Reviews (audio books, tv, movies, audio described theatre, and anything else that crops up)

The Penguin Lessons

The Penguin Lessons

In the 5 or more years my sight has deteriorated further new technology has improved beyond our wildest dreams. Nowadays all I need is an iPad, a mobile phone and a smart tv to access most of the things I want. Of course, there is always more and I try to keep up but I’m happy with what I have at the moment. This blog, therefore is moving more in the direction of what I use technology for and this month I will start with audio book reviews.

At present I subscribe to as it seems to be the most accessible but I would love to hear from readers who have links to and experience of other sources. Please let me have your comments and suggestions.

Reviews January 2018

All these books are available from

The Murder Stone, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surete de Quebec, book 4 by Louise Penny, narrated by Adam Sims.

This is the fourth in Louise Penny’s chief Inspector Gamache series set in or around the small Canadian village of Three Pines in Quebec province. An idyllic village close to a forest of secrets and which has more killings than Midsomer Murders. Penny explores character and environment with style, invention and superb description. The Murder Stone follows the story of the annual reunion of a dysfunctional family at a luxurious hotel just outside Three Pines. By coincidence the erudite and clever CI Gamache and his elegant wife are celebrating their anniversary at the same hotel when the Murder tales place. Satisfying formula but lots of local colour and interesting commentary about the differences between the French Canadians and the English. Although I thought this was the best of the series I have read so far I would recommend starting at the beginning in order to maintain the cast and settings. This is not a cosy read but it does fall into the category of comfortable.

Incidentally provide a free interview with Louise Penny.

The Penguin Lessons by Tom Michell, narrated by Bill Nighy.

Tom Michell was a young teacher in an elite boys’ boarding school in Argentina when he rescued an oil soaked penguin from a beach of dead oil drenched penguins in Uruguay. Initially furious, the penguin allows himself to be cleaned up and smuggled into Argentina by Tom Michell who intends to donate him to the zoo in Buenos Aires. This is a true story and an ecological plea to protect our environment. Beautifully read by Bill Nighy. I guarantee you will fall in love with the penguin in spite of the serious message of the book. Who knew!

The Year of Living Danishly Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country by Helen Russell, narrated by Lucy Price-Lewis.

Writer, Helen Russell, and her husband are given the opportunity to live in a small Danish town for a year. Initially sceptical about highly taxed Denmark’s status as the world’s happiest country they gradually get drawn in to the benefits of a truly democratic system with a grown up political agenda. They come to embrace the cold in the Danish way by either staying guilt free indoors in the warm or enjoying the environment properly clad in suitable clothing. They explore the culture from the delicious pastries to leisure activities to child raising. Inevitably things go wrong which makes the book more interesting but the way of life seems so stylish and wholesome that I wanted to book the next flight out. I was left feeling somewhat embarrassed by our greedy and adversarial policies. Ouch!

Busman’s Honeymoon by Dorothy L Sayers, narrated by Jane McDowell.

At last Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane are married to the joy of his mother and the dismay of family and several young women. Lord Peter could have had any pretty young woman and chose instead intellectual bluestocking crime writer, Harriet Vane. They have bought an old farmhouse in a village and set off with Lord Peter’s indispensable butler/valet. Of course there is a murder which requires all their brilliance to resolve. I loved this series when I was a teenager but am left uncomfortable now by its sexism, classicism and antisemitism.  Might be worth a read for the humour and period details.


Have been watching Suits on Netflix and wondering what kind of a Princess Meghan Markle will be. Any views anyone?

Collected links

The Murder Stone Audiobook

The Penguin Lessons Audiobook

The Year of Living Danishly Audiobook

Busman’s Honeymoon Audiobook

Suits on Netflix

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2 Responses to Reviews (audio books, tv, movies, audio described theatre, and anything else that crops up)

  1. I’ve always been a fan of the Sayers novels & I have fond memories of the Ian Carmichael audio books. Not sure I want to listen to anyone else reading them… The books are of their time & do have some objectionable attitudes but I enjoy them for the period detail & the relationship between Peter & Harriet. I have Danshly in my Audible library (it was recommended somewhere else) so I’ll look forward to listening to it.

    • Thank you for your inyrtrsting comment. I absolutely agree that You can’t beat Ian Carmichael reading Dorothy L Sayers. Hope you enjoy Danishly. I found it an easy read which left me with a surprising amount to think about.

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