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The Affair of the Mysterious Letter

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  1,810 ratings  ·  510 reviews
In this charming, witty, and weird fantasy novel, Alexis Hall pays homage to Sherlock Holmes with a new twist on those renowned characters.

Upon returning to the city of Khelathra-Ven after five years fighting a war in another universe, Captain John Wyndham finds himself looking for somewhere to live, and expediency forces him to take lodgings at 221b Martyrs Walk. His new
Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published June 18th 2019 by Ace
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Mimi I asked the author on Twitter this question and it appears to be a standalone at this point

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Average rating 3.80  · 
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chai ♡
A retelling of Sherlock Holmes featuring a pansexual lady Holmes and a trans Watson? *delighted pterodactyl noises*
K.J. Charles
Absolutely gleeful. A wildly enjoyable Holmes/Watson riff in a mad Lovecraftian fantasy world where reality is optional at best. Holmes is a drug-addled sorceress, while Watson is a buttoned up refugee from a terrifyingly puritanical country, and a large part of the fun is how he attempts to narrate a story of wild sex, appalling behaviour and a lot of swearing without actually putting any such shocking material on paper. It's very meta, as Wyndham comments on the goings-on from a distance of tw ...more
I am going to sue the world.

At this point, I think it's my only option. Clearly, the epidemic of books that sound interesting turning out to be very boring is a top-to-bottom issue that cannot be reformed. Outright cancelation of us all is the only way.

Take this, for example. It has the words "affair," "mysterious," and "letter" in the title, all of which I find intriguing. It's a Sherlock Holmes retelling (cool) in a futuristic fantasy universe (attention piqued) with multiple dimensions and un
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Hands-down, I’m not sure if I’ve ever read a more quirky and original retelling, and I absolutely loved this! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

The Affair of the Mysterious Letter is a fantasy retelling involving Sherlock Holmes characters.

Captain John Wyndham is returning to Khelathra-Ven after fighting a war elsewhere for five years. He is desperate for someone where to live and winds up with Ms. Shaharazad Haas as a housemate. She’s a moody one, Ms. Haas, and is known for darkness.

Ms. Haas is asked to solve a c
Lois Bujold
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fantasy readers who like Sherlock Holmes
Reads like a mashup of Sherlock Holmes re-imagined as Yuuko from xxxHolic crossed with Lovecraft and Dr. Who. The discursive Watsonian voice of the narrator, John Wyndham, is one of the draws. A useful sample, describing his pre-story military career in the existential war against the Empress of Nothing beyond the Unending Gate:

"Just as I was beginning to contemplate the opportunities my unexpected successes had placed before me, I was struck down by an extratemporal jezail, a fiendish weapon wh
Jul 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This was fantastic and so much fun. Dense without being weighty, humorous without feeling frivolous. Full of Mythos references, witticisms and bad advice!

Here is an exemplary passage:
John Wyndham: "The guards were all devoured by a spectre in yellow."
Shaharazad Haas: "That'll be him. Best not to talk about it, or think about it, or remember it."
Wyndham: "And I do find myself talking about it, or thinking about it, or remembering it?"
Haas: "In all honesty, that's probably unavoidable."
And th
Empress Reece (Hooked on Books)
This is without a doubt my favorite book of the year so far and my favorite fantasy pastiche of all time! It would take one hell of a book to usurp The Affair of the Mysterious Letter's first place position. Even though this is a fantasy pastiche of Sherlock Holmes and Watson, the likeness to the characters and their peculiarities is absolutely remarkable. The writing is also phenomenal. I really, really, hope further adventures of Shaharazad Hass and Captain John Wyndham will be coming to us so ...more
Sam (AMNReader)
So, I have mentioned how well Hall's romances work for me. How brilliant I think he is. Creative....

And now that's painfully obvious with the release of this full-fledged fantasy retelling. Most astounding though, is I've read three thoroughly different styles from Hall-and with the exception of pieces of this feeling slightly repetitive, probably with good reason and not that I minded. Because...

I've mentioned how well Boulton works for me as a narrator (though in this he isn't adopting his usu
Emma Newman
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to get a galley from my editor and OMG I loved this book so much. It was a sheer delight to read and has dragged me out of a massive reading slump that lasted for months. Honestly, do yourself a favour and get it as soon as it comes out. It's like the joy of reading Gail Carriger's Soulless all over again, but wrapped in a gleeful love affair with Sherlock Holmes.

