The Sherlockian

The SherlockianThe Sherlockian
by Graham Moore
Rating: ★★★
isbn: 9780446572583
Publication Date: January 1, 2010
Pages: 351
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: Twelve Books (Hachette)

In December 1893, Sherlock Holmes-adoring Londoners eagerly opened their Strand magazines, anticipating the detective's next adventure, only to find the unthinkable: his creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, had killed their hero off. London spiraled into mourning-crowds sported black armbands in grief-and railed against Conan Doyle as his assassin.

Then in 1901, just as abruptly as Conan Doyle had "murdered" Holmes in "The Final Problem," he resurrected him. Though the writer kept detailed diaries of his days and work, Conan Doyle never explained this sudden change of heart. After his death, one of his journals from the interim period was discovered to be missing, and in the decades since, has never been found.... Or has it?

When literary researcher Harold White is inducted into the preeminent Sherlock Holmes enthusiast society, The Baker Street Irregulars, he never imagines he's about to be thrust onto the hunt for the holy grail of Holmes-ophiles: the missing diary. But when the world's leading Doylean scholar is found murdered in his hotel room, it is Harold-using wisdom and methods gleaned from countless detective stories-who takes up the search, both for the diary and for the killer.


This book and I had problems.  Well, half this book and I had problems.  The other half was amusing if completely unrealistic.

The Sherlockian is a story told in two timelines: one that begins in 1893, when Conan Doyle makes the fateful decision to kill off Sherlock Holmes, and covers the events that happen though 1901; the other timeline takes place in the ‘present’, which is 2010, in this case.

The Holy Grail of Sherlockians has always been what happened to a cache of Conan Doyle’s papers that were missing after his death, including one of his journals, so the present day timeline is the search for that journal and the answers to who killed the Sherlockian who claimed to have found it, while the Conan Doyle timeline follows events that would have been recorded in the missing journal.

As I mentioned above, I found the present day timeline amusing in a mad-cap caper kind of way – the kind that requires a complete suspension of disbelief, as well as operating on the pretence that law enforcement, for all intents and purposes, no longer exist.  This story line is entirely about the thrill of the puzzle, the hunt, the process.

But here’s my beef, and it’s about the other timeline; the historical one.  This is a work of historical fiction, and the author is quick to point out at the end that all the events are fabricated.  Fine.  I read that type of historical fiction frequently – real people in fictional settings.  But usually the author has a greater respect for the real-life people he uses in his fictional story lines.  There’s an expectation that the author adhere to a character’s basic … character.

That categorically did not happen here.  Moore obviously did not care a whit for maintaining Conan Doyle’s integrity, because most of the historical timeline had him doing things so completely out of character as to drive me to yelling at the book.

If I knew nothing about Conan Doyle, I’d have found him and Bram Stoker dressing up as women and crashing a suffragette meeting mildly amusing, but I do know something about Conan Doyle.  Enough to know that it beggars belief to think of him doing anything of the sort.  If an author is going to write a fictional story using real historical people doing fictional things, those historical persons should do those fictional things the same way they’d do the factual things – otherwise, it’s not the same person and the author (and reader) would have been better served using a fictional character instead of maligning the real one.  (“Malign” does not refer to Conan Doyle dressing as a woman, but to a different event that to share would be a massive spoiler.)

So.  Half the book was amusing.  The other half … ok, the other half might have been amusing for someone who doesn’t know, or hold in such high regard, the real life people used for fictional purposes, against their basic characters.  If you know nothing about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and are in the mood for a bit of madcap mystery, go for it.  If you do know and admire ACD, you’ve been warned.

The Jewels of Paradise

The Jewels of ParadiseThe Jewels of Paradise
by Donna Leon
Rating: ★★★½
isbn: 9780802120649
Publication Date: October 1, 2012
Pages: 244
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: Atlantic Books

Donna Leon has won heaps of critical praise and legions of fans for her best-selling mystery series featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti. With The Jewels of Paradise, Leon takes readers beyond the world of the Venetian Questura in her first standalone novel.

Caterina Pellegrini is a native Venetian, and like so many of them, she s had to leave home to pursue her career. With a doctorate in baroque opera from Vienna, she lands in Manchester, England. Manchester, however, is no Venice. When Caterina gets word of a position back home, she jumps at the opportunity.

