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Publisher's Summary

In the cold Toronto winter of 1895, the naked body of a servant girl is found frozen in a deserted laneway. The young victim was pregnant when she died. Detective William Murdoch soon discovers that many of those connected with the girl's life have secrets to hide. Was her death on attempt to cover up a scandal in one of the city's influential families?

©1997 Maureen Jennings (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A finely flavored plot, credible characters, and detailed atmosphere make this a winner." ( Library Journal)
"Turn-of-the-century Toronto makes an evocative setting for murder in Except the Dying, a skillful first novel that is interesting both for its historical accuracy and its fully realized characters." (Amazon.com review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Very good

Interesting story with some great twists and turns to keep you guessing right to the end. Characterisation is good, but don't expect the loveable portrayals you see in the TV show; I'm a fan of Murdoch Mysteries and still enjoyed this book.

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  • connie
  • 22-06-2012

Gritty not grisly; above average Victorian mystery

I am biased because I LOVED the Canadian setting -- but that could make this series of interest to other fans of the rapidly-multiplying Victorian-set mystery genre: the Toronto setting helps the listen keep some of the genre cliches at bay. The strength of the novel is its depiction of the daily grind of the poor - The author goes beyond trite description and into the chamber pots and privies. It's also the kind of police procedural that describes more scenes of tea drinking conversations than Hollywood-hopeful action.

Parts of the listen make it identifiably a first novel, but I really look forward to the rest of the series for summer listening. I am undecided about the narrator - it sounds like a site-read job, but he seems to handle some of the regional accents well and with imagination.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Sarah
  • 09-06-2016

If you like the show - don't buy

Between the engorged male parts and the naked breasts this was a horrible mystery. I got this book cause my husband and I love the television series. Light funny and a good mystery show and this book was none of that. I hated and it took everything in me to finish it. I will not get any more in the series. Horrible just horrible.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Gail
  • 18-09-2015

Detective Murdoch

I listened to this because I have watched Artful Detective, the series based on Maureen Jennings' books, during the last year. Entertaining mystery. I pictured the characters like the TV series rather than the description and got into the story, feeling like I was seeing it as it went along.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Janet
  • 30-07-2015

Just becoming acquainted with William Murdock

I recently discovered Murdock Mysteries, a Canadian TV show based on Jennings novels and the world she has created . This is her first. I enjoyed the story. . a little convoluted.. not crazy about the narrator though. can't decide if I will read or listen to any others .

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Melissa Ramsey
  • 23-02-2016

Great mystery

Loved the plot and characters, but it doesn't measure up to the CBC television show.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Adrienne Percival
  • 13-08-2015

Fine story, difficult to get into

I love the TV show based on this series so I thought I'd love the books. Instead I started it three different times before I managed to get into it. I think flashing back and forth between present and recent past while obscuring the characters to maintain the mystery for me didn't translate as well to audio. There were times had I been holding a book I'd have flipped back a page or two to clear up confusion.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • ChalyceS
  • 08-07-2015

Ok but not the best

The story is not the nice story I have enjoyed in the Murdoch Mysteries on the Canadian TV series. I'm more of a PG person. The narrator was choppy at times - not flowing smoothly.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Godsmichelle
  • 05-08-2018

good read

An excellent detective story. The narrator made it more interesting. It almost read like a detective's files except for his home life. Good otherwise.

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  • Mary H. Halvorson
  • 15-01-2018

In serious need of Catholic Facts

I started this book because of the TV series as I wanted to find out more about the use of a Catholic as the main character. The TV show has its own issues but I was hoping for more from the author. Why does a non-catholic author write about Catholics without research? Going to a Catholic college doesn’t cut it. The author had Catholic friends and admired a Catholic priest from what I have read but it appears she didn’t think to ask about The Immaculate Conception. She only parroted back what she has heard from ignorant folks. Too bad. You lost me at that point. Plus, the narrator has trouble with accents. A total disappointment. Not reading anymore by this author. She’s lost her credibility.

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  • Amanda
  • 01-04-2013

Sometimes confusing, great reading

Any additional comments?

I listen to audiobooks in roughly 40 minute chunks during my work commute - much like many other people on this site, I suspect. Usually it's not a problem, but this book was occasionally difficult to follow. Jennings uses flashbacks and multiple points of view, which are probably crystal clear in print, but were sometimes confusing in audio. I liked the characters, especially poor Murdoch and the befuddlement of his personal life. It was a good read, a nice one, and down the line I'll pick up book 2 of the series.

David Marantz gives excellent narration! I loved the consistency of his choices - each character was uniquely voiced, with his or her own accent, which did more than just differentiate them from each other, but related to their history and who they were.