Read it. READ. IT.
laurel [the suspected bibliophile]
3.5 stars?

This was a really hard book to rate.

On the one hand—a gender-swapped (well, for the sorceress) and queer as hell retelling of Sherlock Holmes, set in a complex fantasy world? On the other hand—a Sherlock Holmes retelling written in the style of the original books.

After an unfortunate injury that prevented him from serving in the military, Captain John Wyndham, feeling adrift from his religiously conservative home (and not welcome in his father's house), returns to the city of his unive
I love Alexis Hall steampunk and The Affair of the Mysterious Letter is my favorite so far. Definitely the best premise with the spin on Holmes and Watson, because you know Hall is going to just kill that. Plus with Hall's imagination, the adventure these two go on is beyond spectacular.

Great characters, a bunch of clever twists and turns, plus a really fun ending, The Affair of the Mysterious Letter was truly enjoyable.

I listened to the audiobook and I was blown away by narrator Nicholas Bolton
Moony Eliver
I won a GR giveaway for this one, but it pains me to say it was not for me. I DNFed it really early because it was just not holding my interest. There was a lot of exposition that was pretty dry, and I wasn't hooked enough to plow through it. :( ...more
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A book trying very hard to present a magical Holmes & Watson and using all the right cues. An overly amusing and mocking first person narration by Dr. Watson Captain John Wyndham. A Scandal in Bohemia lurks somewhere in the background.

The amusing tone got old pretty fast. About two hours into the audio narration I started to seriously loose interest. The microscopically small plot barely managed to hold the story together. It was a slog. I only continued, because I wanted to find out who was th
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
What a fun tale. This is a Sherlockian based tale set off planet and filled with magic, vampires, gods and limitless worlds. Come travel with John and Shaharzad Haas as they try to uncover a blackmailer.

Witches, underwater cities, shape-shifting, flying and more await you in this clever tale. I loved this female version of Sherlock. John Wyndham comes from a deeply religious planet and found after college he couldn’t quite move home. When he looks for housing on Khelathra-Ven, and answers an ad
Pam Faste aka Peejakers

OmG, that was good! Whew! What an utter tour-de-force!

This book is full of squee! 😊

But, okay, now let me try to compose myself and I'll (hopefully) be back with a full review in a day or so! ❤❤❤❤❤


Okay, well, not sure how composed I am, but I'm finally back with my review!

So, as you will have gathered, and to my complete lack of surprise, The Affair of The Mysterious Letter is an unqualified delight and charming as all get out. Wha
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, humor
Captain John Wyndham has arrived in Khelathra-Ven after suffering an injury in an eternal war on a different plane of existence. His meager funds leave him lodging with the peculiar sorceress Shaharazad Haas, and just like the Holmes stories this is based on, soon finds himself involved in her investigations.

The setting is cleverly Lovecraftian, and very queer (Wyndham is trans and likely gay or bi and the case that is the focus of the book is about blackmailing one of two women who wish to marr
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

I’m a big fan of Sherlock Holmes retellings, and to my joy, I found The Affair of the Mysterious Letter to be very similar to the Warlock Holmes series that I love in terms of its quirky light tone and cheeky style of humor, though it also possesses a lot of its own unique charms. For example, this retelling takes a queer friendly approach to our characters, where Sherlock Holmes is Ms. Shaharazad Haas, a “consulting sor
Jul 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
I enjoyed the Holmes - Watson comparison, the POV, the humour, the magic/fantasy elements, the references to other works like Stoker’s Dracula, Snow White, Cinderella and yet I often had a hard time keeping focused. This was so especially during the first half of the book where the little action that took place was often interrupted by world-building and descriptions, apparently in a manner that could not hold my attention. Fortunately this improved in the second half of the book where
The Affair or the Mysterious Letter by Alexis Hall is a strange and original reimagining of Sherlock Holmes. Told from the perspective of John Watson or in this case John Wyndham as he recounts his first adventure with Sherlock Holmes, aka the sorcerous Ms. Shaharazad Haas; the story is written as a memoir. Part sci-fi, part fantasy, part paranormal, part steampunk, and part mystery it’s hard to categorize the genre. It’s certainly and original creation.

