Alphabetical Index of Mystery Reviews

The Adventure of the Plated Spoon and Other Tales of Sherlock Holmes

Unlike the other recent collection of Sherlock Holmes stories, The Adventure of the Plated Spoon and Other Tales of Sherlock Holmes relies mostly on reprints and curiosities, with just a few new tales. The book opens, after an introduction by editor Loren D. Estleman that emphasizes the continuing popularity of the title character, with a short, silly parody by J.M. Barrie (writer of Peter Pan and contemporary of Arthur Conan Doyle) that I first read in 1944’s The Misadventures of […]

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In the Company of Sherlock Holmes

This is the book, the one that resulted in Sherlock Holmes being declared public domain. Co-editor Leslie S. Klinger, in addition to being the editor of The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, is also a lawyer, you see. The Conan Doyle Estate demanded payment for a license for this book, and Klinger sued. The result was favorable to all those, like these authors, inspired by Holmes. The introduction sums it all up, or you can find more details at the Free […]

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Sherlock Holmes Now Belongs to Everyone

I first reported on this at the end of last year, but now that the Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal by the Arthur Conan Doyle estate, there aren’t any more possible take-backs. Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, Mrs. Hudson, and the rest are in the public domain. Since the Supremes passed on review, this previous finding holds: “We cannot find any basis in statute or case law for extending a copyright beyond its expiration,” [a judge] wrote in […]

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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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