The job is an unusual one. After nearly three centuries, two locked trunks, believed to contain the papers of a baroque composer have been discovered. Deeply-connected in religious and political circles, the composer died childless; now two Venetians, descendants of his cousins, each claim inheritance. Caterina s job is to examine any enclosed papers to discover the testamentary disposition of the composer. But when her research takes her in unexpected directions she begins to wonder just what secrets these trunks may hold.


A compelling, yet weird, no-body mystery that reminds me in many ways of Josephine Tey’s Daughter of Time.  Set in modern Venice, Italy with our MC researching the recently discovered papers of Baroque composer and bishop Agostino Steffani, in an attempt to settle a centuries old dispute over who inherited.

So much of this book is research, which was sometimes interesting but never what you’d call fast-paced, and while I love classical music, I dislike opera (no singing please, just the music), so at the beginning I worried for my attention span.  It soon becomes clear that the letters have very little to do with his ‘side’ career as composer and more to do with his diplomatic mission for the Vatican.  Even that sounds more exciting that what you get, but it is interesting.

The writing is good but the structure is wobbly and the characters all fail to set and feel half-formed or as though Leon couldn’t commit.  Leon obviously has issues about her own faith that bleed out through the pages.  The book remains an academic exercise until just past the mid-way point, when suddenly Leon throws connections to Opus Dei in, but never explains them, nor develops them.  Morretti’s motivations are never explained; we’re supposed to believe he’s a ‘bad guy’ but with no tangible reason or proof.  But she also seems unable to commit to whether this was going to be a suspenseful mystery, or an academic one.  A scene of menace is jarring and effective for its psychological impact, but nothing ever becomes of it and its eventual explanation is ineffective, at best.

I loved the ending though – such a perfect twist on importance between the secular and the religious.  The ending was almost perfect.

It was a good read, though as a standalone, it left too many threads dangling, and the author was too transparent about her own feelings about faith in my opinion; I thought it was good, but had it been better balanced and better executed it could have been amazing.

Behold Here’s Poison

Behold, Here's PoisonBehold, Here's Poison
by Georgette Heyer
Rating: ★★★★
isbn: 0434328448
Publication Date: January 1, 1972
Pages: 320
Genre: Fiction, Historical, Mystery
Publisher: Heinemann

This is a book I should have enjoyed more than I did.  The dialog between characters is scathing, often hilarious in a ‘I can’t believe he/she said that out loud’ kind of way, and the murder was clever and the karma both just and tragic.  It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it, so much as I think I might have been better off choosing something else at that moment, with the result that I was impatient with the reading of it.  It’s a weird place to be when you’re reading thinking this is good and are we done yet? at the same time.

Heyer’s strong point in writing wasn’t her detectives; Hannasyde is flat and Hemingway needs to switch to decaf, but the rest of the cast of characters are all vividly written, and as I said, the dialog scorching.  Mrs. Lupton came on the scene with a speech that had me laughing and wanting to stand and applaud and the rest of the case all have a shot at each other at least once or twice.

The romance, arguably Heyer’s raison d’être, just … failed.  To put those two together with so little development or subtlety makes me wonder if Heyer hated these characters and wanted them so suffer.  I mean, there’s playful verbal sparring, and there’s what these two were doing.  Me? I don’t find anything romantic about being called a little idiot.

A Difficult Problem: The Staircase at the Heart’s Delight & Other Stories

A Difficult Problem, The Staircase at the Heart's Delight and Other ProblemsA Difficult Problem, The Staircase at the Heart's Delight and Other Problems
by Anna Katherine Green
Rating: ★★★★½
Publication Date: January 1, 1900
Pages: 344
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: F.M. Lupton

This is a compilation of half a dozen stories, first collected in this form in 1900 by F. M. Lupton. The stories were originally published between 1894 and 1900.


It was time for some Anna Katherine Green.  I discovered her writing several years ago, and enjoy it so much I have made it my long-term goal to acquire and read everything she published.  She’s sometimes called the “mother of the detective novel”, but she also writes ripping good suspense, gothic, and with The Circular Staircase, originally published in 1900, arguably some amazing early science fiction.

