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Publisher's Summary

When lawyer Jenny Cooper is appointed Severn Vale District Coroner, she's hoping for a quiet life and space to recover from a traumatic divorce, but the office she inherits from the recently deceased Harry Marshall contains neglected files hiding dark secrets and a trail of buried evidence.

Could the tragic death in custody of a young boy be linked to the apparent suicide of a teenage prostitute - and the fate of Marshall himself? Jenny's curiosity is aroused. Why was Marshall behaving so strangely before he died? What injustice was he planning to uncover? And what caused his abrupt change of heart?

In the face of powerful and sinister forces determined to keep both the truth hidden and the troublesome coroner in check, Jenny embarks on a lonely and dangerous one-woman crusade for justice which threatens not only her career but also her sanity.

©2009 M. R. Hall (P)2009 BBC Audiobooks America

What listeners say about The Coroner

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Best book of the year, so far.

"I'm a Coroner. I spend my life laying things to rest . . ."

Somehow I came across "Coroner" in hardcover when it was first published. I loved it so much I bought two subsequent volumes in hardcover, too, as soon as they came out. I don't think I've ever done that before. All three are magnificent. I was delighted to see them now in Audible and already bought all three again, and am looking forward to the two more that M. R. Hall has now written. These books are the best of the best, and the narration by Sian Thomas is absolutely perfect. She's exactly what I'd expect Coroner Jenny Cooper to sound like. (Not that it matters, but I was astonished to see that "M. R. Hall" is actually Matthew Hall, a young man who created a pitch-perfect female as his protagonist. I didn't realize that until I'd read all three books and looked up the author out of curiosity. Wow! Well done!)

There's much to love about these books: the fascinating details about the unusual job of coroner -- a bit different in England than in the States, but no less interesting. The locale, especially the house Jenny just bought, a remote, greatly-in-need-of-care farmhouse I expect most of us would give our eye teeth to live in. And Jenny herself. I can't help but compare her to Lynda LaPlante's memorable 'Lorraine Paige', that brilliant but much-abused alcoholic police detective who struggles against her many personal demons in LaPlante's "Cold" series, "Cold Heart", etc. For Jenny, it's not alcohol so much as Valium that's her demon. Coming off a nasty, long-term marriage to an arrogant surgeon, followed by a divorce in which their teenage son is sent to live with her husband -- then learning that she was appointed as Coroner more or less as a 'charity' case -- Jenny has grown dependent on the drug to maintain, with the struggle to hide her dependence almost as much of a problem as is the stress of everything else. All of this makes the unquestionably brilliant Jenny Cooper an immensely sympathetic protagonist, especially given her determination to see justice done for the dead "clients" she's responsible for.

It's really a misnomer to call these "crime" novels, because although the setting indeed involves crimes and courts, its the characters who hold the real attraction, and Jenny Cooper is a winner in every respect. Just one warning: If you buy 'Coroner', be sure you have enough credits to buy the rest of the series, too. You won't want to wait to buy them.

36 people found this helpful

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

Not your average mystery novel

The Coroner is different from most crime novels because the "detective" is a lawyer who has taken the job of coroner in a small town in Wales. Thus her investigation methods are different from your typical sleuth, or even from a medical examiner/detective figure like Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta. I definitely learned a lot about coroner law, which is far more interesting than I expected!

The mystery itself is a bit bland. The courtroom scenes are far more gripping than the investigation, but overall the central plot is not exciting. Two juvenile offenders end up dead, one in custody and one who has just been released, and Jenny is suspicious of what happened at the facility where they both were detained. From there, it doesn't go anywhere you wouldn't expect it to, and it takes a bit too long to arrive at the conclusion. The main draw here is in the unique main character, and her unique career.

Jenny is fascinating, in part because she isn't a lovable protagonist. The fact that she suffers from panic attacks is one main focus of the novel, which I found compelling, but if you don't want to hear the explicit details of what it's like to have an anxiety disorder, this is not your next read. The idea of the damaged detective is nothing new, but Jenny Cooper's particular story--her mental illness, her anger about her recent divorce and job change, and her traumatic history--make her unusual for this genre. Sian Thomas's narration fits the character but is nothing spectacular.

Overall, I would recommend this as a good, but not great, mystery that is worth reading if you are looking for something a little different than the typical detective fare.

25 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I found another promising British series!

I alway look for new authors and narrators; I was thrilled to find this one. Author M.R. Hall and narrator Sian Thomas weaves together a small town tale about a new coroner who discovers secrets, suspicion and mystery. Quirky and colorful characters blend in with brilliant flair, thanks to Thomas. Kudos to both Hall and Thomas for bringing us another set I enjoy. Looking forward to more in this series, and there are quite a few I was thrilled to see. I had been on a rocky path lately with my choices of a few audiobooks. Thank you, Audible, for offering this awesome series. Very highly recommended!
👏👏👏👏👏

18 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Language

Did not appreciate the bad language and blasphemy and would not have listened to it had I known. The story was actually interesting but I found the main character unlikeable

11 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Hopeless and Pathetic

I can’t say I have ever read anything so depressing as this book! A drug addicted, high functioning, suicidal drunk talking the entire book about her need for pills and making excuses about it. I was hoping she would finally put herself out of her own misery and end the depressing tale of “woe is me”!
Enough was enough!

10 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Annoying heroine

Hard to listen to a woman wallow in self-pity for 12 hours. Drugs and booze, followed by the same. I eventually just wanted it to be over.

9 people found this helpful

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

good listen. I loved the reader.

the story is well put together and the characters, even the supporting ones, are well developed. the principal can be loved or hated. she is complicated and somewhat hard to love but she is a good damn coroner.

8 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

I really tried to like it

I love the reader! She’s the reason I downloaded this book. However, after 10 chapters it hasn’t picked up. Most of the story is about the main character struggling with a drug and alcohol addiction. It drags on and on ad nauseum about pill taking and how it affects her life. It drowned out the storyline. I’d give this a hard pass if I could do over.

7 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Rather Dull

A procedural mystery with an unlikeable 'protagonist' plods to an ending. Overall, it was pretty disappointing.
The narration, however, was excellent.

6 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

A story that doesn’t go much of anywhere

I really wanted to like this but it just never went anywhere. The main character had no real substance other than alcoholism and drug addiction which didn’t even get dealt with. She was pretty unlikable as a main character to me. The “love interest” just seemed to be there for the sake of being there. He had no real substance at all. The plot itself was underwhelming. I won’t bother with the other books in the series. The narrator was the only bright point.

3 people found this helpful