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The Ringmaster (Sam Shepherd #2)

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  71 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
Death is stalking the southern South Island. And what role does the visiting Darling Brothers Circus have to play?

Sam Shephard is on the bottom rung of detective training in Dunedin, and her boss makes sure she knows it. She gets involved in her first homicide investigation there when a university student is murdered in the Botanic Gardens. Sam soon discovers this is not a
Paperback, 312 pages
Published 2008 by Penguin NZ
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 Carol ♛ Type, Oh Queen! ♛

Amazing that quite a little thing can mean the difference between 3.5 & 4*

But the lack of flow in this book was driving me crazy! & was caused by having too many chapters. Seventy (counting prologue & epilogue) in a book of only 308 pages. Every time an idea got going - stop. Turn the page. Quite unnecessary & didn't stop me guessing the killer. (view spoiler)

Still lots to like. Symon's trademark surprise opening, goo
Sep 11, 2011 Sally906 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, e-book
I have wanted to read another Vanda Symon book since I finished her first one, ‘Overkill’. Knowing I was about to spend a month on the south island of New Zealand, I decided to start reading books set in NZ to put me in the mood. Of course I immediately thought of Vanda Symon and checked to see if she had written more books. She had, and her second book RINGMASTER is set in Dunedin, just where I was scheduled to spend five days.

After the events in ‘Overkill’, Sam Shepherd and her best friend Mag
Craig Sisterson
Apr 06, 2010 Craig Sisterson rated it really liked it
Dunedin writer Vanda Symon’s follow-up to her excellent debut Overkill (Penguin, 2007) finds heroine Sam Shepherd having moved to Dunedin from Mataura; bridges burnt. Undertaking detective training, Shepherd’s on the bottom rung of the ladder, battling her grudge-holding boss for any involvement.

The Ringmaster opens with a murder in the Botanic Gardens, before switching to stroppy Sam’s first-person narration. Marginalised, she struggles to participate in the investigation, working in her own ti
Apr 06, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it
THE RINGMASTER is the second in the Sam Shephard series from NZ author Vanda Symon. Sam has moved to Dunedin, is in detective training when the body of a young university student is found in the Botanic Gardens. In Sam's world it goes without saying that nothing is ever going to be straightforward, and once the possibility that this murder isn't a solitary event, the connection between murders all over the Southern South Island of New Zealand and a local travelling circus becomes a distinct poss ...more
Ella's Gran
Sep 04, 2015 Ella's Gran rated it liked it
3.5 stars.
Good mystery but found the short two-page chapters broke the flow of the story for me.
Jan 08, 2010 Heather rated it really liked it
This is a great follow-on to Overkill. Sam Shephard is now a detective constable in Dunedin - the bottom of the rung. A young woman has been found murdered in the Botanic Gardens and Sam tackles work hierarchy and personal challenges whilst working on the case. A fabulous light read that I didn't want to put down, lots of twists, turns and revelations not to mention the added dimension of local knowledge and flavour. Good contemporary crime fiction.
Jun 04, 2015 Angela rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, nzauthor
It's been a while since I indulged in reading murder mysteries, but it's an added bonus that this series takes place in NZ, and this book in Dunedin. Some aspects of the characters are laid on a bit thickly -- I sometimes find myself thinking, "Who talks like that, other than in a somewhat cheesy movie script?" Maybe I just don't have a broad enough circle of acquaintances. But certainly a fun, light read and difficult to put down.
Lhizz Browne
Nov 02, 2009 Lhizz Browne rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
Good fun read. Always nice to read something set in my home town and I found the story and pacing really suspenseful. The characters were very believable, although I felt that the voice of Sam Shephard suffers from the same colloquial quirkiness as Tempe Brennan (some people probably like this, but I find it irritating) But I'll definitely look for the other Sam Shephard books: one prequel to this book and a sequel due out soon.
Mar 20, 2013 Alberta rated it liked it
I agree with the other reviews, so won't get into details. At first I found her voice annoying as it seemed very whiny. However, the story took shape and it became less annoying. It was quite gripping. I did guess who the bad guy was before it was revealed and thought it was a shame, but it made for an interesting plot.
Aug 04, 2008 Erin rated it really liked it
An excellent follow up to the first crime novel by Vanda Symon. I felt like I was following Sam Shepard around Dunedin on her path to solve the murder, great detail to location. I would reccommend to folks who are looking for a fast pace, contemporary crime novel.
Lydia Clarke
Sep 20, 2008 Lydia Clarke rated it liked it
I liked this. It was fast, but entertaining. I read it in one go, definitely gripping. I like the characters and while I didn't find the plot entirely believable, I enjoyed the ride. :)
Ann Krembs
Nov 22, 2010 Ann Krembs rated it it was amazing
This is a fun book! If you are a girl, and you enjoy the Alex Rider series, then you are really going to love this one. A girl is the espionage heroine.
Sue Caldwell
Mar 01, 2011 Sue Caldwell rated it really liked it
A great sequel to Overkill, based in Dunedin, fast pace twists and turns with fun on the way, highly recomended.
Jan 12, 2009 Andrea rated it it was amazing
Suspenseful read right to the very end. NZ author, story based in Dunedin. Excellend female cop.
Jul 26, 2011 Emma added it
Vanda's third book CONTAINMENT is due out later in the year - looks good!
Jul 31, 2012 Sheri rated it it was amazing
Loved it light & Lacey nice female detective great characters likable
Pauline Lloyd
Dec 02, 2012 Pauline Lloyd rated it it was amazing
Couldn't put it down
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Other Books in the Series

Sam Shepherd (4 books)
  • Overkill (Sam Shepherd, #1)
  • Containment (Sam Shepherd, #3)
  • Bound (Sam Shepherd, #4)

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