The mystery here is a letter blackmailing
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
30 June 2019
What a glorious, utterly mesmerizing story!

18 June 2019
This book is out today and I am slowing going through my ARC and savouring every word. It's fabulous and fun and I highly recommend it!!!

My most awaited release of the year!
Here we go :)

I have read almost everything Alexis Hall has published/shared in his newsletter. I was really excited for his latest release even though it's not romance. I rarely step out of my comfort genre but I'm always ready to do it with my faviourite aut
This book is basically the thoroughly entertaining, very queer, and awesomely tentacled offspring of Sherlock Holmes and Lovecraft. The plot/mystery is really only an excuse for these two wonderfully different characters to go on wild adventures across several fantastical universes, but it's a whole lot of fun. John's prim voice contrasts perfectly with the horrifying things happening around him, resulting in a darkly humorous ramble that takes somewhat familiar characters and places and adds a ...more
Review to follow at AudioGals.
Aug 16, 2019 rated it liked it
This was pretty cute. An interesting start very similar to the original stories - it was a brief history and re-telling. I liked how the gender was very easily slid into the beginning and something I would have missed if I hadn't known beforehand. Loved it.

The rest of the story took a moment to get the hang of. The magic and the change in world were different and not quite what I had expected. But I did end up really enjoying it and instantly fell into the world and the story. It's a very good r
Jul 21, 2019 rated it liked it
I dearly wanted to love this, considering its glowing blurbs and the combination of Sherlockian and Lovecraftian elements and humour. But:
-The first half of this story really dragged. And I found it hard to keep track of characters and the places. The story felt super long to me, even after I felt its pace had picked up.
-I found myself observing the humour more than being moved by it.

I liked the sheer weirdness of everything in the story, such as the magic, obviously Shaharazade Haas, and the v
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is just ridiculously fun, a delightfully over-the-top mashup of the Sherlock Holmes archetype with a fantasy world full of 1930s-style pulp adventure and Lovecraftian horror - and in which the Sherlockian figure is the brilliant and outrageous sorceress Shaherazad Haas. I found it utterly delicious, hilarious, and hugely enjoyable. I was only a third of the way in before I'd started buying copies for other people, and as I read it on my e-reader, I kept on highlighting passages I found ...more
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
• Title: The Affair Of The Mysterious Letter
• Author: Alexis Hall
• Series: Stand-alone
• Pages: 352
• Genre: Fantasy, Mystery, Retelling, LGBTQ
• Rating Out of 5 Stars: 4

My Thoughts:

Picture this...Sherlock Holmes is a Sorceress. Still witty, intelligent, but with a penchant for taken complicated lovers and still has all those messy and addictive habits. Now sit that character down at a Dungeons and Dragon’s table with character’s nodding to those we’ve seen in Doyle’s works. Watson is our lo
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
4 stars for the story, 5 for the narration!

"That doesn't sound like a plan so much as a sequence of conversations with tremendous scope to go wrong." "I am the sorceress Shaharazad Haas. I never go wrong. I merely achieve things in a manner I had not intended."

This was an excellent story made even better by the superb narration. I enjoyed the way Nicholas Boulton made the characters come to live, and since this IS Alexis Hall, the writing is simply perfect. The way his Watson Wyndham kept trying
Mónica BQ
Jun 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars rounded up

The book that took me out of the worse reading funk I have ever experienced.

I am truly sure that since I learned to read completely on my own at around age 5 or 6 I haven't gone this long without reading a full book. Just for that I am eternally grateful to The Affair.

Delightfully bonkers. I absolutely loved it. It's very funny, very strange, very queer, and very Sherlock Homes-ey. Here's something quite different from one of my top favourite authors. It's a Sherlock Holmes retelling that's also a really imaginative, out-there fantasy, plus it's super super queer. This book keeps the source material in range of its heart, and John Wyndham and the sorceress Shaharazad Haas are wonderful queer reimaginings of Watson and Holmes. This author is known for writing ...more
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Genrequeer writer of kissing books.

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“Oh, Captain.” Ms. Haas extended her arms, allowing a small swarm of spiders to drag a pair of long gloves up her arms. “What is the point of doing battle against dark forces if you can’t look your best while you’re doing it?” 3 likes
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