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Mrs. Hudson #4

Mrs Hudson and the Samarkand Conspiracy

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Mrs Hudson must step into action once more.

It's summer in London, and things are quiet. But while Holmes and Watson chafe at their inactivity, a train, carrying a vital encoded communication, is entering a tunnel in an obscure region of the Balkans – never to be seen again.

The case of the disappearing train is only the beginning of the nation’s difficulties. The missing message must be found and decoded, and a diplomat’s wife must be rescued from the clutches of a pernicious blackmailer.

The nation is in danger, and if a diplomatic scandal of disastrous proportions is to be avoided, Sherlock Holmes’ brilliance may not be enough…

From the Richard & Judy-featured author of The Conjuror’s Bird, back by popular demand, the first new Holmes & Hudson novel for several years.

231 pages, Kindle Edition

Published March 12, 2020

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About the author

Martin Davies

77 books78 followers
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Martin Davies is a British author. He has written four novels about Sherlock Holmes' housekeeper and four other novels, including one about Joseph Banks and the Mysterious Bird of Ulieta, entitled The Conjuror's Bird, all of which have been published.

Martin Davies grew up in North West England. All his writing is done in cafes, on buses or on tube trains, and an aversion to laptops means that he always works in longhand. He has travelled widely, including in the Middle East and India, and substantial parts of THE UNICORN ROAD were written while travelling through Sicily. He works as a consultant in the broadcasting industry.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 25 of 25 reviews
Profile Image for Paromjit.
2,714 reviews25k followers
February 25, 2020
Martin Davies writes a terrifically entertaining addition to his Mrs Hudson of Sherlock Holmes fame series set in Victorian England in a case that poses great danger to the nation. In the unbearably sweltering heat of a London that many have escaped, Sherlock and Watson are dying of boredom, desperate for the excitement of a complex case to get their teeth into. The story is narrated by Flotsam, the maid working under Mrs Hudson below stairs. However, Flottie is no ordinary maid, she is bright, inquisitive, and surprisingly knowledgeable, undergoing a science education. In Davies's Sherlock, Mrs Hudson is a woman that echoes many of the characteristics of Holmes himself, with Flottie her equivalent Watson. Here, the bigger picture of Holmes is that he might well be a genius detective, but he cannot do everything, a fact he is all to aware of as he recognises the talent and value of the incredible Mrs Hudson and Flottie.

It is Flottie that first sees the story in the newspaper that turns into a case that is to consume all of them, in Rumania a train has disappeared from a tunnel between the villages of Predeal and Tomos in the Carpathian mountains. Holmes predicts that it will not be long before he is formally consulted on this strange case, and he is a man that is rarely wrong. As a string of never ending visitors drop in on Holmes and Mrs Hudson, the household find themselves dropped in the middle of a far reaching investigation that takes in spies, senior diplomats of Sir Torpenhow Franklin's stature, numerous mysterious telegrams comprising merely of the names of scientific elements from Professor Broadmarsh that hold the key to diplomatic treaties, a vicar whose spectacles are continuously being taken for nefarious purposes, outside forces determined to ruin England's reputation, and a powerful and ruthless lurking shadowy figure, Andreas Weiss, intent on masterminding the public disgrace of a nation and empire.

It is going to need all the wits of Holmes, Watson, Mrs Hudson and Flottie to save the country in a case that culminates in a thrilling finale at the famously glamorous and exclusive Wymondham's Ball. I love the way Martin Davies continues the Sherlock and Watson stories but buttressed by the formidable power and talents of the women below stairs, from the wide networks and machinations of the incomparable Mrs Hudson, and a Flottie that Holmes is deliberately including on all of his cases, even on occasion partnering him, whilst Watson is busy elsewhere. A great and fun caper in Victorian England in the world of the greatest Victorian detective supported by his crack team of women, instrumental in helping in affairs of the state. Many thanks to Canelo for an ARC.
883 reviews39 followers
March 12, 2020
As a fan of mystery novels there are times when I just want to step back away from the dark subject matter of murder. This series is a fantastic chance to read a good mystery puzzle without being confronted by death or the possibility of death around every corner. Mrs. Hudson and Flotsam are the "downstairs" in the household of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson and quite an indispensable duo they are for helping the great detective solve mysteries that make their way to 221B Baker Street, London. For this story the British government is involved in ultra-secret negotiations with a Balkan country to bring about an alliance between the two countries without any other country in the vicinity finding out about the plans. British citizens on secret missions go missing along with an entire train. Nobody but Sherlock Holmes could solve that kind of problem.

