Consulting detective Macallister Fogg and his long-suffering secretary Mrs. Emma Boswell are back and better than ever in their second advent3.5 stars
Consulting detective Macallister Fogg and his long-suffering secretary Mrs. Emma Boswell are back and better than ever in their second adventure. At least, Fogg is better. Because when Lady Hufferton arrives on his doorstep with an unusual request—assassinate her great-great-great-great-great-uncle Dragoslav, an immortal vampire—the previously bumbling Fogg more than rises to the occasion. In fact, he’s suddenly so capable that Mrs. Boswell winds up having absolutely nothing to do with the case’s conclusion. Which wouldn’t be so bad (everyone is due a win sometime, right?) except Mrs. Boswell has inexplicably turned into a screeching harpy, hurling insult after insult at her employer: “lazy”, “impractical”, “impossible”, “idiotic”, and “stark raving mad”, to name just a few. Honestly, you end up feeling quite badly for poor, old Fogg, especially given his newfound competency.
Still, the story of Fogg v. Uncle Dragoslav is quite fun (more fun, I think, than Fogg v. the mummy), and I do love Hodder’s penny dreadful-inspired genre-mixing. I just hope Mrs. Boswell is a bit less tetchy in the future. Sheesh! ...more
Detective Macallister Fogg and his secretary Mrs. Emma Boswell take on time travel (sort of) in their third—and apparently final—adventure toge3 stars
Detective Macallister Fogg and his secretary Mrs. Emma Boswell take on time travel (sort of) in their third—and apparently final—adventure together. So, what’s the plot?
Fogg wakes from an afternoon nap inexplicably inspired to brew hetrodythermaline, a tincture that, once swallowed, will enable him to communicate with his long-dead ancestors. More specifically, his great-great-grandfather Doctor Cyrus Brentwood Fogg, who brutally murdered his brother, the Reverent Leonard Thomas Fogg, without ever confessing why. Can Macallister finally solve the Fogg family mystery? Of course he can. But not without things quickly going awry. Soon, it’s up to Mrs. Boswell to save the day, although even she may not be able to save Fogg from himself this time . . .
Honestly? Not my favorite of the Macallister Fogg stories. Still, it’s not without its charms. Mrs. Boswell is, as previously hoped, less tetchy, and it’s nice to see her once again saving Fogg’s bacon. Plus, she does so using an amulet featured prominently in story one, giving the series a nice, circular sense of conclusion. And, evidentially, this is the conclusion. The three original stories were published in March 2013, and, as of March 2015, there’s been no follow-up. Pity. I feel like there’s a lot of potential left Boswell and Fogg’s capable-Watson-and-daffy-Holmes formula, and I’m be sad to see them go . . .
In the years before the incomparable Sherlock Holmes drove away the competition, and despite his arrogant claim to be the first of his kind,3.5 stars
In the years before the incomparable Sherlock Holmes drove away the competition, and despite his arrogant claim to be the first of his kind, Baker Street was filled with consulting detectives. Among the investigators who worked out of that famous thoroughfare, none experienced such a capricious career as Mr Macallister Fogg . . .
So begins Mark Hodder in this, the first in a series of short stories starring his own London detective, the aforementioned Mr. Fogg, and his long-suffering secretary Mrs. Emma Boswell. And why, exactly, is she long-suffering? Because Mr. Fogg is, to quote Hodder again, a “feckless dabbler” when it comes to working as a detective, “concerned more with his mechanical inventions and chemical experiments than with the solving of his clients’ problems.”
In “The Master Mummer’s Mummy,” Fogg is primarily interested in driving his newly invented Horseless Wagon to the nearby town of Battersea, in order to provide a colleague with his latest discovery—an anti-gravity formula. Mrs. Boswell, however, is much more interested in solving the mystery of what the heck is going on in Battersea. Why are so many people wearing ancient Egyptian burial masks? Why are they listening to that strange man with the mummy? And who, exactly, is Am-Heh, Devourer of Millions?
It’s a fun story, blending together mystery, comedy, fantasy, and steampunk in equal measure, and a clever send-up of the Sherlock Holmes stories, with Boswell’s Watson constantly saving the bacon of Fogg’s great detective. All in all, a fine introduction to a new series. Bring on more Fogg and Boswell! ...more
Every day, Rachel rides the commuter train in and out of London, and, every day, she looks forward to seeing Jason and Jess, the oh-so-happy co4 stars
Every day, Rachel rides the commuter train in and out of London, and, every day, she looks forward to seeing Jason and Jess, the oh-so-happy couple brunching on their terrace that she spies, fleetingly, through the train window. Their life together, she is sure, is perfect—just like the life she so recently lost. Then, one day, she sees something different, something shocking, and it sets off a chain of events that will endanger the lives of everyone around her. Because Jason and Jess (who are actually named Scott and Megan) aren’t what Rachel imagines . . .
