Are you looking for a brief respite from the cold and snow? Then Delany’s latest Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery can give you just that. It’s a cozy – but not the kind where you snuggle up under a blanket, drinking cups of hot cocoa. It’s more an ice cream cones, sandy beaches, long evening walks in the warm summer breeze type of cozy. After all, it does take place in Cape Cod, and before your ice cream cone starts to melt, a murder takes place.
When the West London Museum suffers extensive damage from a fire (Gemma Doyle, owner of the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop just happened to be walking her dog Violet when she noticed smoke and quickly alerted the fire department), the shop owners along Baker Street decide to hold an auction to raise funds for its re-build. When the museum chair, Kathy Lamb, is found dead in the back room of Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room just as the auction is about to begin, Gemma is forced to help find the killer when the prime suspect begs her to do so.
There is no shortage of suspects and Gemma must untangle multiple webs created by both the innocent and the guilty in order to bring the culprit to justice.
Delany provides a nice little mystery that will help push away the winter blues – at least for awhile.
Things haven’t been going well for Thumps lately. You could call it a bad case of the three Cs: Claire, car, and his cat, Freeway. Of course it only gets worse when the crew of a true crime reality TV show, Malice Aforethought arrives in town to reopen an old case and they want Thumps to help. Trudy Samuels was from a wealthy family and everyone called her death a suicide. Nina Maslow, one of the producers of the show, wants to prove that Samuels’ death was murder. It’s all about ratings, of course.
When Maslow is found dead at the exact spot that Trudy died, and in circumstances eerily similar, Thumps has to determine if there are two killers at large or if Maslow’s death is just a coincidence. While going through Maslow’s files on the show, hoping to shed some light on her murder, Thumps finds that the producer was preparing a future show on the Obsidian Murders – the case that made Thumps throw in his badge. Has Maslow found the final clue to the puzzle that has haunted Thumps for years?
Thumps is a great character and King gives him lots of scope, leading us to believe that we might, some day, see Thumps at peace with his past.
This sequel to Mycroft Holmes sees the Holmes’ brothers teaming up, though at times reluctantly. Mycroft’s good friend, Cyrus Douglas, runs an orphanage as a charity. When one of his cargo ships runs aground, he is forced to attend to the situation, while requiring someone to act as a tutor to the children in the orphanage. This is where Sherlock comes in. Sherlock’s attentions are often focused on the series of grisly murders that have recently been taking place in London and we see the beginnings of the inquisitive nature of the detective.
Nothing goes smoothly with Sherlock in charge and when one of the boys in his charge dies of a suspected drug overdose, Sherlock’s subsequent investigation takes him to the opium dens that litter the docks. It’s here we also see the beginnings of Sherlock’s addictive behavior.
I caught myself often saying “Sherlock wouldn’t say/do that; this is out of character for Mycroft…” Then I’d stop short, remembering that these are fictional characters based on the fictional characters of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and that these authors can take whatever literary license they wish to in their portrayal of the Holmes’ brothers. How easy it is to forget that Sherlock and Mycroft never existed other than on the written page! Of course, I’d much rather read Doyle’s accounts of their adventures.
Mycroft Holmes is making a name for himself as the Secretary to the Secretary of State for War in the British government. When his best friend, Cyrus Douglas, receives disturbing reports of child murders in his birthplace of Trinidad, Holmes shares his friend’s distress. When Holmes’ fiancée, Georgiana, learns of these murders she abruptly departs for the island, where her family still holds property. Of course Holmes must follow and he and Cyrus team up to find her.
The pair is thrust into a web of superstition, violence, and murder from the moment they board the ship that is to take them to the Port of Spain. And as they search for Georgiana, they both come to realize that those whom they thought they knew turn out to be completely different people.
The story has moments of excitement but then gets bogged down with chapters that do nothing to move the main story forward. The disjointed plot lines leave one to shake one’s head as the reader tries to follow the trail that the authors have set down.