I enjoy the stories in this mystery series because author Martin Davies does a great job of presenting a challenging set of puzzles to be solved. There aren't any dead bodies to be discovered or descriptions of crime scenes but finding how the multi-thread problems become part of the larger solution is always entertaining to watch unfold. Mrs. Hudson is a strong character and the entire household is engaged in giving Flotsam a chance to grow and develop into a very intelligent young woman. I especially like that Davies doesn't take away an unacceptable amount of the Sherlock Holmes personality in order to promote the Mrs. Hudson personality. All the household work well together. I do sometimes wonder how the washing ever gets done, but knowing Mrs. Hudson she probably just sends it out to be done by a washer woman. Recommended for readers who want an engaging story but want to know they aren't going to be presented with the realities usually present in a detective novel.

Thank you to NetGalley and Canelo for the e-galley of this novel.
Profile Image for 8stitches 9lives.
2,854 reviews1,644 followers
March 12, 2020
Mrs Hudson and the Samarkand Conspiracy is the fourth instalment in the back-by-popular-demand Sherlock Holmes and housekeeper Mrs Hudson series of books. It isn’t essential to have read the preceding books prior to this, but I do feel it will be more enjoyable and engrossing to read them chronologically from the beginning. At the height of summer in Victorian London people are sweltering beneath a sea of humid air and not knowing where to put themselves. Holmes and Hudson are restless and their minds are both wandering not only due to the exhausting heat but due to the lack of cases rolling in for them to investigate. To keep their sanity they take more than a passing interest in reports of a train that entered a tunnel in the Carpathian Mountains in the Balkans and seemingly vanished; of course, they know that locomotives don’t just simply disappear into thin air and decide to look into it until their normal case load resumes.

By deep diving they find that the train may have been carrying an important diplomat sent to deliver a coded message and who must be traced if there’s any hope of averting a diplomatic crisis. This is such a clever, original and twisty mystery and is the best and most riveting of the instalments to date. The atmosphere is so, so compelling and is very much reminiscent of the sights, sounds and smells of Victorian London. The mystery unravels at a decent pace and had me racing through its pages in a single fun and highly entertaining sitting; I was really blown away by how captivating and accomplished it was and it really is a cracker of a page-turner. The cast is made up of beautifully developed, engaging characters and at its heart this is a spy mystery-thriller which surprised me greatly but I am a fan of the genre if it’s done adeptly. Needless to say, it is exquisitely crafted. Highly recommended. Many thanks to Canelo for an ARC.
3,018 reviews58 followers
February 11, 2020
I would like to thank Netgalley and Canelo for an advance copy of Mrs Hudson and the Samarkand Conspiracy, the fourth novel to feature Sherlock Holmes and his housekeeper Mrs Hudson.

There is a heatwave in Victorian England and London is wilting. Holmes and Watson are suffering from the heat and a lack of cases so they are interested in reports of the train that went into a tunnel in the Carpathian Mountains and disappeared. Holmes suspects there is more to it than reported and it appears that the train was carrying a diplomat with a coded message who must be found to avoid a diplomatic incident.

I thoroughly enjoyed Mrs Hudson and the Samarkand Conspiracy which is a great romp through Victorian England with the bonus of a clever, twisted plot. I have not read this series before but will definitely be looking to read the previous adventures as this is such a good read I read it in one sitting.

Surprisingly, to me anyway, the novel is told in the first person by the housemaid, Flotsam, in the style of Dr Watson, i.e. written as a recollection long after the events took place. She is a rather unusual housemaid being a fully fledged member of the team whose opinion is valued and who is being educated in various subjects. Most unconventional in Victorian times but it gives the novel an edge as she has a sharp take on events and a distinctive voice.

The plot is highly entertaining, being the usual farrago of master spies, clueless diplomats and double crosses at every turn. It is not a parody but it has a certain knowingness and a great sense of melodrama so I imagine that the author had a great time thinking up the various scenarios. I do love a master spy who is always one step ahead of his pursuers with a dastardly mind set and cunning, convoluted plans. Until, of course, he isn’t.

Mrs Hudson and the Samarkand Conspiracy is a fun read that I have no hesitation in recommending.
Profile Image for Julia.
Author 1 book44 followers
April 11, 2020
The fourth book in Davie's Mrs Hudson series does not disappoint. Mrs Hudson and the Young maid Flotsam are the "downstairs" duo in Baker Street. They solve some of the puzzles Holmes and Watson can't get to, but also work alongside H&W.

