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The Listening Eye

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A deaf woman learns something she shouldn’t, and she asks Miss Silver for protection Paulina Paine was buried under her house during the Blitz. She spent twenty-four hours trapped underneath the rubble, where the silence was absolute as the grave, and only after she escaped did she realize that the bomb that spared her life had taken her hearing. With difficulty, she learne A deaf woman learns something she shouldn’t, and she asks Miss Silver for protection Paulina Paine was buried under her house during the Blitz. She spent twenty-four hours trapped underneath the rubble, where the silence was absolute as the grave, and only after she escaped did she realize that the bomb that spared her life had taken her hearing. With difficulty, she learned to read lips—an invaluable skill that may soon get her killed. She is at an art gallery when, quite by chance, she spies an interesting conversation across the room. Without meaning to, she eavesdrops, and learns of a shocking plan to commit a most fearsome robbery. She doesn’t know what to do until she learns that, after she left, the two men asked after her, and learned about her special talent. Now only the demure detective Maud Silver can halt the robbery and save Paulina’s life.


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A deaf woman learns something she shouldn’t, and she asks Miss Silver for protection Paulina Paine was buried under her house during the Blitz. She spent twenty-four hours trapped underneath the rubble, where the silence was absolute as the grave, and only after she escaped did she realize that the bomb that spared her life had taken her hearing. With difficulty, she learne A deaf woman learns something she shouldn’t, and she asks Miss Silver for protection Paulina Paine was buried under her house during the Blitz. She spent twenty-four hours trapped underneath the rubble, where the silence was absolute as the grave, and only after she escaped did she realize that the bomb that spared her life had taken her hearing. With difficulty, she learned to read lips—an invaluable skill that may soon get her killed. She is at an art gallery when, quite by chance, she spies an interesting conversation across the room. Without meaning to, she eavesdrops, and learns of a shocking plan to commit a most fearsome robbery. She doesn’t know what to do until she learns that, after she left, the two men asked after her, and learned about her special talent. Now only the demure detective Maud Silver can halt the robbery and save Paulina’s life.

30 review for The Listening Eye

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jaline

    In the past 4 or 5 Miss Silver novels, Patricia Wentworth definitely hits her stride as a writer of mysteries. I have enjoyed being witness to her growth as a writer, and even more – I have enjoyed this series for itself. This story is also more textured and multi-layered than her earlier works, and is a well-crafted and intriguing mystery with a dollop of light romance for the finishing touch.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bobby Underwood

