Sherlock Holmes: Playing the Game

(I have begun reviewing Sherlock Holmes books for the website belonging to I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere, the premier Sherlock Holmes podcast. This review originally appeared there.) Sherlockians know that “playing the game” means considering Arthur Conan Doyle’s role as Dr. John Watson’s literary agent. Doyle couldn’t have been the author, as Watson, of course, wrote those stories about his friend Sherlock Holmes. In Sherlock Holmes: Playing the Game , Cenarth Fox takes this approach to ludicrous but amusing extremes. […]

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Mixology and Murder

Mixology and Murder: Cocktails Inspired by Infamous Serial Killers, Cold Cases, Cults, and Other Disturbing True Crime Stories is a rather unique bartending cookbook. You can gather how from the subtitle. Kierra Sondereker has assembled a set of variants on classic cocktails themed around famous true crimes. Each of the sixty drink recipes is accompanied by a short (2-4 paragraphs) writeup of the corresponding murders. I’d heard of many of these villains or cases — H.H. Holmes, Ted Bundy, Son […]

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Drawn That Way

Drawn That Way by Elissa Sussman is a young adult novel very of our time. It’s about creativity and industry sexism and who gets to make entertainment and finding (or making) a supportive community. Hayley dreams of nothing but creating animation for genius director Bryan Beckett’s studio. As a high school senior, being selected as one of the 40 summer interns is a dream come true. But there are a number of snags… The director’s estranged son is one of […]

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Excerpt From New Enola Holmes Book

It’s said that success has many parents, while failure is an orphan. It’s also true that success, these days, has many children, as a positive response to, say, a movie leads to more related product. Which is my lead-in to the news that there’s a new Enola Holmes novel, out now. The original six volumes by Nancy Springer were published from 2006-2010, but given the success of the Netflix movie, they’re back, and there’s a new book in the series! […]

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Eight Faces at Three: A John J. Malone Mystery

Eight Faces at Three is the latest in the reprint line of American Mystery Classics curated by Otto Penzler of the Mysterious Bookshop. It’s the first of a series of mystery novels by Craig Rice starring hard-drinking, hard-boiled lawyer John J. Malone, of which there were around fourteen, eventually. Holly Inglehart is found, having fainted, in the same room as her dead, disliked aunt, with all the clocks in the house stopped at 3:00. She’s arrested for the murder, but […]

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DC: Women of Action

Modern-day coffee table books like DC: Women of Action, in addition to being fun reads on their own, pleasantly remind me of how much things have improved over the past few years. When I started this gig, a book full of pretty pictures celebrating the female superheroes of DC Comics would have been drawn by men and full of anatomically impossible come-hither poses and smutty innuendo. Now, it’s written by a woman, Shea Fontana, who has also written Batman and […]

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The Will Darling Adventures

I’ve just finished a rip-roaring adventure/romance trilogy that I loved reading. The Will Darling Adventures by K.J. Charles is set in 1920s London. Will Darling has returned from the War and wound up running a bookshop, inherited from his uncle, as he had few other choices. The first book, Slippery Creatures, introduces him and the trouble he falls into when competing mysterious organizations want something that had been hidden in the shop. Then the charming Lord Arthur “Kim” Secretan shows […]

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The Secret Notebook of Sherlock Holmes

The Secret Notebook of Sherlock Holmes is short, silly fun. It’s got almost 30 stories in about 90 pages, and as you can see from the math, most are only two or three pages. Some involve Holmes being surprised or not exactly distinguishing himself in deduction, but the jokes around settings and details of life in his times are amusing. Guest stars include Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, and Irene Norton. Holmes solves mysteries involving the queen’s dogs, a missing ambassador, […]

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