Firehorse; Laura Ingallis Wilder; Doctors Who Killed
Charmaine Chan: e- and audiobook reviews for September 16
by Elizabeth Mitchell
The ending of Firehorse will send you straight to the internet to find out whether Neville Bardos, the 16.5-hand protagonist with attitude, made it to the Olympic Games in London. Such are the storytelling skills of Elizabeth Mitchell that you pace yourself to prolong the enjoyment of her Kindle Single, despite several occasions in which there's almost too much drama, such as the stable fire that killed six horses and left Neville with scorched lungs. That the ornery horse made it that far is a story in itself. Despite his pedigree, he'd been sold many times because of consistently poor performances. But he'd never had an owner like Boyd Martin, who saved the horse from being turned into glue by buying him for A$850 and eventually bringing him from Australia to the US. Martin then prepared Neville for equestrian eventing (dressage, jumping and cross-country). This is a classic tale of underdogs who have triumphed. Mitchell writes with obvious knowledge of the subject but that should not turn off readers who are not horsey types.
Laura Ingalls Wilder
by Charles River Editors
Amazon Digital Services
Those familiar with the television programme Little House on the Prairie, or the books by the protagonist of that series, Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957), might be interested in this biography, The book shows clearly Ingalls Wilder's importance, and not just in the West: the Japanese know of her through animated TV shows in Japanese, based on her books. She nurtured her storytelling skills after her elder sister, Mary, became blind because of scarlet fever. Her farming family endured a "hardscrabble" life. Things seemed only to become more trying after she married Almanzo Wilder, who suffered crop failure and later diphtheria, which left him partially crippled and cost the life of their first child. To supplement their income, Wilder wrote a weekly newspaper column called "As a Farm Woman Thinks". Most surprising were her liberal views (she insisted "obey" be nixed from wedding vows) and the fact that she was in her 65th year when her first book was published.
Doctors Who Killed
by RJ Parker
(read by Beth MacEwan )
This book, narrated by Beth MacEwan in a quavering, elderly woman's voice, will give you the creeps. The project of RJ Parker, Doctors Who Killed profiles five physicians who took, rather than saved, lives. Murder methods ranged from potassium injections to arsenic poisoning and, in the case of HH Holmes (1861-1896), suffocation: he placed some of his victims in airless bank vaults and waited till they expired. Then he would strip off their flesh and turn them into skeletons to be sold to medical schools. The New Hampshire, US-born polygamist is suspected of killing as many as 200 people. Harold Shipman, the British general practitioner who committed suicide in jail in 2004, was responsible for at least 15 deaths. A tip from a funeral parlour led to his arrest after the discovery of heroin in one of his victims. It was then that he was found to own a typewriter used to forge the deceased's will. If the book were a TV documentary, it would be aired late at night on a cable channel.