    “People do these things in melodrama, not in real life.” — Lucius Bellingdon “Can you pick up a newspaper without finding material for a melodrama? The passions of greed and lust are essentially crude. They do not change.” — Miss Silver Dense and complex, atmospheric of village life and all the twisting relationships such claustrophobic surroundings give birth to, and filled with the charm of a burgeoning romance, I’ve always felt The Listening Eye to be underrated among Wentworth's Miss Silver en “People do these things in melodrama, not in real life.” — Lucius Bellingdon “Can you pick up a newspaper without finding material for a melodrama? The passions of greed and lust are essentially crude. They do not change.” — Miss Silver Dense and complex, atmospheric of village life and all the twisting relationships such claustrophobic surroundings give birth to, and filled with the charm of a burgeoning romance, I’ve always felt The Listening Eye to be underrated among Wentworth's Miss Silver entries. The opening is sterling, Wentworth taking the time to set up the circumstance of a murder that creates sympathy for the victim, and a need to know the why and who as relationships and situations are slowly revealed. The ending has an ironic twist, and the romance is everything the reader hoped for when all is revealed. Typical of Wentworth’s style, the unobtrusive, Tennyson quoting, ever knitting Miss Silver doesn’t even appear until chapter four, when Paulina Paine must tell someone what she’s “overheard”. The overheard is in quotes, because Paulina was buried beneath a bomb in ’41 during the war, stuck for twenty-four hours in the debris. She lost her hearing, but lip-reads. She lip-reads the conversation of two men at a distance in a gallery as she gazes upon a portrait of her painted by young David Moray. She can’t get it all, but there is enough to greatly alarm her. Worse, is that through happenstance, one of the men has discovered she can lip-read, and she knows it. Enter Miss Silver. Regretfully unable to persuade Paulina to go to the police, because the woman feels like she’ll be ridiculed, Miss Silver’s regret becomes palpable when Paulina is run over by a bus. And then Arthur Hughes is murdered while transporting the Bellingdon necklace. But he was not meant to be the courier, another man was. A snuff box, and the general knowledge that the Lucius Bellingdon’s necklace was to be transported at that time, create a picture with too many suspects, and unclear motives. Rich in character, and dense with various tangental goings on by a number of people, all of it will eventually help Miss Silver figure out this mystery. This entry in the Miss Silver series is actually quite involved beneath the cozy-style trappings. The charming and slow-developing romance between young Sally Foster and David Moray plays out as an intriguing backdrop to mystery and murder. Miss Silver will insinuate herself into this world when she takes the place of the murdered courier. Lucius Bellingdon is himself involved in a romance with lovely Annabel Scott, and is dealing with fiery daughter Moira. Racy photos which could lead to blackmail, another attempted murder, and the man Arthur’s aunt, Minnie, saw speaking with Mr. Pegler are just a scant few of the tiles in a very involved and dangerous mosaic. Miss Silver’s eventual hypothesis is startling, because the reader would never have thought of it. A dangerous plan is set in motion to trap a killer. It creates an exciting ending, with a very ironic twist. Justice is brutal in this one, and comes from an unexpected direction. As in nearly all the Miss Silver entries, she is seemingly in the background, rather than front-and-center. Inspector Frank Abbott is around, but not as much as in some. The mystery is allowed to unravel through the various characters, as the observant yet unobtrusive Miss Silver takes it all in. Both the mystery and the romantic conclusion in this intricate and warmly woven tapestry of murder and romance from 1957 are top-notch for this genre. An excellent and enjoyable read, especially the ending. “It came into Miss Silver’s mind that there was always a place for returning and repentance.”

  3. 5 out of 5

    BeccaJBooks

    A lovely little read, didn't take too long to get through. I've not read a Patricia Wentworth before, but I may do so again. It was complex, a vast array of characters and locations. At points, it was tricky to keep up with the amount of people that were entering the narrative, but by the end I think I had it down! Paulina Paine lip reads a murderous plan and enlists the help of Miss Silver, kind of... Once she's voiced her concerns out loud, she changes her mind about reporting it as she fears b A lovely little read, didn't take too long to get through. I've not read a Patricia Wentworth before, but I may do so again. It was complex, a vast array of characters and locations. At points, it was tricky to keep up with the amount of people that were entering the narrative, but by the end I think I had it down! Paulina Paine lip reads a murderous plan and enlists the help of Miss Silver, kind of... Once she's voiced her concerns out loud, she changes her mind about reporting it as she fears being ridiculed. However, Miss Silver can't let it go... There are parties, jewels, bank robberies. There is a twist at the end, I hadn't guessed the outcome. There is romance, obviously murder, it is written superbly and it's not a mammoth book. A cosy read. If you like Agatha Christie, authors like that, then you'll enjoy this one. It is very dated though, so be warned if you're not used to reading older books. I would recommend this to fans of short, old school detective stories. Www.thebeautifulbookbreak.com

  4. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    I feel rather ambivalent about this late Miss Silver, 28/32 in the series. It had one of the best starts and one of the poorest solutions of all that I have read. It contains its fair share of obnoxious people, and some very judgemental and unpleasant attitudes towards contemporary-mid 1950s-behaviour. It also fooled me, as I was convinced that the obvious solution could not be correct, yet it was. The romances-there were several-are overdone and the was a lot of unenlightening repetition. Unconvi I feel rather ambivalent about this late Miss Silver, 28/32 in the series. It had one of the best starts and one of the poorest solutions of all that I have read. It contains its fair share of obnoxious people, and some very judgemental and unpleasant attitudes towards contemporary-mid 1950s-behaviour. It also fooled me, as I was convinced that the obvious solution could not be correct, yet it was. The romances-there were several-are overdone and the was a lot of unenlightening repetition. Unconvincing, but easy to read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Paulina is stone deaf, but her lip-reading skills let her "overhear" two men planning a crime. She confides in Maud Silver, but is afraid that the police won't believe her. Now Paulina is stone dead, after an unfortunate accident, and Miss Silver is determined to find the criminals. Her investigation leads her to a wealthy man who has just been robbed and his secretary shot. But was his secretary the real target? Paulina is stone deaf, but her lip-reading skills let her "overhear" two men planning a crime. She confides in Maud Silver, but is afraid that the police won't believe her. Now Paulina is stone dead, after an unfortunate accident, and Miss Silver is determined to find the criminals. Her investigation leads her to a wealthy man who has just been robbed and his secretary shot. But was his secretary the real target?

