The mystery at the heart of the Hunting Shadows unfolds slowly and gradually, as the result of patient, detail-oriented police work. This is the 16thThe mystery at the heart of the Hunting Shadows unfolds slowly and gradually, as the result of patient, detail-oriented police work. This is the 16th title in Charles Todd's Inspector Ian Rutledge series, featuring the WWI veteran Scotland Yard detective.
This mystery takes place in England's fen country, low-lying, foggy marshes dotted with quiet villages. When two men are shot at public gatherings a few days apart, Rutledge is called in to find a connection and catch the mysterious shooter.
The story takes its time, creating atmosphere and drawing out the threads that turn into clues....more
The premise of this book is excellent - an American academic is named ambassador to Berlin in the early 1930s after Hitler's rise to chancellor. ThisThe premise of this book is excellent - an American academic is named ambassador to Berlin in the early 1930s after Hitler's rise to chancellor. This places an absolutely green diplomat as the US representative in a city that is about to wreak havoc across Europe and attempt to wipe out an entire race of people. Needless to say, he's not great at his job.
Ambassador Dodd takes his wife and two adult children, Bill and Martha to Berlin with him - calling this the experience of a lifetime. In reality, he entered into the diplomatic corps hoping to have more free time to dedicate to his multi-volume work on the history of the American South. It begins to be impossible not to roll one's eyes at the repeated mention of Dodd's beloved "Old South" and his irresponsible folly in taking on an ambassadorship as a means to gain free time.
Much of the story centers on Martha, who eventually sees the light, but begins her journey simply infatuated with the lovely progress the Nazi party is making and all the well-mannered, interesting people she meets at parties. She becomes romantically entangled with a fair number of these gentlemen, including the head of the Gestapo, a Russian who isn't at all what he seems and practically everyone else who crosses her path. Oh Martha. Have some self-respect.
The premise is interesting but the telling is quite drawn out and I struggled to relate to these characters who were doing so little and behaving so foolishly when I know all the time what's coming and how incredibly world-changing it's going to be. For example, Ambassador Dodd dislikes the Nazis and registers his disagreement with their violence and their politics by not going to their dinner parties. You tell 'em, Dodd!
There are interesting details and glimpses into life in the Nazi ranks and as a German citizen at this time in history, but as a whole I found that the book dragged and the characters were beyond maddening. Still, Erik Larson is a good writer and I'll always be interested to learn about his latest subject....more
Nonfiction can be very dry on audio, but Devil in the White City is a great example of an engaging nonfiction audiobook. The storytelling manages to bNonfiction can be very dry on audio, but Devil in the White City is a great example of an engaging nonfiction audiobook. The storytelling manages to be in-depth and detailed without losing the interest of the audience.
Also, I'm a scaredy-cat. Like crazy. But somehow, this is a detailed story about a serial killer that I found interesting instead of terrifying.
The backdrop of the Chicago World's Fair is fascinating in its own way, directing the reader's attention to the suspense of accomplishing the huge ordeal of building the White City in a limited time period....more