mystery


The first book in Sherlock Holmes and Lucy James mystery series.

Publication year: 2015
Format: Audio
Running time: 7 hours 28 minute
Narrator: Edward Petherbridge

This was a pretty enjoyable, fast-paced mystery if you can ignore the liberties taken with Holmes and Moriarty and their relationship.

It’s 1895, three years after Holmes supposedly died fighting Moriarty. However, he did survive and lives in secrecy. Some people do know that he survived. Mycroft, Holmes’ brother, has a very high-profile case for Holmes; a man has been murdered and a lot of highly placed men are concerned. The murdered man is in the employ of John D. Rockefeller so his position is more important than himself. It comes clear that a shadowy organization is targeting the men around Rockefeller.

But Holmes’ attention is captured by a young and beautiful American actress, Lucy James, who wants Holmes to find out who are her real parents.

The story has a lot of twists and turns. The writing style is quite faithful to Doyle’s style. Holmes is more emotional than in many other pastiches which didn’t bother me. We also get a lot of historical personages which was fun.

However, Veley adds a different wrinkle to Holmes’ and Moriarty’s backstory which I didn’t quite care for. Also, for a Holmes mystery this was somewhat predictable.

The narrator was great and spot on for this style of story.

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The first book in the humorous historical mystery series Her Spyness set in Britain in the 1930s.

Publication year: 2007
Format: Audio
Running time: 8 hours 4 minute
Narrator: Katharine Kellgren

Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, or Georgie as she’s known to her friends, is a cousin of King George V of England but she doesn’t have much money. Her brother has cut off her allowance and she doesn’t want to marry a boorish foreign prince. Of course, her brother the Duke is also penniless because their father gambled away almost everything and then killed himself. Georgie’s fed up living as an unwanted house guest with her brother and his wife in the Rannoch castle in Scotland. So, she heads to London. She stays in the family’s London house but she doesn’t have enough money to hire even one maid. She tries to work for a living but knows that the royal family wouldn’t put up with that if they found out so she tries to keep it a secret. Even her own mother doesn’t like it and sabotages her first job right at the start. Fortunately, she meets her old friend from school, Belinda, who is now a famous fashion designer. Or at least she aspires to be famous. Meanwhile, she tries to get paying customers. But she’s happy to help out Georgie. As a good royal girl, Georgie doesn’t have much experience with men but in this story she meets a penniless but charming Darcy and Tristram whom she’s known as a child.

This was a fun book. It’s written in first person from Georgie’s POV and it was fun to follow her when she tries to live on her own. She’s smart and knows that she’s been born to privileges even though she’s currently hard on money. Her family and the other side characters are also fun. Her mother used to be an actress before she managed to snare a Duke. But her mother divorced her father rather soon and is now found with one rich man or another. She doesn’t support Georgie, though. Georgie’s brother Binky is quite hopeless at looking after himself and couldn’t support himself at all. His wife, Whiffy, is very proper. Georgie also meets Queen Mary a couple of times. Georgie’s grandfather is a retired police officer who doesn’t get along at all with Georgie’s father’s family.

The mystery is quite on the light side and doesn’t even start until about halfway through when Georgie finds a man murdered in the London house’s bathtub. Despite the title, there’s not much actual spying in the book.

The Triangle has 10 episodes, all available from The Triangle’s page at Serial Box.

Publisher: Serial Box 2019
Writers: Dan Koboldt, Mindy McGinnis, and Sylvia Spruck Wrigley
Format: eARC
Instead of giving away any spoilers for the ending, I’ll talk about the whole novel.

This was a very good ending to this serialized novel. It tied up most of the story lines but left a possible opening to continued adventures, for some of the characters.

The story’s fast-paced with a lot of mysteries and twists and turns which I enjoyed. I also enjoyed the sci-fi elements a lot, although the ending could have explored them more. Pretty much the only thing that didn’t work for me was the romance. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel any chemistry between those characters, it felt like ticking a box of “romance”. The mysteries actually made me read the last three episodes back-to-back because I didn’t want to wait a week between them. 😉

The characters are all competent adults (with the possible exception of McBride although he gets his chances to shine, too) and I always enjoy reading about characters like that. They have some friction but are able to put them aside and concentrate on the task at hand. Marie St. Clair is a local police officer who forced her way to the team in the second episode, which was a good because it and unexpected person to the team. I think McBride could have been used more as a comic relief, though. The POV shifts were sometimes abrupt. The story was told from the POVs of Segarra, St. Clair, Hammond, and Dumont who are the most developed characters, naturally.

A highly entertaining thriller with sci-fi elements.

The Triangle has 10 episodes, all available from The Triangle’s page at Serial Box.

Publisher: Serial Box 2019
Writers: Dan Koboldt, Mindy McGinnis, and Sylvia Spruck Wrigley
Format: eARC

This episode answers most of the questions which I have about the island. Some of the characters and happy with the answers and some not so happy. However, they still don’t have a way off the island and they know that it’s going to be very difficult to get away. MacBride also speculates that they might not even want to get off because the US government won’t let them walk around knowing what they now know. Vice Admiral Segarra is worried about Miller, their wounded soldier whom they rescued from the Russians. He wants to know more and heads out to the city with Maria St. Claire. They intend to search it for more clues. Instead, they’re again captured by the Russians.

Segarra is increasingly frustrated with his inability to find out what happened to the USS Wasp, the warship which disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle. He feels useless and a failure, so he wants to take decisive action. Meanwhile, David Hammond is almost happy. He feels useful again and is working. St. Claire has been reminded of how the Americans use her country and is furious about it. MacBride doesn’t know whether to be happy about the revelations or worried about his future.

Even though we now find out a lot about what’s going on, the characters are far from safe. In fact, they may never get home. The only thing they can do is attempt to negotiate with the Russian submarine commander. The episode ends with another big revelation.