The story has an interesting plot, with lots of smaller puzzles and, of course, a main conundrum that needs to be solved in order to save the Empire.
Profile Image for MJ.
6 reviews1 follower
September 3, 2023
Not as good as the genuine article obviously, but quite entertaining.
Profile Image for Alyson Walton.
655 reviews12 followers
October 7, 2022
The fourth book in this series and im hooked! Of all the books I've read already, this one provides the most action and character development that I've seen. Especially with Flotsam as you can see her grow in years & wisdom. Straight to the next in the series and I will be checking back for new releases as they happen.
Profile Image for Jill Elizabeth.
1,553 reviews37 followers
March 4, 2020
Oh my goodness, but I LOVE this series!! I have a love-hate relationship with Sherlock Holmes universe stories... When they are good, they are AMAZING (e.g., this series, the Laurie R. King books). When they are not, they are DREADFUL (I won't name those). His is such an iconic universe, and everyone who has ever read the original Conan Doyle stories (or, I suppose, watched the movies/tv shows that proliferate) has their own opinions about the characters, supporting and main. I love when authors take the lesser-focused-on characters, like Mrs. Hudson, and spin them into major players. It allows readers to delve deeper into the Holmes world without threatening the integrity of the canon - even when, as is the case here, it turns out that some of the canonical magic turns out to be ascribed to someone other than the Great Man himself!

When I saw this fourth-in-series title available, I almost didn't request it despite my initial interest because I knew I wouldn't be able to jump to the fourth without reading the previous books (that's just my thing). The first book happened to be available via Kindle Unlimited, but the other two were neither in that collection nor available through the New York Public Library (which shocks me), and I wasn't sure if (a) I had the time to add three additional books to my To Be Read list in order to review this one, or (b) I had the inclination to commit to buying books in order to do this review. Turns out I made the absolutely correct call to ignore both of those issues because I LOVED this series!

Mrs. Hudson and Flotsam are, in a word, delightful. Davies has done an incredible job keeping the feel of the original Holmes stories while adding in a universe of characters who fit in perfectly and add a marvelous amount of fun, wit, depth, and color to the adventures of Holmes and Watson. The supporting characters - from the wily Scraggs to the sweet Rupert to the indomitable Hetty - added extra depth and elements of fun to the stories, each contributing their own particular skill set to the detectives' team and allowed for even greater magic in the revelation of each solution.

From the descriptions I thought Mrs. Hudson might turn out to be a foil to Holmes - or to be the brains behind the whole operation to his detriment. I was delighted to find this not to be the case (who wants to see their heroes falter, after all?) and to instead find her to be a perfect complement to his detecting. He sees the world from one perspective; she from another. When the two combine, there is literally nothing they cannot figure out. And watching Flottie grow in confidence and ability to turn that dynamic duo into a triumvirate has been exceptionally rewarding and fun.

I felt immersed in this world from the opening salvo and really enjoyed watching Flotsam grow into her own over the course of the books. The books contain the elements of magic and wonder that the original Doyle stories always have for me - the rationality and logic that the characters use to realize the solutions to myriad challenges seem supernatural even though they are always revealed to be purely the result of deduction and observation. The mystery(ies) underpinning each book are unique, detailed, and unlikely - until, of course, everything is tied up neatly at the end and the connections become abundantly clear in the way only a Holmes-type story can make them. In this fourth book, we get a missing train, missing spectacles, and an international conspiracy. The elements are well-crafted and presented with the perfect amount of misdirection, confusion, and timely revelation to keep readers guessing throughout, and then satisfied with themselves when it all comes together. It's a cracking tale and my favorite of the series so far.

I cannot WAIT to see where these characters go next and hope Davies keeps writing more adventures for them all for years to come!

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my obligation-free review copy.
534 reviews
November 13, 2020
This is the fourth novel in the excellent series following on from Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, involving Mrs Hudson and Flotsam, her able assistant. The series presents Mrs Hudson and Flotsam as integral parts of Holmes’ investigations and presents an added perspective to life in Baker Street.

It’s high summer in London and the heat is oppressive affecting everyone in the city as Holmes becomes involved in a possible international incident involving a disappearance, spies and dark deeds. Mrs Hudson and Flotsam become involved with Mrs Hudson using her extensive contacts across London to investigate. The events come to a head at a society ball, with Flotsam involved in a high speed train chase and a final confrontation at Charing Cross Station.

