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  • Aspire to Die

  • An Oxford Murder Mystery (Bridget Hart Series, Book 1)
  • By: M S Morris
  • Narrated by: Esther Wane
  • Length: 8 hrs and 56 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (57 ratings)

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Aspire to Die cover art

Aspire to Die

By: M S Morris
Narrated by: Esther Wane
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Summary

Lust. Ambition. Murder. 

When a beautiful, wealthy student is found dead in her room in Oxford's most prestigious college, Detective Inspector Bridget Hart is called to investigate. The murdered girl appeared to have no enemies, yet was killed in a brutal and bloody assault. 

Haunted and driven by her own personal tragedy, newly promoted DI Bridget Hart has a lot to prove as she leads her first murder case. Her investigation uncovers a tangled web of lies, lust and ambition, and brings her into conflict with powerful interests. 

But no one can be above suspicion within the closed and claustrophobic confines of an Oxford college, where students and academics live and work side by side, and a ruthless killer waits to strike again.

©2019 Margarita Morris and Steve Morris (P)2020 Tantor

What listeners say about Aspire to Die

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

This is just my cup of tea

Oh do hope there is another book soon. I have really enjoyed this mystery. I was interested in all the twists and turns and culminating into an exciting finish. The narrator was excellent..

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

"Lust and ambition.."

"Oxford was a strange place."
Lead detective D.I.Bridget Hart might live and work in Oxfordshire, even attended university in Oxford, and enjoys Italian opera in her car, but Inspector Morse she is not. Instead she is the rather trite dowdy single mother of a teenage daughter, sister to an unsolved murdered girl when she was teenaged and, despite always unapologetically leaving him in the lurch, mysteriously very attractive to an art gallery owner with whom her efficient sister wanted to match her. And Aspire to Die is the story of her first lead case, a police procedural of fairly incompetent floundering and self recrimination.
Though the plot lurches from one suspect to another, Oxford itself provides the enduring and intriguing background and the reader is treated to a comprehensive glimpse of some of the less than tourist aspects of the City as well as the beauty, standing in solid contrast to the people inhabiting it.

The characterisation is insipid and the plot lurches from one obvious suspect to another, and it is further not helped by the narration. Esther Wane has the pleasant sounding clipped English voice so beloved by classic children story presenters, clear, well articulated with certain words stressed for emphasis, but soulless, sounding dismissive and not really invested in what is being read. Plus, unforgivably, in a book so carried by it's setting, she fails to correctly pronounce some place names, such as St.Ebbes, known as St.Ebbs, is here given as St.Eebase, and Osney (Ohznee) becomes Ossni. Small differences, perhaps, but when the City itself is such a large part of the story, quite unforgivable.

Having lived in the city of Dreaming Spires for close on forty years, and married to a native, I enjoy books with an Oxford setting. This was not one of the best, but is readable - from a print version, preferably.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Not for me!

I feel sad to be writing my first review and it being negative. I have tried twice to listen to this book but I am afraid the narration, in my opinion, is just too clipped and emotionless. The Welsh accent was the thing that finally made me switch off, just embarrassing and made me cringe. The story may be very good and the narrator may be excellent reading a different type of novel but , for me, the two just don't marry. I tried to return the book but as I had bought it rather than use a credit I couldn't.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

sending it back!

I tried and tried to listen to this book, but to no avail. The narrator was dreary and not at all engaging. I listen to at least 3 books a week, and I was looking forward to finding a new series, but sadly, this isn't for me. Back it goes.

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Great Aspirations

I thoroughly enjoyed this detective novel, which led us down some splendid culs de sac before its marvellously (melo)dramatic conclusion. The authors certainly know Oxford! Esther Wane's narration was also very well suited to the material.

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A really good listen, very unique story

This book picks up pace very quickly, and the action continues to the end. I will read more from this author.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Dreary

every cliché dredged up and paraded without any light relief. one twist that was so dull it couldn't change the pedestrian parade

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for LT Cooks
  • LT Cooks
  • 11-03-21

Light and fluffy mystery

This was a 2-dimensional story with characters that were rather stereotypical. The saving grace is the main character, Bridget Hart, who is likeable and relatable. I don't think I can suffer through another one in this series, however. This first installation lacked depth and just seemed... fake. I know this is fiction, but it just felt artificial. I stuck with it to the end to find out "who done it," but that's it for me with this series.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lynn Weirs
  • Lynn Weirs
  • 27-09-20

My first but not my last!

This was my first Morris book but it won't be my last! Excellent writer.... and Esther Wane is remarkable! I wish she could narrate everything I listen to! I actually picked this series because it's narrated by Wane - that's how much I love her! :)

Great story with wonderful twists and turns and the ending was a surprise to me. In most cases I usually guess who "did it" but NOT this time - Didn't see it coming!

I look forward to reading more, more, MORE!!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Norma Miles
  • Norma Miles
  • 22-01-22

"Lust and ambition."

"Oxford was a strange place."
Lead detective D.I.Bridget Hart might live and work in Oxfordshire, even attended university in Oxford, and enjoys Italian opera in her car, but Inspector Morse she is not. Instead she is the rather trite dowdy single mother of a teenage daughter, sister to an unsolved murdered girl when she was teenaged and, despite always unapologetically leaving him in the lurch, mysteriously very attractive to an art gallery owner with whom her efficient sister wanted to match her. And Aspire to Die is the story of her first lead case, a police procedural of fairly incompetent floundering and self recrimination.
Though the plot lurches from one suspect to another, Oxford itself provides the enduring and intriguing background and the reader is treated to a comprehensive glimpse of some of the less than tourist aspects of the City as well as the beauty, standing in solid contrast to the people inhabiting it.

The characterisation is insipid and the plot lurches from one obvious suspect to another, and it is further not helped by the narration. Esther Wane has the pleasant sounding clipped English voice so beloved by classic children story presenters, clear, well articulated with certain words stressed for emphasis, but soulless, sounding dismissive and not really invested in what is being read. Plus, unforgivably, in a book so carried by it's setting, she fails to correctly pronounce some place names, such as St.Ebbes, known as St.Ebbs, is here given as St.Eebase, and Osney (Ohznee) becomes Ossni. Small differences, perhaps, but when the City itself is such a large part of the story, quite unforgivable.

Having lived in the city of Dreaming Spires for close on forty years, and married to a native, I enjoy books with an Oxford setting. This was not one of the best, but is readable - from a print version, preferably

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for StL Reader
  • StL Reader
  • 16-02-21

Good characters, obvious perpetrator

I enjoyed the characters in this book, the side characters as much if not more than our lead, Bridget Hart. I will continue with the series to see what more develops with the characters.

I do have to say that I knew “whodunnit“ very early in the story, and basically why. This doesn’t usually happen for me so early in a procedural/mystery. It was a tad disappointing in that. But, I will at least give the next in the series a go.

The narrator was mostly very good, with a couple of tone disconnects when she was doing a male voice.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lynn
  • Lynn
  • 07-10-22

Just Ok

I love British mysteries set in Oxford (or any university for that matter.) Eager to start a new to me series, I picked this one based on reviews and title details. It was well performed. However, it seemed to me that it was obvious who did the crime. From almost the first. Also, writers in this genre seem to be recycling and/or borrowing plot elements from each other. Maybe you'll like this book. I didn't hate it. But I will not be buying any more in this series. The main characters just were not interesting enough to overcome the familiar and overused plot elements.