• Murder in the Mill-Race

  • British Library Crime Classic
  • By: E.C.R. Lorac
  • Narrated by: David Thorpe
  • Length: 8 hrs and 25 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (106 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

When Dr Raymond Ferens moves to a practice at Milham in the Moor in north Devon, he and his wife are enchanted with the beautiful hilltop village lying so close to moor and sky. At first they see only its charm, but soon they begin to uncover its secrets - envy, hatred and malice. Everyone says that Sister Monica, warden of a children's home, is a saint - but is she? 

A few months after the Ferens' arrival her body is found drowned in the mill-race. Chief Inspector Macdonald faces one of his most difficult cases in a village determined not to betray its dark secrets to a stranger.

©1952 The Estate of E. C. R. Lorac (P)2020 Soundings

What listeners say about Murder in the Mill-Race

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A True Gem!

I bought this book because David Thorpe is one of my favorite narrators and I was looking for a cozy mystery to read at night. I'm not sure this is really a 'cozy' - it's not silly and inane like most in this classification seem to be - It's fairly serious but not gruesome, violent or gritty. The characters are lovely and Mr. Thorpe's interpretation of them is amazing. The writing is beautiful, the mystery a true puzzle, one I was unable to solve. I have listened to the book twice already; it's that good.

12 people found this helpful

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Very enjoyable

Lorac wrote carefully and intelligently and in an over worked genre quite originally. The style reminded me of Chiefs by Stuart Woods because it is simple and revelatory rather than artificially dramatic. Just enjoy it

10 people found this helpful

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Excellent British Mystery

I've been reading Lorac's work via Audible (hard to find in print) and this is one of the best. Every mystery writer should read her work. The characters are well drawn, the narratives within the primary story are interesting, and the pacing is right on target. While Detective MacDonald is the common character in Lorac's mysteries, he is not the primary focus - the story and characters are the focus. MacDonald does not intrude on the story, just is part of it. I really appreciated a writing strategy applied at the end where the elements of the mystery are summed up by MacDonald in a way that that invites the reader to guess at connections. That was fun. Another successful component here is the narration - one of the times I prefer an audiobook over a hardback - the dialects are incredibly well done and really carry the story along. Will look for more from this narrator. Highly recommended.

6 people found this helpful

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Delightful

You can skip the first 4 chapters as that is all about the new dr and his wife moving to the village and settling into their new home. Chapter 2 does introduce characters and set the stage. The death happens I. Chapter 4. I skipped chapter 3 entirely after getting weary of furniture placement in new home.

The death of Nurse and the investigations into the villagers is riveting. It was a very enjoyable book and the narrator, David Thorpe gave an outstanding performance.

4 people found this helpful

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  • CR
  • 09-13-20

Slow and dull

Not one of Lorac’s best. Moves very slowly and never very much mystery. The author must have styled the victim after someone or at least a type of person that she particularly hated because entire chapters are dedicated to character after character literally repeating the exact same words about how much they disliked the victim and how awful she was. I eventually skipped over half the book to just find out how it ended, only to discover that I had pegged it correctly in the beginning and that it was for pretty boring and expected reasons. I’m returning this one. Don’t waste your time.

3 people found this helpful

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Golden Age Mystert

Thoroughly enjoyed this mystery and another excellent narration by David Thorpe. Recently landed on this mystery with inspector McDonald. Have listened to 4 books by Lorac featuring inspector McDonald in the past week. I prefer the true mystery which relies more on analyzing motives, complex characters and solving the puzzle and getting at the answers (true Agatha Christie style) vs. trillers and suspense. I figured out who did early on but was kept engaged because of the various twists In characters and motives

2 people found this helpful

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Dandy murder in Mil-race

This is an amazing murder investigation on the Devonshire moor. It has so many twists that I had trouble keeping up with them. I thoroughly enjoyed Ins. MacDonald and the people of this town. Highly recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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Not a fan of narration

I encourage you to listen to a sample of this narrator before buying - I wish I had :-(. Story was ok, though largely missing the enjoyable trail of clues that makes good mysteries, enabling the reader to try to guess the solution along with the detective. However a different narrator, more tuned in to the actual text, might have made the book a lot more enjoyable for me.

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Very disappointing!

Characters uninteresting, plot rather stupid, reveal leaves you flat. Do not recommend it or author.

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Good classic, atmospheric mystery

I enjoyed this story. Very well written and narrated. All the voices were distinctly differentiated. The mystery wasn’t too hard to figure out but the atmosphere and descriptions of the landscape and people were very absorbing. Recommended.

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  • H. Tollyfield
  • 02-07-20

A classic crime novel, with some modern themes

The more I read/listen to the crime stories written by ECR Lorac, set in the post-war world of the 40's and 50's, the more I enjoy them. This novel draws strongly on the era of classic-crime novel in its structure and the way in which some of the key characters are drawn, but it also has some quite modern themes, surprising in a story written 70 or so years ago. The setting is a remote Devon village, which has turned in on itself, where everyone knows everyone else's business, but never openly talks about it. It is an enclosed, almost claustrophobic society, which is having to deal with the increasing incursions of outsiders, such as the new doctor and his slightly exotic wife and, of course, the two Yard detectives who come to investigate the murder of "Sister Monica" who is presented, at first as a "wonder" and a domineering saint. She is warden of the local children's home and it soon becomes clear that she psychologically abuses the children and the troubled young women whom she "trains" to enter service with the local bigwigs. The fascinating element of the story is how the two detectives go about unearthing the truth about wonderful Sister Monica, presenting the reality of her monstrous personality to the local people - high and low. There are some beautifully bizarre moments as the locals try to push back against the reality which is being presented to them so that they don't have to see and accept that all is far from well in their little world. I found this to be a thoroughly absorbing and enjoyable story.

10 people found this helpful

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