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  • But for the Grace

  • A DC Smith Investigation Series, Book 2
  • Written by: Peter Grainger
  • Narrated by: Gildart Jackson
  • Length: 9 hrs and 16 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (78 ratings)

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But for the Grace

Written by: Peter Grainger
Narrated by: Gildart Jackson
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Publisher's Summary

"We are living in the departure lounge," said Ralph Greenwood, "and flights leave with monotonous regularity." So when another resident of the Rosemary House care home is found dead in her chair one Saturday evening in December, no one is very surprised - not until the results of a routine post-mortem reveal something extraordinary. Sergeant DC Smith and his team have to tread carefully as they investigate what took place, and Smith himself has to confront some difficult memories. Others, meanwhile, seem intent on getting him to leave the force altogether, while, despite his best efforts, his social life also becomes a little more complicated. To top it all, Kings Lake has been waiting weeks for the snow to fall, in a winter that seems as if it will never end.

©2014 Peter Grainger (P)2016 Tantor

What listeners say about But for the Grace

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Thoroughly enjoyed

I have read all of the DC Smith and Kings Lake books, leaving this one for last. Wasn’t sure about the subject matter. Once again, the two Peters have delivered a thoughtful, thought provoking and enjoyable book. Just enough detail to keep the plot moving forward, yet allowing space for the listener to consider the words. Having now gone backward in the series, I realize even more that there are no inconsequential details in the story telling. Knowing the end in “The Truth” makes this earlier book even more interesting. Looking forward to a future listen of the whole series. And really hoping we haven’t heard the last of DC.

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But for the grace by Peter Grainger

love these books. It is wonderful the way the detectives are shown to be so humane in their dealings with the sujects in the cases they investigate. A refreshing change to the usual detective
books I have been reading of late.
Gildart Jacksons reading really has its own quality, soon enough he draws you into the story and fills your heart with a true sense of understanding human nature.

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  • Lulu
  • 2016-10-15

Charm Largely Gone

I was pleasantly surprised by the first book in this series. I knew nothing about it when I started reading, but was instantly drawn to the melancholy warmth of the main character DC Smith. The plot was complicated enough to keep my interest, but not so complex I was lost. And several of the secondary characters were interesting enough that I was anxious to get to know them better.

Unfortunately, I found But for the Grace, the second book in this series, largely unenjoyable.
Smith's personality no longer comes across as kind, generous and a little out of touch, but almost cruel in some of his comments and actions. I couldn't recognize the DC Smith from the first book in the DC Smith from this. There were subplots that seemed totally disconnected from the primary plot, including the introduction of two women who could be potential romantic interests for Smith, but once introduced he didn't seem to know what to do with them.

I think my biggest issue though was the case he was working on. It did not qualify as a mystery and there was no suspense. It quickly became apparent what had happened and what would probably happen down the road and once you knew that, there really wasn't more story to tell. And Smith seemed to be persecuting and harassing people he thought might be victims rather then helping them.

I do not want to give any spoilers, but when I finished the book all I could think about was what if Smith had not been so slow in realizing what was happening as he interviewed a young woman. What if he had gotten there in time? Then what? What was he prepared to do to the perpetrator/victim? What was the point?

53 people found this helpful

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  • Sally
  • 2019-02-03

Wry humor along with sadness

This book tackles the tough issues of aging, illness, and dying with insightful compassion. We learn more about DC Smith’s personal loss and grief over the death of his wife, and listen as he weighs the pros and cons of beginning a new relationship. He wouldn’t mind some company, but isn’t so sure about intimacy with another person. I enjoyed the slow pace and the humor along the way. It’s a well-written, thought-provoking story. The narrator has a rocky start in the first chapter with an odd choice of voice for Dougie Waters. But that works itself out quickly and, after that, the narration is great.

22 people found this helpful

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  • Ted
  • 2018-04-25

I Like Sergeant DC Smith. He Doesn't Disappoint.

The setting is British. DC Smith is now a Sergeant of Detectives who was once among the top administrators in the police force. Why? Start this series with the previous book, An Accidental Death to find out why. Here we've got a nursing home death and a drawing room murder mystery. You will probably recall the details of But For The Grace maybe for three days after finishing the book. Not to worry, Peter Grainger's written a police procedural entertainment. And it entertained me well. I'll buy the next in the series, Luck and Judgement.

What more can I say? Oh, Gildart Jackson's read is fine. He NEVER intrudes, creating an ensemble cast that is uniquely defined in each character's own voice. Which makes Jackson a very good actor at the least.