One wonders how the authors collaborated on this novel. First you have Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. Then there’s Anna Waterhouse, a screenwriter and script consultant. Who wrote what? Would knowing explain its deficiencies or really make any difference? I wonder…
The pair have penned a second novel – Mycroft and Sherlock. It will be interesting to see if this one fares better.
Rumour has it that this will not be the last book in the Flavia de Luce Mystery series (if we’re to believe the author, himself, who claims that “Flavia still wakes me up in the middle of the night with strange snippets and intriguing insights”.) However, if another book is not to be, then The Golden Tresses of the Dead certainly leaves this Flavia fan satiated.
It’s autumn in Bishop’s Lacey and Flavia’s sister, Ophelia, is getting married to Dieter. Other than a few minor cat-calls from someone in the pews, the wedding goes off without a hitch. That is, until Feely and Dieter come across something quite unexpected when cutting the cake: a human finger!
And there you have it – the first case for Arthur W. Dogger & Associates, Discreet Investigations. Flavia and Dogger are quickly on the case when they’re approached by Mrs. Prill to find some missing letters. Two cases in a matter of minutes! And then things just spiral from there: a dead body, a trip on the London Necropolis Railway, missionaries, and poison!
Flavia is as delightful in this tenth book in the series as she was when first we met her in The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. She’s older in her attitudes and understanding of the workings of the human heart, but still the plucky young girl whose knowledge of chemistry has helped solve so many crimes in her small English town.
Flavia is original, funny, and adorable. Hopefully Bradley will continue to delight us with this brilliant little sleuth for years to come.
DI Hulda Hermannsdottir of the Reykajavik Police is months away from retirement when her boss approaches her to say that a replacement has been hired for her position and it would be best if she packed up her belongings and left as soon as possible. Blindsided by this announcement, Hulda begs to remain for a few weeks while she works a cold case.
Hulda does not come across as a particularly nice person and we learn more about her character as the story progresses, reinforcing this feeling about her. Magnus, her boss, is an odious man, and is ambivalent towards Hulda: at the same time that he is praising her for her years of service he’s berating her for her actions in the case she’s currently working.
It’s never certain with a translation whether or not the problems with a story are a result of the translation or if they exist in the original. This novel “reads” well, but the story is so flawed that it’s inconceivable. It’s hard to fathom that a DI would act as Hulda does in this tale, leading up to an ending that is anything but satisfying.
Ngaio Marsh was one of the four golden age crime queens along with Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers and Margery Allingham. All four were very different in their approach to their novels. Marsh was exceptional in her depiction of setting and with her interest in the theatre, her stories often took on the feel of a stage play. When she died in 1982, she left behind the first few chapters and title of Money in the Morgue, which Duffy has completed seamlessly. At no place is it evident where Marsh’s story ended and Duffy’s begins.
It’s World War II and DCI Roderick Alleyn is undercover as a patient at Mount Seager Hospital in New Zealand. The hospital is filled with convalescing soldiers and his job is to determine whether or not there are spies amongst them. When Mr. Glossop arrives with the military payroll and it goes missing from the matron’s safe, a search is launched. Instead of finding the money, a corpse is found and Alleyn is forced to shed his disguise and take over the investigation.
Alleyn is at his best here as he unravels a complicated attempt at obfuscation, complete with the requisite red herrings, which are meant to send him off in the wrong direction.
A “cracking” good mystery that has me heading to the library for more of Marsh’s Detective Inspector Roderick Alleyn stories!
In Fowler’s latest Peculiar Crimes Unit mystery he takes us back to swinging London in 1969 and a younger Bryant and May. Here we get the back-story to many of the iconic things that we associate with these two detectives. There’s still a chuckle on every page along with many belly-laughs in this very clever telling of a “country house murder”.
Bryant and May have been tasked with keeping Monty Hatton-Jones safe until his testimony at the trial of a developer of shoddy flats. What they hadn’t counted on was leaving London for a party at the estate of Tavistock Hall, which Hatton-Jones insists on attending.
When the owner of the Hall goes missing and a dismembered corpse is later found, Bryant and May use the cunning and ingenuity that they are later known for to solve the case.