There are many novels using the original Holmes stories as a context for their tale, but this series is one of the better continuations with interesting characters, situations and plots, capturing something essential from the original tales.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Mystica.
1,390 reviews24 followers
March 18, 2020
Mrs Hudson and her sidekick Flotsam aka Flottie are unique women. Mrs. Hudson a woman of few words, vast range of friends and acquaintances, an even vaster knowledge of the vagaries of London society and the ins and outs of the aristocracy she is a legend.

Enter Holmes and Watson the famous duo - who solve all crimes big and small. Even tiny ones like a vicar constantly having his spectacles nicked.

The story is long and convoluted and covers spies, foreign and bumbling British diplomats, a treaty that will endanger the whole of Europe if not signed etc but it is the workings of Mrs. Hudson and Flotsam that take the cake.

Loved the writing.
Profile Image for Susan.
5,649 reviews53 followers
February 12, 2020
A heatwave has arrived in Victorian London and all is quiet on the crime front, so Holmes and Watson are bored. Until the mystery of the disappearing train in a tunnel between the villages of Predeal and Tomos in the Carpathian mountains. But who was the passenger, why is he important, and how did the train disappear. The cleverly woven plot covers spies, diplomats, missing spectacles and blackmail.
An entertaining well-written read told from the p.o.v of Flotsam, maid to Holmes and Watson, with a cast of interesting characters.
A NetGalley Book

Profile Image for Natelle.
432 reviews2 followers
January 26, 2023
The heat of London refuses to let up and the inhabitants of Baker Street try to stay cool while hoping for some distraction. They get what they wish for when Flotsam hears about mysterious telegrams sent from abroad. Then a government official seeks out Mr. Holmes on a matter of national security. Will the heat break before they crack the case? And what mysterious assistance will Mrs. Hudson provide?
Another fun jaunt with Flotsam though some of the coincidences in this offering strained believability a little.
721 reviews7 followers
March 7, 2020
This was an entertaining entry in the vast Sherlock Holmes sideshow. Without taking anything away from Holmes, he and Watson take a back seat to the talents, connections and experience of Mrs Hudson and her sidekick, Flotsam.

This novel is just plain fun, (and I loved the particularly clever interchange between Flotsam and a young playwright.)
6 reviews
March 21, 2020
Hurrah for Mrs Hudson!

A superb plot, wonderful characterisation and enough accurate historical references hidden in the narrative to please the most ardent historical novel buff. Highly recommended to any crime fiction readers, historical fiction readers, Sherlock Holmes lovers and feminists! Can't wait for the next one.
Profile Image for Annarella.
11.7k reviews134 followers
April 21, 2020
First book I read in this series and now I want to read the others.
It's an entertaining and engrossing read, full of twists and turns, and with a cast of interesting and well thought characters.
I can't wait to read the next instalment.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
Profile Image for David.
124 reviews
January 16, 2021
This is an enjoyable and solid mystery. The story moves along nicely. There are just a few too many coincidences at points, but they get the story where it needs to get to. One event, I felt, comes to the attention of Baker Street because the plot needs it to, rather than through actual logic. But Flotsom is an intelligent protagonist, the story is enjoyable and I look forward to the next one.
1,555 reviews20 followers
March 13, 2020
This is the fourth installment in a fun series for Sherlock Holmes fans. Holmes and Watson are joined by Mrs Hudson and Flotsam in detecting. The game is afoot! Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the advanced copy
214 reviews
August 24, 2020
This a great series! I hope there will be more. Mrs. Hudson and Flottie are excellent characters and are every bit is clever as Sherlock Holmes. This was action packed and had a real twist at the end.
553 reviews2 followers
November 16, 2020
Great read

There are more twists and turns in this plot than I have ever encountered in a mystery. But it all resolves nicely to add up to a most satisfying mystery.
7 reviews
December 22, 2020
Good read

A great read yet again. The latest in a cracking series of books involving all the greats of the Holmes stories and a few extras that become part of Baker Streets finest.
706 reviews2 followers
March 9, 2022
I enjoy this series featuring Mrs. Hudson who is involved in the mysteries of Sherlock Holmes. It adds a twist to the stories.
Profile Image for Ann.
287 reviews5 followers
April 17, 2023
This is a very enjoyable series. I look forward to book #5.
Displaying 1 - 25 of 25 reviews

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