This is my second collection of her short stories; the first one, a collection of the Violet Strange mysteries, failed to thrill me; my first exposure to Violet Strange as a Holmesian private investigator gave me high hopes, but this collection of stories just failed to meet them.  Hence, A Difficult Problem: The Staircase at the Heart’s Delight & Other Stories sat on my TBR for a long time.

This collection, however, turned out to be a delightful mish-mash of varying types, and even the weakest one was good enough to keep me turning the page.

In order of appearance:

A Difficult Problem (4.5 stars):  A mystery, first published in 1900, and Green turns the gender tables, crafting a murder plot that hinges on the deranged need to inflict suffering and revenge at any cost, even to the murderer.  The unveiling of the killer in itself is diabolically clever.  The story is amongst the shortest in the collection, so the psychological impact is necessarily blunted by the truncated length, but short though it may be, it’s also sharply written.

The Grey Madam (4.5 3.5 stars): I rated this one high mostly because it starts out as a ghost story that the narrator is determined to debunk.  It’s not a complicated plot by any stretch, and really no suspense involved once the investigation begins. Actually, the ending is anti-climatic, and a bit of a letdown, really.  So, while I’m remembering it fondly, I’m not sure why I gave it 4.5 stars.  Still, a very well written snippet.

The Bronze Hand (4.5 stars): This one fascinated me.  It’s a well-written tale of secret societies and the whole time I was reading it, I was thinking Green must have read The Valley of Fear.  No, she hadn’t, as it turns out, because she published this in 1897, and the Valley of Fear was published in 1915.  So now I have to wonder, did ACD read The Bronze Hand?  There’s a heavy thread of romance through this story, but otherwise the similarity between the two stories was unmistakable.

Midnight on Beauchamp Row (4.5 stars): Another short, sharp story, but this one was a tad melodramatic with the female acting more “female” according to the stereotype of the day, and Green plays on racial stereotypes too, but the ending made it an entirely different kind of story for me, and that ending bumped the rating up considerably.  I wish I could ask her if she intended her ending to be ironical; I like to think that is was.

The Staircase at the Heart’s Delight (3 stars): This one left me conflicted on a superficial level.  It was a well plotted, and used a fiendishly clever method of murder, but on a deeper, moral level it really disappointed me because of the anti-semitism inherent in the construction of the story.  I just could not enjoy this one, even though academically it’s well-written enough.

The Hermit of –– Street (4 stars): First, let me say, the convention of em dashes instead of names in early stories is really REALLY irritating.  Now that I’ve got that off my chest, this one is pure romantic drivel, but it’s gripping romantic-suspense drivel.  Completely implausible, with a main character that is only saved from being too stilly and frivolous to live by the fact that the writing takes place after the fact, with the narrator looking back and calling out her own naiveté and stupidity.  But still, the plot was, in its way, riveting.  There’s a tiny touch of Brontë here, and I have to wonder if later authors like Whitney, Holt, etc. read Green’s work and were inspired by it.  The ending was complete twaddle though.

As a whole, the book delighted more than the individual stories did.  If I’m being completely objective, some of this might have to do with my edition being published in 1900 – if I bought this collection in a modern binding, as a reprint, I’m not sure I’d have viewed it and its stories as favourably.  There’s something about reading old stories from an old book that softens the critical lens – perhaps the old pages and bindings offer a silent context, reminding the reader sub-consciously that standards and expectations of the day were different, making it easier to judge the author’s efforts from a simpler point of view.  I don’t know, but overall, it’s a solid collection of short stories from an amazing and undervalued writer.

The trouble with anthologies … and Charles Dickens

Great Stories of Crime and DetectionGreat Stories of Crime and Detection
by H.R.F. Keating, Various Authors
Rating: ★★★★½
Publication Date: January 1, 2002
Pages: 1784
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: Folio Society

I’ve accumulated a solid collection of thick crime anthologies over the years and I’ve really enjoyed all of them – I get the chance to find new authors, experience a wide variety of writing styles and have access to mysteries and authors I might not otherwise be able to find.

But the one problem I’ve had again and again is that I pick up one of the large anthologies and often can’t remember which stories I’ve read and which I haven’t.  While I appreciate the anthologies as a chance to expand my mystery horizons, I know I also tend to gravitate to the same types of stories – so when I see one that looks good I find myself double guessing myself: did I think that the last time and have I already read this?.  I know I could look up reviews, but that takes way too much time no matter how organised my online ‘bookkeeping’ is.