21 people found this helpful

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  • Jane Brody
  • 2017-01-13

Great writing and wonderful narration

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Peter Grainger is a wonderful writer, Lots to think about, sensitive to mood and character, and wonderful images.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

No, I don't like to be on the edge of my seat. I like to be taken into the story and into the mind of the detective. And I like a leisurely read.

What does Gildart Jackson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Wonderful delineation of characters, lovely sense of mood and images. His knowledge of when to hurry it along and when to take his time is quite beautiful.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

I don't like tag lines.

Any additional comments?

This book seems to end too many times, Grainger doesn't seem to want to let go of the story when it is over and he hasn't developed the romantic relationships enough to earn his ending.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Kathi
  • 2017-10-21

Thought-provoking story

I felt a bit lukewarm about the first book in this series. But I find this one more compelling. It’s hard to strictly define it—somewhat police procedural, a little bit of whodunnit, it seems mostly (to me) to be a story that intends to challenge deeply conflicted ethical issues around aging and dying.

Sgt DC Smith and his team work a case of an unnatural death in a senior living home. Is it suicide, assisted suicide, murder? And has it happened before? The listener is given a lot of opportunity to consider those possibilities, but the author also uses this book to explore some of the fine lines among these actions, and invites the listener to examine society’s attitudes toward them.

I liked this second book better than the first, and also want to say that the narration is good as well. It is not a fast page-turner, so much as a book that slowly reveals the story As the listener is invited to think about the topic on several levels.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Dr. William J. Kass
  • 2016-10-23

Important concerns not gore

Would you consider the audio edition of But for the Grace to be better than the print version?

I don't read these books, only listen to them.

What other book might you compare But for the Grace to and why?

An Accidental Death, for one, the first in this series. Both books address important issues and concerns of our time. The author is insightful and profound in his analyses.

Which scene was your favorite?

I did enjoy the scene of DS Smith interviewing the granddaughter who was described as a self-assured female character, appreciated by the police interrogating her.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There were several areas in the book which addressed assisted dying that I though were well done.

Any additional comments?

Please, Audible, make sure you acquires the rest of this series.

16 people found this helpful

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  • LannaQ
  • 2018-03-20

Good Read

I would skip many of the reviews if I were you ... Many give away the plot. I would have to say I did guess what happened half way through the book so it’s not a suspenseful story but the narrator and the witty / clever text makes it worth the time.

I can hardly wait to hear what DC Smith gets himself into next.

15 people found this helpful

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  • J.B.
  • 2017-02-05

Story is Enthrallling, Imaginative and Unusual.

But for the Grace: A DC Smith Investigation Series, Book 2, by Peter Grainger and narrated Bb Gildart Jackson. Series: D. C. Smith, Book 2. You cannot want a better crime investigation series. Each book centers on an obtuse murder, with seemingly few factual guides to finding the perpetrator. So far the offender leaves us in a moral dilemma about whether they should be punished for their acts or praised for their ethical virtues.

Do not let that opening description that these socially important statements of integrity make you believe the factual stories told are not capable of drawing you into the “who done it” and why! They are really great stories dealing with a crime and its solution. The stories are page-turners and you will find it difficult to put down the book (or shut off the reading). The first novel in the series, An Accidental Death, dealt with why illegal drugs are used, persons who commit war crimes, and our innate prejudices of aliens who move into our societies. This second book is more focused on old age and the right to end one’s life. Euthanasia. Its theoretical arguments, for and against, are both demonstrated through plot developments and here and there concepts spoken by the characters in the plot. Engaging to say the least.

Our hero is a police officer past retirement but who stays on because he loves his work and he is very good at it. His cast of surrounding characters is all interesting. The stories are told in a soft cadence but once the book starts the rhythmic beat never stops. And therein Peter Grainger does his job masterfully.

Here we have a death in an old age home that turns out to be not death by old age but rather heroin overdose. I know, sounds mundane. It is on the contrary imaginative and unusual.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Robert L. Sexton Jr.
  • 2018-03-13

Not much of a story line

I bought the first in this series because it was on sale and I am always looking for a good series. The first book had a good story and I liked the narrator and characters, so I bought this book. This book was just boring to me and I barely made it all the way through. Maybe the abridged would have been better.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Wayne
  • 2017-02-08

Second novel in the D. C. Smith series

Like the first novel in this series this one deals with an important legal issue of today. In this case it is the right to die when dealing with terminal medical issues. But For the Grace deals with the issue in a mature and thoughtful manner without entering the arena of advocacy. This is a wonderful police procedural mystery with outstanding narration.

11 people found this helpful