  6. 5 out of 5

    Evelyn Roberts Brooks

    Another Complex Mystery that Is Timeless I don't want to share any spoilers so I'll only say that if you enjoy a good old-fashioned mystery that gets your thoughts buzzing along the lines of what will happen next and who is behind all of the "incidents" (I promised: no spoilers!) you will really enjoy this tale set in London and a nearby village. For teens to adults. Another Complex Mystery that Is Timeless I don't want to share any spoilers so I'll only say that if you enjoy a good old-fashioned mystery that gets your thoughts buzzing along the lines of what will happen next and who is behind all of the "incidents" (I promised: no spoilers!) you will really enjoy this tale set in London and a nearby village. For teens to adults.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    As one might expect from the twenty-eighth novel in a mystery series, the story of The Listening Eye is not particularly compelling. It started off well, with a twist on the classic accidental eavesdropper, but there are not many surprises in the remainder of the book. Wentworth's characters are quirky and she has a reserved, tongue-in-cheek writing style that is engaging even when the story gets dull. She does fall into the trap of repeating the facts of the case unnecessarily to the reader in As one might expect from the twenty-eighth novel in a mystery series, the story of The Listening Eye is not particularly compelling. It started off well, with a twist on the classic accidental eavesdropper, but there are not many surprises in the remainder of the book. Wentworth's characters are quirky and she has a reserved, tongue-in-cheek writing style that is engaging even when the story gets dull. She does fall into the trap of repeating the facts of the case unnecessarily to the reader in every instance that her detective character hears or shares them with another, which lengthens the material from what I think could have been a short novella to a full novel. The story also suffers from a surfeit of characters with no real part in the crimes under consideration, and neglect of some of those who are. In particular, there is a bit of a love triangle involving two rather interesting characters and one underdeveloped one that could lift right out of this tale and headline their own, their ties to the mystery itself are so tenuous and could easily have been assumed by other existing players.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Joy

    Probably my favorite Miss Silver mystery. A deaf woman, an expert lipreader, watches a murder being planned, but without enough information to forestall the crime. Miss Silver, with this special knowledge, is called in to find the killer among the household of rich manufacturer Lucius Bellingdon. It wouldn't hurt either if she could trace the necklace of the Empress Josephine, lost to the killer. I like the concept, and my sympathies were so engaged by the deaf woman that they carried through the Probably my favorite Miss Silver mystery. A deaf woman, an expert lipreader, watches a murder being planned, but without enough information to forestall the crime. Miss Silver, with this special knowledge, is called in to find the killer among the household of rich manufacturer Lucius Bellingdon. It wouldn't hurt either if she could trace the necklace of the Empress Josephine, lost to the killer. I like the concept, and my sympathies were so engaged by the deaf woman that they carried through the entire book. The dance of personalities resolve themselves in Wentworth's best style.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Rathbun

    My first book by this author. Not bad at all, but a bit too repetitious - something would happen, then a character talks about it to Miss Silver, then Miss Silver talks to the police. The criminal was absurdedly obvious as well. Still though, it took me to another place and time, so it was relatively enjoyable as well as ultimately forgettable.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jody Hamilton

    Upon completion of this book, I've also completed the entire Miss Silver series. No more Maudie Silver and her knitting and her quotes from Tennyson. No more "coughing" to make a point. Now on to Patricia Wentworth stand-alone books....there are plenty of them, too. Upon completion of this book, I've also completed the entire Miss Silver series. No more Maudie Silver and her knitting and her quotes from Tennyson. No more "coughing" to make a point. Now on to Patricia Wentworth stand-alone books....there are plenty of them, too.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    This is one of my favorite Miss Silver mysteries... I am not totally sure why, but for some reason the premise of the deaf woman "overhearing" a conversation just seems so interesting to me. This is one of my favorite Miss Silver mysteries... I am not totally sure why, but for some reason the premise of the deaf woman "overhearing" a conversation just seems so interesting to me.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Katrina