A few weeks ago, it occurred to me that the simplest solution was the best: I had MT pick up a pack of index cards, and I started slipping on in the front of each anthology.  Now when I read a story, I jot in down on the index card, along with the date read and a quick rating.

This has been very handy, and I figure, if someday  my books travel beyond my library, maybe someone will get a kick out of finding my ‘ephemera’ and comparing notes with me.

All of which brings me to my mini-review of the first story I’ve read in Great Stories of Crime and Detection, V. I.  Volume I covers “The Beginning” up until 1920, and starts with the obvious, Murders in the Rue Morgue, which I’ve already read, so I chose the second story To Be Taken With a Grain of Salt by Charles Dickens.  Don’t ask me why, because, with the exception of A Christmas Carol I can’t tolerate Dickens’ paid-by-the-word writing style.  Maybe I felt the need to torture myself with mind-numbing prose?

If I did, I failed, because this story was delightful!  Written with an economy of style I can hardly credit to Dickens, but fully fleshed out and wonderfully creepy.  At 10 pages long it’s a compact ghost story about a man who sits on the jury of a murder trial, and how the victim sees to it that justice is done.  It’s an unconventional follow-up to the conventional starter, and it makes me eager to find out what’s to follow.  I doubt I’ll follow them in strict order, but I have high hopes that they’ll all be wroth reading, and I look forward to filling up my index card.

It has left me feeling completely flummoxed by Charles Dickens though.

Murder on Brittany Shores (Inspector Dupin, #2)

Murder on Brittany ShoresMurder on Brittany Shores
by Jean-Luc Bannalec
Rating: ★★★★
isbn: 9781250112439
Series: Brittany Mystery #2
Publication Date: November 28, 2017
Pages: 380
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books

Ten miles off the coast of Brittany lie the fabled Glénan Islands. Boasting sparkling white sands and crystal-clear waters, they seem perfectly idyllic, until one day in May, three bodies wash up on shore. At first glance the deaths appear accidental, but as the identities of the victims come to light, Commissaire Dupin is pulled back into action for a case of what seems to be cold-blooded murder.

Ever viewed as an outsider in a region full of myths and traditions, Dupin finds himself drawn deep into the history of the land. To get to the bottom of the case, he must tangle with treasure hunters, militant marine biologists, and dangerous divers. The investigation leads him further into the perilous, beautiful world of Glénan, as he discovers that there's more to the picturesque islands than meets the eye.


Another solidly told story and an excellently plotted mystery.  I’m especially loving the plots, and where the first book’s mystery shined in clever suspense, this one shines in sheer complexity and tragedy.

Murder on Brittany Shores takes place on an archipelago off the coast, on the Glénan Islands.  Very remote, and at one point, very And Then There Were None vibes.  Bannalec either has his tongue firmly in cheek, or he is a born-again convert to all things Breton, as he uses every opportunity to gush about the superiority of all things Breton, repeatedly using phrases like the best in the world, and comparing the Glénan Islands to the Caribbean, having them come out at least as equals in some respects and, of course, Glénan superior in the most important bits.  This is sometimes too obvious and over-bearing, but it’s probably only wasting about 5% of the story overall, so can be forgiven, mostly.  There was one spot I rolled my eyes and skimmed.

I like Dupin – he’s the opposite of his namesake; abrupt, concise and not prone to long speeches, or even medium sized sentences.  Terse.  Sometimes crabby, and I particularly enjoy the way he’s constantly avoiding phone calls with his superiors, like a sneaky kid trying to avoid hearing the call to come inside and bathe.

I thoroughly enjoyed both the books I’ve read so far, but I don’t feel like I need to rush out to read the next one – it will likely be on the a future library list sooner rather than later, when I feel the need to be reminded about how great Brittany is.  😉

The Singing Sands (Inspector Grant, #6)

The Singing SandsThe Singing Sands
by Josephine Tey
Rating: ★★★★½
isbn: 9780749310639
Publication Date: January 1, 1992
Pages: 246
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: Mandarin

En route to a holiday in Scotland, Inspector Alan Grant is drawn into a local police investigation when a fellow passenger is found dead on his train. Although it looks like a simple accident, Grant is unconvinced, and, at the expense of his vacation, he undertakes to determine what, exactly, happened to Charles Martin.

