Solve: Harry Hole

On anxiously awaiting the latest from Jo Nesbø and his Norwegian PI.

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POLICE by Jo Nesbø, Read by John Lee, Random House Audio/ Books on Tape

Last week I blogged about listening to a debut so this week I’m turning to the tried and true. We all have those series we love, and we start anticipating the next installment roughly 30 seconds after finishing the current one. If you’re a mystery lover, it’s darned hard not to have a plethora of such series. For me, one of those is Jo Nesbø’s Harry Hole series.

I have enjoyed most all of Nesbø’s books, but I’m especially fond of his Harry Hole series, maybe partly because that’s how I discovered Nesbø and maybe partly because the narrators have consistently performed these audios so well. This is a rare series situation where I enjoy the narrations of both Robin Sachs and John Lee equally. While their interpretations of Hole are distinct, each is true to Nesbø’s hero.

The series was published a little irregularly in the United States. We were introduced to Hole with the third of Nesbø’s series, THE REDBREAST. Ultimately, though the first (THE BAT) and the second (COCKROACHES) were recorded for U.S. listeners. So if you’re new to the series, you can listen in order. The first two books are great, but even better if you don’t have the knowledge of the end of the series ahead of time.

This month Harry Hole returns in THE THIRST. It’s been a few years, and several standalones from Nesbø, since we last visited the flawed Norwegian cop-turned-private-investigator in POLICE, and I’ve been anticipating him every second since. Have you?

 

Tease: Duking It Out

What is it about dukes that makes them so appealing to romance listeners?

Admit it—we’re fascinated with royalty. Just look at the commemorative plates/snowglobes/spoons your relatives scooped up to celebrate the marriage of William and Kate. In the British peerage, dukes are in the direct line of royal succession, and many ducal titles were originally created for the ruler’s siblings. In the Regency period (1811–1820), for example, a popular setting for historical romances, King George III’s progeny enjoyed the dukedoms of Cornwall, Rothesay, York, Albany, Clarence, Kent, Strathearn, Cumberland, Teviotdale, Sussex, and Cambridge, to name a few. For romance readers, dukes are the best of both worlds. They are figures of immense wealth and power (and, of course, they are handsome to boot), with the freedom to pursue outside interests—and maybe, in the world of romantic fantasy—to marry a commoner! Far from common, these six audiobooks about dukes will be a royal treat for listeners.

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BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DUKE: Season for Scandal, Book 3
by Kelly Bowen, read by Ashford McNab
Hachette Audio

Ashford McNab creates a believable cast of characters spanning from the highest to the lowest members of society, with dangerous dealings with the “devil” in a gambling parlor. A recommended title for those who prefer their romances unabashedly feminist and a little mysterious. You can start the series with DUKE OF MY HEART or dive right into BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DUKE!

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IF THE DUKE DEMANDS: A Capturing the Carlisles Novel
Earphones Award Winner

by Anna Harrington, read by Justine Eyre
Hachette Audio

Narrator Justine Eyre’s voice is textured and full of emotion as she narrates the first in this Regenecy romance trilogy. Eyre gives each character a unique voice, from the determined-sounding Miranda Hodgkins to the deeper, more forceful tone of Sebastian Carlisle, the Duke of Trent.

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THE TRUTH ABOUT LOVE AND DUKES: Dear Lady Truelove
by Laura Lee Guhrke, read by Carolyn Morris
Harper Audio

Narrator Carolyn Morris draws listeners into the historical romance of Henry, Duke of Torquil, and Irene Deverill, a publisher who has printed provocative columns. Morris helps listeners envision the world of the aristocracy that the characters inhabit and leaves them rooting for Henry and Irene to overcome their differences to find love together.

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DUKE OF SIN: Maiden Lane, Book 9
by Elizabeth Hoyt, read by Ashford McNab
Hachette Audio

The Duke of Montgomery, Valentine Napier, is uncertain in his love of Bridget Crumb, his housekeeper. Narrator Ashford McNab convinces listeners that the despicable duke has hidden depths and motivations to redeem him as he and Bridget join forces to deal with secrets in both of their lives.

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WHILE THE DUKE WAS SLEEPING: The Rogue Files, Book 1
Earphones Award Winner
by Sophie Jordan, read by Carmen Rose
Harper Audio

Carmen Rose narrates heroine Poppy Fairchurch’s vulnerability and hero Struan Mackenzie’s no-nonsense temperament and virility in this historical romance. In Rose’s capable voice, the story, set in London and at the duke’s country home at Christmastime, is a satisfying romp.

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NO GOOD DUKE GOES UNPUNISHED: The Third Rule of Scoundrels
by Sarah MacLean, read by Rosalyn Landor
Harper Audio

Rosalyn Landor’s lovely British accent and engaging delivery provide the perfect pairing for this appealing historical romance. Handsome William Harrow is dubbed the “Killer Duke” after the apparent murder of his soon-to-be stepmother, young heiress Mara Lowe. If you love NO GOOD DUKE GOES UNPUNISHED, listen to the next in the series, NEVER JUDGE A LADY BY HER COVER!

Do you have a favorite duke whose tales you love? What is it about dukes that keeps you coming back for more stories? Share your favorites with us in the comments!

Solve: Moms of Mystery

From Deborah Crombie’s Gemma James to Gregg Hurwitz’s Eve Hardaway, we’re celebrating the moms of mystery!

Sunday is Mother’s Day (don’t forget your mom!), so I wanted to highlight some of my favorite moms in crime fiction. Let’s face it, in detective fiction, the moms are usually relegated to smaller supporting roles, with some exceptions. It’s hard to fight crime and raise kids at the same time. Not impossible, though, as Deborah Crombie’s Gemma James illustrates. Granted, she has some help from her husband and partner in crime, Duncan Kincaid.

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Kathy Reich’s Temperance Brennan is a mother with a grown daughter. That frees up more of her time to investigate all those bones!

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Olivia Spellman in Lisa Lutz’s The Spellman Files series can be a questionable mother at times, but she definitely provides plenty of humor.

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Mysteries with amateur sleuths feature more mothers, such as Diane Mott Davidson’s single mom, Goldy Bear Schultz; Karen MacInerney’s stay-at-home mom, Margie Peterson; and of course Donna Andrews’s Meg Langslow, mother of twins.

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And the thriller sub-genre often puts the mother front and center—sometimes in disturbing ways. Thrillers show us just how fierce mothers can be, like Marcus Sakey’s Anna Reed in GOOD PEOPLE, Carla Buckley’s THE DEEPEST SECRET, or Gregg Hurwitz’s DON’T LOOK BACK.

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Moms help make the world go ’round, and that’s certainly true in the mystery and suspense realm. Who are some of YOUR favorite moms of mystery?