    An enjoyable vintage crime. Miss Silver is every bit as good as Miss Marple - knitting and all.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Emmkay

    Pure comfort reading, one of a classic British mystery series featuring spinster detective Miss Silver. I think I read them all, or at least many of them, when I was growing up. The attitudes are very much of their time (this entry in the series is from the 50s, and the author was born in the 1870s), and the tales follow a certain delightfully predictable pattern. In this one, there’s a murderous plot to steal a famous diamond necklace and Miss Silver, a retired governess turned private enquiry Pure comfort reading, one of a classic British mystery series featuring spinster detective Miss Silver. I think I read them all, or at least many of them, when I was growing up. The attitudes are very much of their time (this entry in the series is from the 50s, and the author was born in the 1870s), and the tales follow a certain delightfully predictable pattern. In this one, there’s a murderous plot to steal a famous diamond necklace and Miss Silver, a retired governess turned private enquiry agent, knits booties and quotes Tennyson as she elicits confidences and solves the mystery at a country house full of suspects. With, as always, a bit of light romance. I’ve been picking up old Wentworth paperbacks from time to time for years, and the pandemic seems like an excellent time to finally dip into them, with the added benefit that, once finished, I can pop the lot of them in the mail to my mother,who remains a diehard fan and could use some extra reading material.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Italo Italophiles

    There is an interesting premise to begin the book, which is a Wentworth specialty. Then we get bogged down in the potential romance that is another Wentworth regular feature in her Miss Silver mystery novels. I really didn't care for any of the triangle, and later quartet, presented. The story moves from London to the countryside at about the one quarter mark, to the typical Wentworth manor house, with some familiar character types above and below stairs, with Miss Silver undercover. There are so There is an interesting premise to begin the book, which is a Wentworth specialty. Then we get bogged down in the potential romance that is another Wentworth regular feature in her Miss Silver mystery novels. I really didn't care for any of the triangle, and later quartet, presented. The story moves from London to the countryside at about the one quarter mark, to the typical Wentworth manor house, with some familiar character types above and below stairs, with Miss Silver undercover. There are some long blocks of thoughts, descriptions and dialog that can bog down a reader, but it was overall an interesting book. As with other books in the Miss Silver series, I noticed plot points that appeared to have been lifted for use in TV series such as “Murder She Wrote” and “Midsomer Murders”. Such a shame is that is the case, and so unfair to authors of the past.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Scot

    I really like the way this one starts out: a woman who lost her hearing during the Blitz attacks in WW II has taught herself to read lips and she does it well. She is in a museum, resting her tired feet, and looking over, she sees two men across the gallery on a bench, seemingly strangers, who start chatting. They are planning some criminal activity but it is vague. What should she do? Then the one man notices her looking. It goes on from there: jewel thieves, murders, and Miss Silver called in fo I really like the way this one starts out: a woman who lost her hearing during the Blitz attacks in WW II has taught herself to read lips and she does it well. She is in a museum, resting her tired feet, and looking over, she sees two men across the gallery on a bench, seemingly strangers, who start chatting. They are planning some criminal activity but it is vague. What should she do? Then the one man notices her looking. It goes on from there: jewel thieves, murders, and Miss Silver called in for one of those weekends at a country home with a cast of recognizable character types. Some haughty, some dull, some nosy, some spiteful, some innocent, some deadly. It's easy to spot the villain in this one but good fin of a romp nonetheless.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

    I wonder if Patricia Wentworth built her novels based on reviews, on her own social experiences, on events of the day, or some other formula? I see patterns in adjacent novels, which makes me wonder about sales or reviews influencing her choice of crimes and relationship types; there are a lot of “death by traffic” incidents, which could be based on events in urban settings as cars and buses increased in number; and she certainly had to sit in many a drawing room in a country house to create the I wonder if Patricia Wentworth built her novels based on reviews, on her own social experiences, on events of the day, or some other formula? I see patterns in adjacent novels, which makes me wonder about sales or reviews influencing her choice of crimes and relationship types; there are a lot of “death by traffic” incidents, which could be based on events in urban settings as cars and buses increased in number; and she certainly had to sit in many a drawing room in a country house to create the acerbic parlor dialogue she records. Her predictable plots and focus on the gentle intelligence exuded by Miss Silver cannot be matched for soothing, middle-of-the-night wakefulness-back-to-sleep, however. >^..^<

