Parlor Games by Maryka Biaggio, narrated by Leslie Carroll
Published in audio by Random House Audio, published in print by Doubleday, both imprints of Random House
Of course it would end like this, with May on trial for extortion. After all, she has been named the “Most Dangerous Woman” by the Pinkerton Detective Agency and one Pinkerton in particular seems to be trailing her. All May has ever wanted was to provide for her family and get out of her small Michigan town. Chicago had promise, and was so close to home, but that damned Pinkerton Reed Doherty first targeted her there, necessitating a life on the move, always looking for the place she could settle down and be secure.
Thoughts on the story:
May is a fabulous, if possibly unreliable, main narrator. She’s smart, sly, and self-assured and her story is an absolutely fascinating one. Biaggio leads her readers all over Europe and the continental United States at the turn of the 20th century. Is May really a con woman? Does she just want a good and secure life? Both? Neither? Biaggio has a great sense of pacing, moving back and forth deftly between the trial and the years leading up to it, never losing her reader’s interest. This is the whole package: lovely writing, great story, amazing characters, and vivid settings.
Thoughts on the audio production:
If you pick up the audio, you actually get the whole package plus, because Leslie Carroll’s narration captures May beautifully. Like Biaggio, she has great pacing, and the voices she creates for the secondary and tertiary characters bring listeners even more fully into May’s story.
For more please see my review for Audiofile Magazine.
Such a fabulous book and, as good as I’m sure it is in print, the audio production adds that extra je ne sais quoi. I adored it, very highly recommended.
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