Unpublished at the time of author Josephine Tey’s death, The Singing Sands was recovered from her papers and released posthumously. It is today recognized as one of the author’s finest works.


My second Inspector Grant mystery, and the last one Tey wrote, discovered amongst her papers after her death and published posthumously.  My first Grant novel was Daughter of Time and given the uniqueness of that story, I had no idea what to expect of this one.

What I got was one of the most enjoyable mysteries I’ve read in awhile, even though there’s really no mystery to it in the sense of ‘whodunnit’.  Instead I’d call this a soul searching police procedural; ‘soul searching’ because, at a guesstimate, fully half the book is about Grant’s struggle to recover from exhaustion and anxiety in the highlands of Scotland.  What might have felt like a stagnant meandering book in the hands of others, just worked here, although I have to admit to not really understanding Wee Archie’s role in the plot beyond an un-needed reference point for vanity.

The police procedural part, oddly enough, is the part that lagged a bit for me.  This surprised me, but I suppose on reflection it makes sense; there’s only ever one suspect and I grew impatient with wanting the evidence to present itself.  It did, of course, eventually, and in an unexpected manner, providing a tidy ending that still worked and managed to be satisfying, even if it wasn’t perfect justice.

Knowing this was Tey’s final work made the ending a bit bittersweet, as Grant seems ready and raring to go on further adventures that were sadly not destined to happen, but at least there are still 4 others waiting out there for me to enjoy.

Lord Peter Whimsey: The Complete Short Stories

Lord Peter Wimsey: The Complete Short StoriesLord Peter Wimsey: The Complete Short Stories
by Dorothy L. Sayers
Rating: ★★★★
isbn: 9781473657632
Publication Date: February 13, 2018
Pages: 437
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: Hodder Paperback

Presented in chronological order, these short stories see Lord Peter Wimsey bringing his trademark wit and unique detection skills to all manner of mysteries. From poisoned port to murder in fancy dress, Wimsey draws on his many skills - including his expertise in fine wine and appreciation of fine art - to solve cases far and wide, some even taking him to foreign countries and unexpected hiding places in pursuit of miscreants and murderers.

Containing 21 stories taken from Lord Peter Views the Body, Hangman's Holiday, In the Teeth of the Evidence and Striding Folly, now published together for the first time in one volume, this is the ultimate collection for fans of classic detective fiction and Dorothy L. Sayers.


 

My current distal discomfort being what it is, I thought a book of short stories would work for me, and I’ve been in the mood for some Whimsey.

Of this entire collection, I think the only one I’d read previously was The Necklace of Pearls.  A few I didn’t much care for – The Queen’s Square pops immediately to mind, but that could be simply chalked up to my current attention span and the story being a fair-play mystery with maps are at odds.  I liked the logic behind how Whimsey solved it, I just found the process tedious.

My favourites are far and away the easiest to identify:

The Fascinating Problem of Uncle Mileage’s Will:  I loved this story and I think it’s a great example of superior writing, in that it was short but still contained all the suspense and entertainment many long stories struggle to achieve, and it was a nice departure from a ‘murder’ mystery.

The Learned Adventure of the Dragon’s Head: Another ‘no-murder’ mystery; less suspense but still oodles of fun with old books, maps, and a treasure hunt.  Peter learning what happens when you poke a dragon in the eye was the cherry on top of this delightfully fun tale.

The Piscatorial Farce of the Stolen Stomach: Probably my least fave of the 4 I’m listing, but there was a whimsy about it I enjoyed, if the premise itself wasn’t totally disgusting.

Talboys:  This one was just funny.  Sweet too, but mostly just funny.  The ending is sublime.

All in all a solid set of short stories, with very few disappointments.

The Night of Fear

The Night of FearThe Night of Fear
by Moray Dalton
Rating: ★★★★
isbn: 9781912574896
Publication Date: March 1, 2019
Pages: 195
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: Dean Street Press

Together they looked down at the inert sprawling figure of a man fantastically dressed in red-and-white-striped pyjama trousers, with a red sash belt and a white silk shirt open at the neck.