  17. 5 out of 5

    Merryn Allingham

    This is the third Miss Silver book I've read, and probably the one I've enjoyed most. I've found the main character a tad annoying (all that knitting of baby clothes - can she really know that many babies?) but the mystery is decent and the portrayal of 1950s England spot on and very enjoyable. This is very much a country house mystery in the Christie mode, so if you like Agatha, you could like this. This is the third Miss Silver book I've read, and probably the one I've enjoyed most. I've found the main character a tad annoying (all that knitting of baby clothes - can she really know that many babies?) but the mystery is decent and the portrayal of 1950s England spot on and very enjoyable. This is very much a country house mystery in the Christie mode, so if you like Agatha, you could like this.

  18. 5 out of 5

    BRENDA G COX

    Great As Usual If you enjoy reading Miss Silver mysteries then you'll enjoy this one. She combines the mystery with one or two romances and interesting background and a happy ending. It's not important who did the murder or attempted murder, just how is the story progressing. That's good because your favorite characters never do it and everyone lives happy ever after. Great As Usual If you enjoy reading Miss Silver mysteries then you'll enjoy this one. She combines the mystery with one or two romances and interesting background and a happy ending. It's not important who did the murder or attempted murder, just how is the story progressing. That's good because your favorite characters never do it and everyone lives happy ever after.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    One of the better Miss Silver mysteries. I appreciated the questions about the origins of evil thoughts and actions, as well as the conversation about melodrama and real life; Miss Silver points out that any newspaper is full of the stuff of melodrama.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Teri Am

    I'm currently reading all of the Miss Silver mysteries and had not read this one before. The premise was interesting, however, the solution was a little too pat, for me. Patricia Wentworth and the character of Miss Silver were all new to me and something that I enjoy. I'm currently reading all of the Miss Silver mysteries and had not read this one before. The premise was interesting, however, the solution was a little too pat, for me. Patricia Wentworth and the character of Miss Silver were all new to me and something that I enjoy.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Allison Henle

    A lot of the early plot depends upon coincidence, and the conclusion is reached only because an otherwise intelligent character gets stubborn and acts like an idiot. Both romances were perfunctory and unconvincing. Really not one of the better books in the series.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tuesdayschild

    ebook 3* I think I prefer having these read to me by Diana Bishop as opposed to reading them myself via ebook. The mystery was just okay and it was pretty easy to figure out early in the book who was involved in the murder.

  23. 5 out of 5

    sharon ingram

    Another good Patricia Wentworth book This book was unlike other PW books in that it has some pretty nasty characters, or at least I thought so. I do like the time period and Miss Silver is her usual delightful self. Great "comfort read". Another good Patricia Wentworth book This book was unlike other PW books in that it has some pretty nasty characters, or at least I thought so. I do like the time period and Miss Silver is her usual delightful self. Great "comfort read".

  24. 4 out of 5

    Cyn Mcdonald

    1957 Cozy If you are a fan of Miss Marple, you will enjoy Miss Silver. Her fluffy knitting is usually blue instead of pink, but she has the same understanding of human nature and the same sense of justice.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    I did not guess this one!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    Typical Miss Silver. Nothing earth-shattering or life changing, just a nice gentle read suitable for a rainy day.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ram Kaushik

    Felt a bit dated but still an enjoyable holiday mystery read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Roshni

    One of those old-timey British mysteries where you have to try and overlook the misogyny and enjoy the cozy mystery story.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cate

    Enjoyable murder mystery read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    P.

    A surprisingly clever plot. It's a bit busy; the only nice character gets done in, but so it goes. Ms Silver rides to glory again. A surprisingly clever plot. It's a bit busy; the only nice character gets done in, but so it goes. Ms Silver rides to glory again.

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