Joanne’s Mystery Picks

91couijfr5lMYCROFT HOLMES by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse

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.

2 Daggers
Joanne gives this “2 daggers out of 5”


71z42bzjdewlThe GOLDEN TRESSES of the DEAD by Alan Bradley

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.

5 Daggers
Joanne gives this “5 daggers out of 5”.

Check out Joanne’s other “Flavia” reviews!


Joanne’s Mystery Picks

9780345539991THE GRAVE’S a FINE and PRIVATE PLACE by Alan Bradley

How sad that after waiting for so long for the next book in the delightful Flavia de Luce series that I should read it in one sitting!  It was impossible to put it down – and now I have to wait for however long again for the tenth, and final book in this wonderful series!

Flavia and her sisters are in the grip of profound grief after the events in the last book transpired.  Dogger, their loyal family servant, decides that a diversion is in order and organizes a boating trip for them.  As Flavia trails her hands through the water as their punt drifts along, her hand brushes against something.  She grabs onto it, thinking it’ll simply be a stinky old fish but when she raises her hand out of the water, she’s holding a head, attached to a body!  Oh, glorious day!  Just what she needs to get her mind off her sorrow – a mystery to solve.

Flavia pulls out all the stops in this investigation and we’re treated to a marvelous chemistry lesson as she gathers the evidence and analyzes the clues.  All the while, she’s putting herself in danger and this time, she just might not escape from it.

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

9780385678414Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d by Alan Bradley

How wonderful it is to have Flavia back in England after her “interesting” year at Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy in Toronto!  None is more pleased than Flavia, herself.  However, her pleasure is put on hold when Dogger informs her that her father is ill in hospital and that she will not be able to visit him for the time being.

Hardly expecting a rousing welcome home from her sisters Feely and Daffy and her pest of a cousin, Undine, she jumps at the chance to head out on Gladys to run an errand for the Vicar’s wife.  What she finds when she reaches her destination whets her appetite for investigation and discovery.  Of course it takes her down a path that she surely could not have imagined.

Filled with the humour and cheekiness that we’ve come to love, this book is an absolute delight to read.  Flavia is surely the cleverest “detective” since Christie’s Poirot and Marple.