The Mute of Pendywick Place

Series written by Alydia Rackham⎮ Narrated by Bill Schafer

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Author: Alydia Rackham
Narrator: Bill Schafer
Length: 2 hours and 40 minutes
Series: The Mute of Pendywick Place, Book 1
Publisher: Alydia Rackham
Released: January 21, 2020
Genre: Mystery


London, November 3, 1881. A young woman slips through the curtains of fog down Pendy Corner to the 26th house in the row. She vacillates at the gate. For, past that sullen door, she must seek the help of the distinctively eccentric and impatient young language expert named Basil Collingwood.

The fate of Europe, and indeed, the free peoples of the world may depend upon getting him to understand her.

The only trouble? She cannot speak a word.

Brace yourself for a heart-pounding, romantic romp through Victorian London, rivaling the best of Doyle and Dickens - for, this is only the beginning of a series that will sweep you from the glittering pomp of Hampton Court, to the smoky slums of Shoreditch, up the stairs to 221B Baker Street, and to the murky waters of the River Thames, alongside brilliant, peculiar and outcast characters who find themselves at home within the walls of a sulking old brownstone wedged into a winding London lane: a house known by both Sherlock Holmes and the Queen of England simply as Pendywick Place.

Author: Alydia Rackham
Narrator: Bill Schafer
Length: 4 hours and 40 minutes
Series: The Mute of Pendywick Place, Book 2
Publisher: Alydia Rackham
Released: Dec. 5, 2020
Genre: Mystery

Synopsis of Book Two

Christmas is forbidden at Pendywick Place. A tragic shadow from Basil Collingwood’s past looms over the season. Nevertheless, he plans to take Victoria to the Hampton Court Christmas Ball, to confront his former mentor - and her attempted murderer - Professor Winchester. If they can steal back Victoria’s unbreakable code from him, they may save England itself. If they cannot, it will put all of Europe in grave danger.

Author: Alydia Rackham
Narrator: Bill Schafer
Length: 5 hours and 3 minutes
Series: The Mute of Pendywick Place, Book 3
Publisher: Alydia Rackham
Released: July 08, 2021
Genre: Mystery

Synopsis of Book Three

Book three of the romantic Victorian mystery...

An intruder has broken into Pendywick Place, attempting to steal back Victoria’s torn page. This spurs Basil and Victoria to strike up an alliance with Lord Fred Brody and his siblings - and it sweeps them to the bustling city of Bath in pursuit of the menacing Professor Winchester. But while they attempt to navigate the treacherous social waters, the tenuous bond between Basil and Victoria may be strained to breaking. And the looming confrontation with the increasingly-volatile Winchester - even with help from the denizens of Baker Street - if approached without heed, could prove to be fatal.

Sophia Rose's Review

4 Stars for Book One

This audiobook was provided by its narrator, Bill Schafer, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Thanks, Bill!

A mysterious beginning that beguiled and tantalized the listener to thirst for answers made this new to me serial, author, and narrator a welcome combination. I love historical mysteries and saw The Mute of Pendywick Place ties in with a few literary greats like Sherlock Holmes so of course I had to give it a try.

The Mute of Pendywick Place is a serial historical mystery story and this was the beginning introducing a mysterious woman who lacks the power of speech and struggles with other language and memory-related issues. She knows that she desperately needs to get to Basil Collingwood and somehow convey a desperate message. Basil is something of a shock as he is a speech teacher, but he is a quirky man with a few mysteries of his own. They get on like matches and gas, but I liked how their struggles to work together along with her struggles to communicate add a nice tension to the story. Revelations near the end of this first part came as fabulous twists.

I loved meeting the household at Pendy Place, Basil’s work with his patients and this mysterious woman. It was fun tripping over mentions of 221B Baker Street and Basil going to school with Mycroft, and I think I missed a few others though I did have the sense that I was in the Pygmalion/My Fair Lady story, too. I also liked how her speech and memory issues felt authentic as did Basil’s work with several speech and language issues.

Serials are usually problematic for me, but I have to say that The Mute of Pendywick Place was ended in a good spot. Finishing up one series of tied together scenes and stopping before another big series of scenes begins. It was fully developed even while having the work of introducing characters, setting, and the beginning of the plot.

