocked soldiers she had cared for in France, and presents a murderer whose alleged purpose is to bring attention to the way these injured soldiers have been treated by the English government. An Incomplete Revenge takes Maisie to the country during hop-picking time, where she investigates a series of fires that seem to occur yearly at the anniversary of a Zeppelin attack. A Romany clan is suspectected by the townspeople, as are the outsiders who come to earn money by helping with the harvest. The European War figures in this book, as well as an intrepid woman reporter looking for the story that will establish her as a journalist.

The third book I enjoyed in the car was a Miss Marple mystery: Sleeping Murder. Did Agatha Christie ever miss with Miss Marple? I don't think so. This book, published posthumously, depicts Miss Marple assisting a young couple investigating the Victorian house they just have purchased. Gwenda, the young wife, has frightening flashbacks that convince her she has not only lived in the same house, but witnessed a murder there 18 years ago. Miss Marple does not interfere in their investigation, but quietly makes inquiries in the town and suggests pathways for Gwenda and Giles to follow. Would it have been better to let sleeping murders lie?

Oh, and Dead Can Dance? I also listen to music in the car. Right now I'm listening to Aion, their Renaissance-tinged album released in 1990. If you never heard Lisa Gerrard's magical voice, and if you would like to be swept into another world, this is the album for you. It certainly is for me.

If the dead can sleep, I like to think they also can dance...


Carrie K said...

I love Miss Marple. I don't remember Sleeping Murder though....must remedy.

Maisie Dobbs has always sounded like such a great heroine. I wish I had better luck w/audiobooks. I've listened to some good books but I have the horrid habit of falling asleep on them or spacing out.

Beverly said...

I enjoy audio books, too. When N. and I started to date, the two + hours commute from Westchester to CT every weekend was made bareable by them. Last spring, when I had to drive to work and back two times a day, three times a week, I ripped through a lot of good ones. I'm not complaining if I have less commuting to do this fall, but I sure did like the extra reading time!

KSD said...

It is dangerous (no sarcasm --- SERIOUSLY dangerous), but I do recommend Mr. Irons reading "Lolita."

Donna Lee said...

My favorite way to knit is with some audio book going on. I am listening to Jaqueline Mitchard's Cage of Stars. Really good.

Inkslinger said...

I have yet to get into audiobooks in a big way, though I've tried a couple (I find my mind wanders unless my hands are busy . . . perhaps I should learn to knit? :), but I had to add my enthusiasm for Sleeping Murder. When younger it was absolutely my favourite Christie, without a doubt!