A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
What would happen if the teenage descendants of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson met at a Connecticut boarding school and there just happened to be a murder there? Well, obviously Charlotte Holmes and James Watson were destined to become friends and solve the mystery together. A Study in Charlotte is a fun-filled Sherlockian homage with fascinating characters who have both similarities to and differences from their literary ancestors. The plot told, as it should be, from Watson’s point-of-view, is engaging and well-paced. I’m excited to see where Brittany Cavallaro takes her characters next.
A Share in Death by Deborah Crombie
“A Share in Death” is the first entry in the series. A quaint, country manor house full of vacationing tourists turns into a house full of suspects when one of the staff turns up dead in the pool. This book has a comforting Agatha Christie-esque feel to it. Although she’s originally from Texas, Ms. Crombie has a great sense for British culture and writing. Her protagonists Scotland Yard Superintendent Duncan Kincaid & Sergeant Gemma James are smart and audacious. And while I don’t expect these modern mysteries to continue to have so much in common with Christie’s novels, this one had the makings of a decent English countryside who-dun-it. I can say definitively that I will read more of Ms. Crombie’s mysteries.
The Affinity Bridge by George Mann
Review: I liked this one. The steampunk elements don’t overwhelm the story but instead simply add a different flavor. The plot points ended up coming together in an interesting way and the characters were flawed but still amusing and charismatic. My only complaint was that I figured out the mystery a little sooner than a mystery dunce like me should have.
Bones to Ashes by Kathy Reichs
Review: This is the 10th book in the series which inspired the television show “Bones.” Now I happen to like “Bones” and watch it regularly. So after I got over the inevitable comparisons, this book got better. Yes, there are some similarities but don’t expect the Temperance Brennan from the show to appear in the book. That being said, I came to enjoy the differences between the character from the book and the one I love from the show.
The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle
Review: This was the first Sherlock Holmes story I have ever read. There is no doubt that Conan Doyle is a great writer. His wordsmithing skills shine through every page. I chose this particular Holmes because I had not heard anything about it or seen any adaptations. I wanted to remain surprised at the outcome. However, there might be a reason this mystery has not been adapted. While still fairly good and very much like what I expected from Sherlock Holmes, it was not, I think, the best example of Sherlockian literature. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed it.
Nemesis by Agatha Christie
Review: Solid Christie. I really liked the way this one is set up: Miss Marple receives a mystery letter from a dead acquaintance that starts her down the path to solving multiple murders. It was clever and fun. However, I still like Ms. Christie’s Poirot novels more than Miss Marple. Poirot seems to be more about smarts whereas Miss Marple stumbles into murder investigations and sometimes even acts dumb or scatterbrained to get to the truth. Although I do like the thought of a little old lady kicking ass and taking names.