Alphabetical Index of Mystery Reviews

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place

Would you like to read a mashup of Agatha Christie, Jane Austen, and Lumberjanes? Then The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place, by Julie Berry, is the book for you. The seven young women at St. Etheldreda’s School for Girls have been sent there because their parents find them too unladylike in one way or another. To make clear the “shame” they each bear (and help the reader keep them straight), each is referred to with a demeaning adjective, such as […]

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Deadly Little Sins

The Prep School Confidential trilogy, a set of young adult novels about murder mysteries at an exclusive boarding school (think Gossip Girl as written by Agatha Christie), concludes with Deadly Little Sins. I reviewed the first book at the first link; the second was Wicked Little Secrets, in which protagonist Anne Dowling solves a 30-year-old student disappearance. You can read this newest one, Deadly Little Sins, without either of the others, although the characters will be deeper and more recognizable […]

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Bellweather Rhapsody

I got Bellweather Rhapsody from my local library, and I read it through in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down. The publisher describes the book as “full of knowing nods to pop culture classics from The Shining to Agatha Christie to Glee.” True enough. The Bellweather Hotel is a decaying old Catskills resort, the location of a high school music festival that promises great things for the few who stand out there. Alice and Rabbit, twins, are attending […]

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The Crimes of Dr. Watson: An Interactive Mystery

Several years ago, Quirk Books put out three Interactive Mysteries, handsome, retro-themed hardcovers that told new stories using familiar characters. The gimmick is that various documents germane to the story are included in facsimile form. Imagine Griffin and Sabine, with its letters in envelopes, with more emphasis on murder. The Crimes of Dr. Watson is credited to John H. Watson, MD, but the writer is Duane Swierczynski (who has also written Judge Dredd, Birds of Prey, and Godzilla comics, among […]

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Sherlock Holmes Officially Public Domain

Yay! One of the best-known characters worldwide is now officially in the public domain. (I’m not trying to “steal” property from literary heirs, but I do think that a character that first appeared 126 years ago has had plenty of time under ownership.) A judge has ruled, “stating that Holmes, Watson, 221B Baker Street, the dastardly Professor Moriarty, and other elements included in the 50 Holmes works that Arthur Conan Doyle published before Jan. 1, 1923, are no longer covered […]

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Hercule Poirot and the Greenshore Folly

Agatha Christie fans will be pleased to know that HarperCollins has made available as an ebook this oddity, an early draft story that later became the novel Dead Man’s Folly. According to the publisher, the genesis of Hercule Poirot and the Greenshore Folly was an attempt by Christie to raise money for stained glass windows in her local church. She was going to write a story called “The Greenshore Folly” and give the rights to a fund for that purpose. […]

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The Impersonator

Although in her 20s, Leah works as a teen dancer in vaudeville until the family act breaks up. With no other options, she takes a job from “Uncle Oliver” — who wants her to impersonate his long-lost niece Jessie, sole heir to millions of dollars (which means even more in 1924) and missing for almost seven years. It seems mostly harmless, a way to share the inheritance, although Oliver has secrets of his own and, Leah suspects, a mean streak. […]

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Prep School Confidential

Anne is the new girl at an exclusive Boston boarding school because she accidentally set her New York school on fire, and her parents have shipped her out of town to avoid bad influences. After only a week, her new roommate Isabella is found in the woods, murdered. Anne was quickly fitting in with the popular crowd, but she also had a real fondness for the geekier Isabella. In spite of the school authorities trying to close ranks against the […]

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