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Publisher's Summary

The first book in a new series by the creator of Inspector McLevy.

New Year's Day - and through the misty streets of Victorian Edinburgh, an elegant female figure walks the cobblestones with a certain vengeful purpose. Jean Brash, the mistress of the Just Land, brings her cool intelligence to solving a murder, a murder that took place in her own bawdy house (the best in Edinburgh and her pride and joy). A prominent judge, strangled and left dangling, could bring her whole life to ruin, and she didn't haul herself off the streets, up through low, dirty houses of pleasure and violent vicious men, to let that come to pass.

The search for the killers will take Jean back into her own dark past as she uncovers a web of political and sexual corruption in the high reaches of the Edinburgh establishment. A young boy's death long ago is demanding justice, but as the body count increases, she has little time before a certain Inspector James McLevy comes sniffing round like a wolf on the prowl. Jean may be on the side of natural justice, but is she on the side of the law? Or will the law bring her down?

©2016 David Ashton (P)2016 John Murray Press

What listeners say about Mistress of the Just Land

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Great continuation of previous series

Thoroughly enjoyed this new series which continues from where the earlier one stopped. Great to have the familiar and well developed characters back. Interesting storyline. Great narrators.

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  • Anthony Scheinman
  • 2016-10-19

SIOBHAN REDMOND BRINGS JEAN BRASH TO LIFE!

What made the experience of listening to Mistress of the Just Land the most enjoyable?

There were three reasons why this audio adaptation was so enjoyable. First of all was the performance of Siobhan Redmond (the voice on "Jean Brash" in the BBC Radio 4 series of MCLEVY); as a narrator, she really brings Jean Brash's humor and ferocity of determination to life ... but then she's had many years and twelve series to hone her craft! Secondly, while I might have loved to hear Brian Cox ("McLevy" himself") narrate the parts where McLevy (a supporting character this time) appears, David Ashton narrates it in a way that makes me feel that "Lieutenant Roach" (his role in the series) is telling the story. Finally was the way David Ashton uses his voice to narrate the rhymes used to introduce each chapter; these are definitely nursery rhymes I never grew up on, but they way he reads them makes me want to hear more!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Naturally, since the story is about and concerns her, my favorite character was Jean Brash.

Have you listened to any of Siobhan Redmond and David Ashton ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

While I have heard both in the BBC Radio 4 series MCLEVY, this was my first time hearing them in audio=book format.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No extreme reaction, but I thoroughly enjoyed it! I hope Ms. Redmond will continue as narrator should any more "Jean Brash" mysteries be written and then adapted for audio-book.

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  • Stephanie
  • 2017-01-23

David Ashton: Great author, bad narrator

I do really love the way David Ashton writes. Excellent descriptions to really get the imagination where it needs to be to see the places and people in the books. I'm usually not one to get hung up on a narrator's quirks but I just couldn't ignore them this time.
Luckily most of the story is read by Siobhan, who is Jean Brash in this book and the McLevy Collection Seris.

After enjoying the McLevy Collection I needed more of my favorite characters.

I just couldn't hear him half the time because he kept whispering. He's great with dialogue but when it comes to reading the action in between I just was so disappointed. Mostly because I know there are more McLevy books and David Ashton reads them!
Well, you can enjoy this book however. Well worth it if your into mystery or Scotland or historical fiction
Jean Brash is a fantastic character!


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  • Cindy
  • 2016-10-27

A fine female complement to McLevy series

Where does Mistress of the Just Land rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This book fits nicely into the McLevy series, but with a focus on the bawdyhouse mistress and her "magpies". Ms. Brash is every bit a match for McLevy as she wades through the bodies to find the killer.

What did you like best about this story?

I particularly liked the combination of readers, Ashton and Redmond. I've always enjoyed Ashton's reading because I feel like I am getting to know McLevy as he was intended to be. Ms. Redmond is good match for Ashton and gives Jean Brash a thoughtful, measured tone that suits my vision of her.

Any additional comments?

These are dark novels that paint a grim picture of life in 19th century Edinburgh, particularly for the lower classes. They also portray a tough, gritty people who manage to find their way to reasonable lives.
However, I have to say that if the children's nursery rhymes that Ashton reads at the beginning of the chapters are typical of the time, they go a long way to explaining why the Scots in the book are so dour.

2 people found this helpful