25 April 2009

Unfinished: Deadly Nightshade by Cynthia Riggs

Publisher's Summary: "Victoria Trumbull has lived most of her 92 years on the Island. Like other Islanders, she knows the sound of the sea in calm and stormy weather - and she knows the sounds that do not belong. One evening while Victoria waits on the dock for her granddaughter to return with the harbormaster, she hears a chilling scream followed by a splash and the sound of tires skidding on sand. She investigates and discovers a mutilated body floating on the outgoing tide.

With her granddaughter, Domingo the harbormaster, a swarm of Island characters, and a few mysterious visitors, Victoria manages to get in a good bit of detective work. However, she isn't able to prevent further homicide. As the tension mounts, Victoria concocts a scheme to reveal the killer and still has time to prepare her traditional Saturday night supper of Boston baked beans.

While the summer visitors bask on the beach, sail Island waters, shop in the Island stores, the reader is treated to the magic, the history and the texture of 'the Vineyard' with its year-round characters real enough to include the reader in their conversations."

Why I Abandoned the Book: I decided to listen to this first-in-series mystery because I liked the premise, I love listening to mysteries, and I love the narrator, Davina Porter. I started the book over three times and just couldn't get past about chapter 3 because I had trouble following the plot, the harbormaster's personality and his sexist language bothered me, and I thought the transitions between scenes were rather abrupt. Worse, as much as I love Porter's voice, I just couldn't buy the idea of a British/Scots accent in the mouths of the residents of Martha's Vineyard. Someday, I may give this one a try in print, but I'm afraid I've been soured on whole idea.

A Quick Look at Reviews: I took a glance at the reviews on the commercial sites and found that the audio version of Deadly Nightshade gets fairly low marks. The print version gets mixed reviews from customers.

I also found a full review by Joy of Joy's Blog, written last year, in which she notes that "the book didn't live up to my expectations," but she also says, "the character of Victoria is so attractive, I think it would be only right to give her a second chance."

If you love Martha's Vineyard or are just curious, you may have better luck than I did.

Print published by Signet, 2003
ISBN-13: 978-0451208163
Audio by Blackstone Audio, 2006
ISBN-13: 9780786153374


Dorte H 4/25/09, 8:57 AM  

I have been waiting for your judgment. I can follow your objections, but - like yourself - I wonder whether the experience would be the same in print.
I never listen to books, because I have concentration problems, and even in print, it can be difficult for me to decide whether the book is to blame - or my foggy brain :)
So no listening to anything but music for me.

Meghan 4/25/09, 9:47 AM  

While I've been looking for more mysteries that I might enjoy, I don't think this one would be for me. If you listen to the beginning three times and still find it confusing, I'm sure my scattered brain would never be able to handle it, even in print! Thanks for the review.

bermudaonion 4/25/09, 9:54 AM  

Sorry this didn't work for you. There are too many good books out there to spend your time on one that's not.

Shannansbooks 4/25/09, 10:20 AM  

Sorry you did not like the audiobook. I am having a hard time with one of my monthly reads myself but I am almost looking at the finish line. I might be the only one to abandon The Three Musketeers. I guess this one will be crossed of my list.

Molly 4/25/09, 10:42 AM  

I would say you gave it a valiant effort - restarting the book 3 times. It is always with mixed feelings that I abandon a book, but life is simply too short to spend my precious leisure time doing something that is not enjoyable.

Ashley 4/25/09, 12:04 PM  

I have a hard time following audio books! I am the kind of person that has to see the words to really soak them up, so I really applaud your ability to listen to books! It's something I want to try next time I go on a road trip.

Also, I recently received my first blog award and I chose you to pass it on to!

Cathy 4/25/09, 1:53 PM  

I read the print version a few years ago and was monumentally underwhelmed. Unfortunately, I've slept several times since then and can't remember details!

Amy 4/25/09, 4:22 PM  

Hah! :-D Yeah that's why I avoid audio books. I can't picture the character with the narrators voice. Too bad you didn't like it though...I've learned that if a book isn't good by the 3rd chapter you shouldn't waste your time on it.

Beth F 4/26/09, 3:56 AM  

Dorte: I know a lot of people who have trouble with audiobooks. I wonder if you would have an easier time with this book (in print) than I did in audio.

Meghan: I think there a ton of good series out there, and no reason to force myself to keep reading.

Bermuda/Kathy: Totally agree.

Shannansbooks: LOL about the Musketeers. But why waste valuable reading time.

Molly: I like to give a book more than one start, but this one was just not going to click with me.

GirtlThatReads: Start off with something that doesn't take too much concentration.

Cathy: I'm not at all surprised at your opinion or that you've forgotten the detail.

Amy: Sometimes the voices are so great, but here's a case of a narrator whom I love being totally mismatched for a book.

Sandy Nawrot 4/26/09, 6:25 AM  

Wow. I implicitly trust your opinion, and I know your attitude towards Davina Porter is the same as mine - she is fabulous. I think sometimes if the plot is really twisted, it can be hard to follow while listening. I like to think I'm pretty good at audios, but if you had trouble, that does it for me.

Melody 4/26/09, 8:49 PM  

I'm sorry this book didn't work for you. I had only tried one audiobook so far and just couldn't get into it. I guess I'm more of a book person, hehe. Let's hope the next book will be better!

Beth F 4/27/09, 6:20 AM  

Sandy: Thanks for your faith in me! It's well placed for this book!

Melody: If you're at all unsure of audios, this is not for you.

blacklin 4/30/09, 8:27 PM  

I think it's just as relevant to write an entry about why you didn't finish a book as it is when you finish one. Potential readers of the unfinished book can gain an idea of whether they want to read it themselves or not just as with a "regular" book review. The difference I see between the two types of reviews is this: With a review dealing with an unfinished book, the person reading your review already knows that you didn't like the book in some way--a way that prevented you from finishing it. It's like a stripped down book review getting straight to the point: Why I couldn't stand this book--without going through all the other stuff.

A while ago, I posted a review for a book that I couldn't finish.

I like your layout for this review.

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