Bill Schafer’s narration work was delightful. He voiced the accents, class differences, and genders well, but he also tackled several of Basil’s speech patient’s issues right, too. He caught the tone and pacing of the story so well. I would definitely listen to more of his work. The production quality was exceptional.

All in all, this was a great start to the historical mystery serial and I’m excited to see where it goes from here. I can recommend it to historical mystery fans.

Sophia Rose's Review

4.25 Stars for Book Two

This audiobook was provided by its narrator, Bill Schafer, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Thanks, Bill!

In the first installment of the serial, Victoria finds her way to Pendywick Place and Basil. He is an expert on speech and might be the only person who can help the silent, struggling woman deliver her message about one intent on harming Britain. Basil discovers the horrible truth about the mystery surrounding Victoria and promises to help her.

Continuing with this serial story, Basil and Victoria have settled into their plan to confront the professor at the Christmas ball. Victoria is startled by his unconventional ideas of preparation along with his refusal to acknowledge let alone celebrate Christmas. It is her turn to uncover the dark, brooding mystery hanging over Basil in time for Christmas.

I was riveted from the moment I began listening to the series and this next segment did not diminish my engagement with the story or the characters. I enjoy the Victorian London Christmas setting and more quirky life happenings at Pendywick Place. Victoria may be mute, but she is by no means uncommunicative especially now that Sign Language is being introduced by Basil. It was fun to spot the mentions of Scrooge & Marley as well as 221B Baker Street and the Diogenes Club. The tentative relationship between Basil and Victoria is still that in this one, but there are moments of connection and particularly when Basil’s history is revealed. There was a suspenseful moment that had me unable to set aside the story no matter what and then a lovely festive time of friendship and family as suited to the Christmas season.

Bill Schafer continues to narrate so that the characters and story come alive in my imagination. He does so well and especially since Victoria is the point of view for this story. I look forward to listening to more of his work. The production was high quality as well.

All in all, a strong second installment that has me excited to listen in and discover what comes next for Victoria and Basil as they work to stop Professor Wentworth. An engaging historical mystery serial that I can recommend to those who love the genre and especially on the light side.

Sophia Rose's Review

5 Stars for Book Three

This audiobook was provided by its narrator, Bill Schafer, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Thanks, Bill!

After the shocking and dangerous encounter at the Christmas ball, things have been rather tame for the denizens of Pendywick Place until a hot lead stirs the pot to the boiling point. Engaging setting, plot, characters, and narrator pull me back in each and every time for more of this serialized historical mystery set in Victorian times and including appearances from the great detective at 221B himself.

Victoria has learned sign language and is settling into her situation at Pendywick Place with Basil, his dog, and the warm housekeeper. She has pushed thoughts of the wicked professor far away, but knows it is only a matter of time until they are back on the chase. The professor swore he would go after Basil if she didn’t do what she could to call off the chase for the missing manuscript and to scotching the professor’s attempts to sell her language code to the highest bidder among the enemies of her country.

But, added to the chase, Victoria discovers that she has a rival for Basil in the gorgeous, intelligent, and sparkling Lady Maria Brody. At first, she is sickened that Basil has a love interest and someone far out of her league, but then she straightens her spine and gets angry at being ignored and even shunted away by Maria’s machinations.

I have been wanting to see a few things happen in this series and one was some edgier conflict and advancement in Victoria and Basil’s partnership and their mission, but I also really wanted them to finally have a scene with Sherlock Holmes whose involvement has been hinted at up until now. I got it all and I couldn’t be more pleased. But, shazam, the heart in my throat climax has left me reeling and I want the next installment pronto.

Bill Schafer continues to delight as the series narrator and I love the way he voices Basil and Victoria, but a whole slew of other characters including Holmes and Watson. Sensational storytelling and good production on the audiobook edition.

All in all, the series has built the tension to the snapping point and I am hooked on this fabulous Victorian Mystery series. Definitely recommend!

Meet the Narrator: Bill Schafer

Bill Schafer has been communicating ideas all his life, from over seven years experience as a School Librarian/ Media Specialist as part of an almost twenty year teaching experience, to paid radio announcing/ disc jockey work, to explaining about the Space Program to guests at the Kennedy Space Center as a Communicator, to narrating books for listeners to enjoy!

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