But it’s not just the plot that makes this novel so good. It’s the way it’s told. Because this twisty little tale is narrated by three different women: Rachel, Megan, and Anna, Megan’s neighbor and, as it not-so-coincidentally happens, Rachel’s ex-husband’s new wife. Their individual stories weave together and overlap, allowing you to see the same event from multiple perspectives—and leaving you wonder which is right. Because these women aren’t necessarily telling the truth. Rachel is an alcoholic, subject to both serious memory loss and serious self-delusion. Megan is, by nature, a liar. And Anna . . . well, some things are better left unspoiled.
The end result? A dark psychological thriller very much in the vein of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. In fact, the two stories share multiple plot points: troubled marriages, missing women, unreliable narrators, and, of course, shocking plot twists.
Well, maybe not that shocking in the case of The Girl of the Train. I guessed the major plot twist within the first 100 pages. “Could it really be that simple?”, I wondered. Yes. Yes, it could. Still, that didn’t keep me from devouring the book in two short days. Because the story is so intense—so tautly told and so tightly plotted—that you can’t help but read on, all the while wondering: Just how high will this body count rise? ...more
A really excellent murder mystery. REALLY excellent. Like, the kind of excellent where, even when you're not actually reading it, some little part ofA really excellent murder mystery. REALLY excellent. Like, the kind of excellent where, even when you're not actually reading it, some little part of your mind is still thinking about the last twist or turn in the plot. The kind of excellent where you find yourself faintly annoyed by the family and friends that keep you from reading your book all weekend long like you wanted. The kind of excellent where you gladly, giddily, stay up reading until one in the morning on a Sunday night just to finally finish the damn story. That kind of excellent. Amazing!...more
Still digesting this one, but overall I found all the hype--and the hate--directed at this book ridiculous. It wasn't great, but it wasn't awful--andStill digesting this one, but overall I found all the hype--and the hate--directed at this book ridiculous. It wasn't great, but it wasn't awful--and it was certainly much better than most PRIDE & PREJUDICE continuations! More thoughts to come later . . ....more
**spoiler alert** The third and final installment of Stieg Larsson’s mega-selling Millennium Trilogy opens with Lisbeth Salander, hacker extraordinair**spoiler alert** The third and final installment of Stieg Larsson’s mega-selling Millennium Trilogy opens with Lisbeth Salander, hacker extraordinaire, lying in critical condition in a Swedish hospital, a bullet buried deep within her brain. And if—if—she survives emergency surgery, she’ll still have to stand trial against a slew of trumped up charges covering everything from possession of an illegal can of Mace to attempted murder. Luckily, Mikael Blomkvist (former lover/investigative reporter/patron saint of lost causes) is determined to prove Salander’s innocence—or die trying. Literally. Dum dum dum!
Good*, but a surprisingly slow starter. The first 100 or so pages feature nothing but characters rehashing plot points already hashed quite thoroughly in the previous novel, which is, in a word, omgsoeffingirritating! (Okay, that’s not really one word, but I stand by my statement.) Thankfully, though, once the story gets going, it really gets going, and the trial sequence at the end is pure perfection. And while a few improbable things do happen in the characters’ personal lives--Blomkvist in love?--I suppose Larsson did have to wrap up the trilogy somehow.
All-in-all, a very satisfying conclusion to a very satisfying series. Or maybe not. Because, apparently, there is an as-yet-unpublished fourth novel that will only see print if the deceased Larsson’s family members can ever stop squabbling over royalties. Seems unlikely, but still . . .
Bring on more Salander?
*I'd have given this book 3.5 stars if Goodreads allowed such a thing. Curse you, Goodreads, for not allowing such a thing!...more
Book two of Stieg Larsson’s mega-selling Millennium Trilogy finds everyone’s favorite hacker, Lisbeth Salander, accused of killing two journalists aboBook two of Stieg Larsson’s mega-selling Millennium Trilogy finds everyone’s favorite hacker, Lisbeth Salander, accused of killing two journalists about to publish an exposé on Sweden’s sex trafficking industry in none other than Millennium, the magazine owned and operated by Salander’s ex-colleague and -lover, Mikael Blomkvist. Now it’s up to him and him alone to prove Salander’s innocence before the police—or the real killers—track her down. Can Blomkvist save Salander in time? And, more importantly, does Salander even need saving?
Finally, Larsson puts the spotlight where it belongs—Salander! And that—coupled with the cliffhanger ending—makes this a much more entertaining* read than The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Because who the heck cares about boring old Blomkvist? Not me.
Bring on more Salander!
*I would have given this book 3.5 stars if Goodreads allowed such a thing. Curse you, Goodreads, for not allowing such a thing!...more