Julia Quinn's name drew me to this book and for the most part I was not disappointed. The three authors combined to write one connected novel, which fJulia Quinn's name drew me to this book and for the most part I was not disappointed. The three authors combined to write one connected novel, which flows remarkably well. The first couple seemed the most rushed, while the second two sets evoked more sympathy and connection. Since it is three stories woven into one, you don't get to spend a lot of time with any one character, but all are satisfying. A good, fluffy read to fill a Saturday!...more
The word that comes to mind for this first in a series is ambling. You amble along with Charles Lenox as he becomes involved with solving the crime, yThe word that comes to mind for this first in a series is ambling. You amble along with Charles Lenox as he becomes involved with solving the crime, you amble along with him as he solves it taking in stride the few bumps and surprises, and amble to the conclusion. There is nothing hurried here, but plenty of lovely period descriptions and character notes. The character of the butler is probably my favorite as he is something of an enigma but very loyal. A well told story all in all, Mr. Finch has secured my readership for the next in the series. If you like your mysteries unhurried and you like the Victorian/Edwardian era, you'll be sure to enjoy A Beautiful Blue Death....more
Silent in the Grave is a perfectly sufficient historical mystery of the amateur widowed aristocrat variety. I wanted to enjoy Silent in the Grave a loSilent in the Grave is a perfectly sufficient historical mystery of the amateur widowed aristocrat variety. I wanted to enjoy Silent in the Grave a lot more than I did, which is not to say that it was not an enjoyable read. The leads, Julia and Nicholas, are relatively interesting, but the real nuances fell to the secondary characters such as Julia's brother and sister, the awesome Fleur, and Nicholas' absolutely adorable doctor. I would call Silent in the Grave historical chick lit. It's about one woman's journey to redefine herself while solving the mystery of who murdered her husband, if he was murdered at all. It has the slightest dash of romance and an even smaller dash of supernatural (there Gypsies, after all) and a well done sense of the setting. Also, the Tower raven is spectacular. Good story, intriguing enough for me to pick up the next in the series and see where this quirky parade is going. ...more
A brief, deftly crafted foray into Sherlock Holmes' view of events that we both did and didn't see in The Beekeeper's Apprentice. It was very interestA brief, deftly crafted foray into Sherlock Holmes' view of events that we both did and didn't see in The Beekeeper's Apprentice. It was very interesting to read it from Holmes' side and see a tid-bit that Russell was entirely unaware of. A quick read and a must if you read the Russell/Holmes books, or if you've been curious as to what they're about. ...more
House of Silk is a truly impressive story expertly woven by Anthony Horowitz. I wasn't sure what to expect as I've never read anything by Horowitz befHouse of Silk is a truly impressive story expertly woven by Anthony Horowitz. I wasn't sure what to expect as I've never read anything by Horowitz before, but I am a fan of his work on British TV series such as Midsomer Murders and Foyle's War. It's easy to see why the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle approved this novel. Holmes purists won't find much to complain about, but if you're new to the world of Holmes it's a great book to get the true flavor of the originals. The story flows quickly, and all of the characters are very well developed perhaps to the point of occasionally overshadowing Holmes himself. Horowitz alludes to several of the original stories, and his voice/portrayal of Watson is fantastic. I'd highly recommend this to any long time fans or people wanting to read a Holmes story before the new movie comes out this month. ...more
In the country, Sherlock finds his relatives are a bit odd and there's an evil old woman heading the staff of servants. Mysterious deaths occur both iIn the country, Sherlock finds his relatives are a bit odd and there's an evil old woman heading the staff of servants. Mysterious deaths occur both in the village and on the Holmes property, and in order to fit the puzzle pieces together, Sherlock will need the assistance of a new found friend and a newly acquired mentor. He might even have a conversation with a girl, if he's lucky.
When I first finished reading Death Cloud, I gave it three out of five stars. It's definitely an enjoyable romp. Sherlock is fourteen in this story, and his age and the writing style gear it towards middle/tween readers more than older YA, which is what I had anticipated when I picked up the title. However, there's a fair share of violence in the story and relatively graphic imagery, which may overwhelm a more squeamish tween reader. There are several Americanisms, and the writing can sometimes lean towards too young, at least for my reading tastes. My friend and co-worker Amy suggested that any Americanisms might have been changes made by the publisher, such as they did with the Harry Potter series. She may well be correct, as the first three or four books in this series are already out in the UK, and the second one is just being released in the states this month. The title of the second book in this series has also been changed for American audiences.
If this is true, publishers, to you I say jog on. Give me the Britishness.
Also three stars for Sherlock not being quite...Sherlock enough. I understand that this is an exploration of his formative days, but he was a little too removed from the final Holmes that we see for me to buy it. He started coming into it near the end, with some of the arrogance he displays, but over all he just wasn't Sherlock enough for me.
Of course, I may be biased towards the amazing sociopath version of Holmes portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock right now.
Also, I will tell you that this series is trying very much to not contradict anything in the actual cannon of Doyle's Holmes. This means that there's no Watson in this story, and can't be (at least directly) in any of the books to come as Holmes and Watson don't meet until Stamford introduces them in A Study in Scarlet. This, for me, is sad, because I love Watson possibly more than I love Holmes. So less a star for that.
Also, there's a girl. Sherlock's mentor, who is an awesome character I have to say, has a teenage daughter named Virginia in whom Sherlock forms an interest. Virginia in and of herself is a well written character. She's smart and spunky, and is not impressed with Sherlock's deductive skills. It isn't her character that annoys me, it's the fact that she's thrown in to be a romantic plot driver, or at least a crush for a character that will wind up only acknowledging Irene Adler as The Woman. Maybe for teens reading this who haven't read cannon that won't be a deal. It will be interesting to see how Lane develops this in further volumes. I don't know if Virginia was written as to attract female readers to the series, or to be the token pretty girl for the male readers. At least she's got personality, I have to give Lane that much.
At any rate, after a day or two of chewing on it, I decided to up it to four stars. The plot is very well done and the villain is pretty twisty. I do like me a twisty villain. Clearly set up as a precursor to the future Moriarty role, Lane's antagonist is sufficiently sadistic and rather cunning. The overall "evil plan" might be a little far fetched, but the action and adventure carry it along well enough to go with it.
Points for overall action and adventure, too. Sherlock doesn't back down from a fight, even when he should, which leads to some amusing and nail biting encounters.
Mycroft gets some attention in this, which I love, and he's portrayed very well.
Andy Lane clearly did his homework, which was the final boost up to four stars for this one. There are a lot, and I do mean a lot, of nods to Doyle's cannon, from bees to boxing to a veiled reference to Holmes' future friendship with Watson. As a Doyle fangirl, I approve.