The Triangle has 10 episodes, all available from The Triangle’s page at Serial Box.

Publisher: Serial Box 2019
Writers: Dan Koboldt, Mindy McGinnis, and Sylvia Spruck Wrigley
Format: eARC

The tragic events which ended the previous episode, push Vice Admiral Segarra to action. Now, the Russian submarine commander is the enemy and Segarra wants some explanations from him. However, he’s stopped by the troops but some very interesting information slips from them.

Segarra wants to rescue his wounded soldier Miller and now he knows a way to do it. The plan is dangerous but if the group can pull it off, Miller will be safe and Segarra can plan for a way to force the Russian submarine commander to stop what he’s doing. Michael Hammond is very much against the plan, especially because it puts Tessa Dumont into danger. However, Tessa doesn’t like Hammond’s possessive instincts. Arguing escalate to the point where the conspiracy theorist MacBride acts as the voice of reason. But the dangerous plan is put into action.

In this episode, we get a bit of evidence of what’s happening on this strange island. The group argues more but this time on personal level rather than professional. The group’s actions will most likely force the Russian commander to respond. They have lots of guns and a working nuclear submarine with torpedoes. Our intrepid heroes have one pistol. Things don’t look good.

The Triangle has 10 episodes, all available from The Triangle’s page at Serial Box.

Publisher: Serial Box 2019
Writers: Dan Koboldt, Mindy McGinnis, and Sylvia Spruck Wrigley.
Format: eARC

After the unexpectedly horrible ending of the previous episode, our heroes are stunned for a little while. But not for long. Alastair McBride is spinning outrageous theories and revealing some military secrets. They prove that something terrible, indeed, something most unnatural, is in the water around the island. Tessa Dumont has finally made the radio work but now Michael Hammond and the others don’t want anyone to come to the island, at least not before they find out how the rescues can land safely. David Segarra and Marie St. Claire want to further investigate the city and they go there. But the Russian soldiers are most likely there, so the duo must be very careful.

Meanwhile, Dumont and Hammond talk with the pair of young boys who are also on the island and find out what happened to them. Apparently, they lost their parents in the storm which brought then to the island. However, when St. Claire hears about it, she’s sure that no such accident has occurred in at least five years. How are the boys on the island? Are they lying or is something else going on?

Segarra and St. Claire find out something that changes all their expectations and the episode ends in another tragedy.

Now we find out why nobody leaves. But if nobody can leave, how and why can they come in? If it possible somehow to use that to leave? And can the group talk with the commander of the old Russian submarine and convince him to try? Should they?

Collects issues 0 and issues 1-5 of Lady Mechanika miniseries.

Writer and artist: Joe Benítez

This is a very interesting comic set in a steampunk world. There’s a mention of werewolves and the mechanical humans are an amalgam of humans and steampunk machines but no other magical stuff.

The first issue in the collection is issue 0, where Lady Mechanika meet the monster of Satan’s Alley. In it, we’re introduced to most of the cast. Lady Mechanika is hunting a monster which has been haunting the street called Satan’s Alley. She’s listening in on the mercenaries which Blackpool Armament has hired. She manages to catch the creature before them. She fights the creature but then she realizes that the “creature” is an intelligent being who is just hungry and scared. He’s a boy who has been created by someone he calls “master”. He’s half human and half mechanical creature. To Lady Mechanika’s surprise, he remembers meeting her. She doesn’t remember him but then she doesn’t remember her past. But before he can tell her more, lord Blackpool’s mercenaries shoot him.

Lady Mechanika fights with Blackpool and the mercenaries. She also meets a timid young doctor Littleton. Blackpool is established as the main villain who wants world domination through machines.

The rest of the story starts a year later. A young woman with mechanical arms is trying to escape from a group of men in dark, military-like outfits. She jumps to a train which takes her to Mechanica City. However, she dies at the train station. Lady Mechanika thinks that she might be related somehow to her own origin so she starts to investigate. She meet again doctor Littleton and this time she also meets his young daughter. Later, she tries to steal the corpse from Ministry of Health’s building but someone knocks her out and takes the corpse. Lady Mechanika is left behind to deal with Commander Katherine Winter who has just one eye and long, flowing red tresses. Apparently, they knew each other previously and have grudges against each other (probably about a man). The Lady shoots the commander’s troops and leaves. She follows the mechanical corpse’s previous escape route to a Romani Circus (Circue du Romani). She finds the gypsies similar to herself: they’re shunned by others just because they’re different and they keep secrets.

The Lady (we never find out any other name for her) has a close colleague, Lewis, who drinks all the time. He seems to be a mechanical genius and builds all sort of gadgets for her. We briefly find out about his tragic background and reason behind the drinking. The Lady is determined to find out about her past and to stay independent from anyone else. She’s an excellent shot and hand-to-hand combatant. She wears man’s clothing while on the job, but she wears large skirts and tight Emma Frost type corsets at other times, probably to fit in to this pseudo-Victorian world. She also takes part in a masked ball where she wears a very detailed dress and mask.

Unfortunately, the women have impossible figures and pouty lips, and the lady herself is contorted to impossible positions when fighting, in high heels. Otherwise, the art is very nice and very detailed. The mechanical body parts were especially nicely done.

This was a fun romp. I liked the rivalry between Mechanika and the commander .Although it was quite a let down when the hints in the dialog established that is was just over a man. I also quite enjoyed the precocious girl who knows all about Lady Mechanika (presumably from reading fiction about her) and doesn’t believe that Mechanika is herself. She was hilarious. I also love a good masked ball where the heroes and villains meet and can talk without knowing (or at least pretending) they don’t know who the other is. It was far too short in this comic but I really liked it while it lasted.

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