Review: This Bitter Treasure by S. W. Hubbard (Audio)

S. W. Hubbard: This Bitter Treasure (Palmyrton Estate Sale Mysteries #3); Narrator: Janelle Tedesco; audible, 8:39h; $19.95

Synopsis (taken from cover):


A dying invalid…a house full of treasures…a family haunted by tragedy.

Mystery and heartbreak await estate sale organizer Audrey Nealon when she accepts a lucrative new job in a posh New Jersey town. Eager to settle their mother’s estate and close the door on their elegant family home, the Eskew children hire Audrey to run an estate sale as their mother lies dying, tended by a home health aide. Every day Audrey works in the house, she discovers another valuable artwork and another family secret. How did the adored oldest son die? What’s wrong with the strange younger sister? Who is making off with rare books, antique silver, and vintage ball gowns? Most of all, how reliable are the dying woman’s deathbed ramblings?

As Audrey learns about the Eskew family’s tortured past, she’s forced to confront her own feelings about marriage and children. And when a murderer strikes, Audrey’s sense of justice compels her to defend the defenseless, no matter the risk to herself. Fans of Ninie Hammon and C. J. Lyons will enjoy this twist-ending mystery with a strong female sleuth and plenty of antiques, dogs, and humor.

My thoughts:

I had already listened to the first two books in that series, and I keenly awaited the launch of tome 3. Two days ago, I got a free copy for review. Of course I had to listen to it immediately, my other audio books took a back seat for the duration. 🙂

What can I say: I loved it just as much as the first two sequels. The story is firmly rooted in today’s society, with all the problems we are confronted with on a daily basis. There are lots of references to current events in this book, and the problems mentioned are  certainly a reality for a lot of  people. I’ve mentioned it in my previous reviews, but it needs to be said again: I totally love the language. It is so refreshingly ‘normal’, which is one huge factor in making the characters and the story so very convincing. Plus: there is no foul language, no swearing of any kind– it’s like a holiday, because lots of authors seem to think that their stories are more authentic if they use a lot of swearing. Let me tell you: swearing and foul language don’t add any authenticity to a story, at least not in the world I live in. I don’t know anybody who swears a lot, and I don’t want to, either.

This is why I really appreciate the Palmyrton Estate Sale Mysteries: they’re great suspense, convincing and authentic without swearing.

The budding romance between Sean and Audrey has gone up a step, they are committed now, and again, the story convinces without describing any sex scenes ( which really is another beef I have with lots of other stories, where I’m regaled with detailed sexual encounters between the main characters. Again: this is not necessary to make the reader part of a romance. We  all have our imagination and I for one don’t need those page fillers. They’re usually ridiculous and boring and make me wish I could skim the audio book the way I would skim a print).

The Palmyrton Estate Sale Mysteries series is a great example of wonderful story telling: the characters, the language, the mystery, the wit and humour: all make this an absolutely enjoyable story.

Janelle Tedesco again excels in narrating the story. Not only does she manage to give each character a distinctive voice, her accent and convincing speech impediment (when narrating Audrey’s father) are masterfully done. I was so engrossed that I had to chide myself and to deliberately switch the audio off in order to get some much needed sleep. It is a ‘page turner’, and I sincerely hope there’ll be more sequels, cause the characters feel like good friends.




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