A Christmas gathering of young and old in a great country house in England—a masquerade—and the lights are turned off for a game of hide and seek. Silence—then a man’s cry for “Lights!” The lights come on, revealing Hugh Darrow, blind since the War, standing in the main hall, fresh blood dripping from his hands and covering his white Pierrot costume. He tells the story of having discovered a dead man, stabbed through the heart, lying in a curtained window embrasure next to the one in which he was hiding. The murdered man proves to be Stallard, one of the visitors, and a writer of mystery tales. There follows a thrilling tale in which the life of an innocent man hangs in the balance. A grand and baffling tale for the mystery lover.


 

After a rocky start, with a choppy narrative that was very difficult to fall into, the book evened out about 1/3 of the way in and once PI Glide showed up, I found it very difficult to put the book down until I’d finished it.  I can’t say it’s because I liked Glide – I really didn’t care for him one way or the other, but the I got caught up in the events and the fast pace, of the story, and I warmed to Mrs. Clare.  I generally don’t like courtroom dramas, but this one kept a nice edge of tension going; even though I felt confident about the murderer, I had no idea how Glide was going to pull off the proof of it.

I got 2 out of 3 of the murders correct, but I totally missed the Diane prediction I made  – or more accurately, I was right, but with entirely  the wrong person.  I’m laughing to myself because that critical scene towards the end over tea – I knew how that was going to turn out because I’d seen the same thing done way back in the 80’s on, of all things, the soap opera General Hospital.  But the scene at the zoo?  I didn’t see that coming, and it was a delightful little twist to the story.  My biggest complaint about the story is the fate of Sergeant Lane – I dislike being made to like someone only to have them ripped away.

I won’t say no to more Dalton, but I’m not sure I’d make a concentrated effort to get me hands on more of them.

Death in Brittany (Brittany Mystery, #1)

Death in BrittanyDeath in Brittany
by Jean-Luc Bannalec
Rating: ★★★★
isbn: 9781250088437
Series: Brittany Mystery #1
Publication Date: May 31, 2016
Pages: 318
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books

Commissaire Georges Dupin, a cantankerous, Parisian-born caffeine junkie recently relocated from the glamour of Paris to the remote (if picturesque) Breton coast, is dragged from his morning croissant and coffee to the scene of a curious murder. The local village of Pont-Aven—a sleepy community by the sea where everyone knows one other and nothing much seems to happen—is in shock. The legendary ninety-one-year-old hotelier Pierre-Louis Pennec, owner of the Central Hotel, has been found dead.

A picture-perfect seaside village that played host to Gaugin in the nineteenth century, Pont-Aven is at the height of its tourist season and is immediately thrown into uproar. As Dupin delves into the lives of the victim and the suspects, he uncovers a web of secrecy and silence that belies the village's quaint image.


 

I’m pretty sure I have one of the books in this series floating around a TBR pile somewhere, but I couldn’t remember which one, and I was pretty sure it wasn’t the first one, so I checked it out from the library.  If I do have one of the series (and I didn’t give it away) it’s one that I’ve picked up and put right back down again for ages, but the titles always appeal to me, so I made myself read this one.

It was pretty good!  Not great, but entertaining, and a pretty solid mystery.  The writing style (3rd person) reminds me a little of the Provence mystery series written by M.L. Longworth, although I suspect that’s more just the power of suggestion (one series set in Provence, the other in Brittany) than any actual resemblance.  But I’d class these as traditional mysteries, not cozy; they’re all about the mystery plots and very little about the characters, although the descriptions of the countryside were a little eye glazing.

The main character of the book is an obvious tip of the hat to Poe, as his name is Dupin.  To my everlasting relief, however, he is as unlike his classic namesake as can be.  There’s no expounding, or soapbox monologues; the mystery plot spans 4 days and every one of them is non-stop showing and almost no telling.  A Gaugin masterpiece is at the centre of the murder plot, and mysteries about art are catnip for me, so when it felt slow going, the art kept me reading.  I say slow going, but that’s not really accurate; the book isn’t divided into chapters, but the 4 days of the investigation, and if you’re a stop-at-the-end-of-a-chapter reader like I am, discovering the first ‘chapter’ is 97 pages long makes it feel like it’s taking forever.  Once I figured that out, I adjusted my habits and the book and I got along much better.

I’m definitely interested in the rest of the series.  I need to figure out if I do, indeed, have a book and which one it is, and whether or not my library has the entire series or is going to torture me with random entries.  No matter though, I definitely have a new series to look forward to.