Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Review: The Case of the Missing Marquess

The Enola Holmes mysteries weren't on my radar when I signed up for the Baker Street Challenge, but I'm so glad I decided to give them a shot! Here's an excerpt of my review of the first book in the series, The Case of the Missing Marquess:

Women have always upset Sherlock Holmes’s equilibrium (see Irene Adler from the original short stories or Mary Russell from Laurie R. King’s fantastic mystery series). Holmes’s family background is one aspect of his life that has received scant, if any, attention in the various Holmes pastiches that have appeared over the years. In the first Enola Holmes mystery, Nancy Springer dares to imagine a most unconventional mother and much-younger sister for the famed detective, both highly unconventional women well capable of throwing his order-loving world slightly off-kilter.

You can read the rest of my review here.

The other Ruth at Booktalk & More.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Review: The Mysterious World of Sherlock Holmes by Bruce Wexler

The Mysterious World of Sherlock Holmes
The Mysterious World of Sherlock Holmes
Author: Bruce Wexler
Publisher: Running Press (2008)
Hardcover, 192 pages, $14.95
ISBN-10: 0762432527
ISBN-13: 978-0762432523

Lavishly illustrated, The Mysterious World of Sherlock Holmes is a companion guide to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Great Detective.

The book includes a biography of Conan Doyle, a history of Sherlock Holmes in print as well as on stage and screen, and an examination of the Holmes phenomenon today. Wexler also briefly touches on Sherlock Holmes' role in the evolution of crime fiction, the class structure of Victorian society, Victorian medicine and Holmes' use of forensic investigative techniques.

Over 150 illustrations are beautifully presented throughout the book. Many of Sidney Padget's iconic images are reproduced as full or half-page illustrations. There are many photographs of Victorian London and weapons that were common to the era. The section picturing some of Holmes' key possessions (such as his deerstalker hat, magnifying glass, pipe, Persian slipper, and violin) was especially interesting to me. When I first read through the Sherlock Holmes stories as a teenager, I had no idea what a Persian slipper looked like. I would have had no such trouble envisioning Holmes' quirky method of tobacco storage if this book had been available then.

Read my full review at Bookish Ruth.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Challenge Completed!

Yep, that's right, I've completed The Baker Street Challenge!

I chose the 7% Solution level so I had to read 7 books. Since I had already gotten interested in Laurie R. King's Sherlock Holmes/Mary Russell series I decided to read the 7 remaining books in that series.

Here's a recap of what I read (with links to my reviews) and the major themes/settings of each:
  1. Monstrous Regiment of Women - women's movement after World War I
  2. Letter of Mary - archeology and women
  3. The Moor- fraud and The Hound of the Baskervilles
  4. Oh, Jerusalem!- colonial control of Palestine
  5. Justice Hall - World War I battlefront issues and English inheritance law
  6. The Game - colonialism and espionage in India
  7. Locked Rooms - the jazz age in San Fransisco
I recapped the challenge and wrote more of my thoughts on the books over at my blog.

Thank for putting this together Ruth!

- Heather from Age 30+ ... A Lifetime of Books

Monday, April 13, 2009

Locked Rooms

This is the 8th book in the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series. The 9th book, THE LANGUAGE OF BEES, comes out next month.
In this episode the couple travels to San Fransisco where they attempt to unravel the secrets of Mary's tragic childhood while navigating a city in the throes of the jazz age.
If you'd like to read my complete but very short review, hop on over to my blog.

- Heather from Age 30+ ... A Lifetime of Books

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Game

Here's a snippet from my review:
In this, the 7th Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes book, the case bring our detectives to India. This is the time of declining British control in India, the time of Gandhi, the time of the Muslim League - a very exciting and turbulent point in India's history. It's also the time of flappers and Bolsheviks ...

In addition to a vividly created setting, King brings in the title character from Rudyard Kipling's novel KIM.
You can read the entire review at my blog.

- Heather J.
Age 30+ ... A Lifetime of Books

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Justice Hall

Here's an excerpt from the review:
This is the 6th book in the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series. This particular book deals with English inheritance law, World War I trench warfare and battlefield (in)justice, and it also brings back two characters from the 5th book, O JERUSALEM.

As with most of the other books in this series, the case doesn't really begin to develop until the 2nd half of the book (but of course, that is how things go in real life - you often don't know exactly what it is your are looking into and then suddenly things begin coming together). The middle of the book is where it got REALLY interesting for me - I couldn't put it down and read until way too late at night.
The rest of the review, along with some interesting links, is posted at my blog.

- Heather J.
Age 30+ ... A Lifetime of Books

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Bee is Free: Free eBook of The Beekeeper's Apprentice

If you're reading this and haven't read The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King yet, run, do not walk, to for a free eBook. Like mysteries? Like Sherlock Holmes? You'll love this. Don't like mysteries and couldn't care less about Sherlock Holmes? (We need to talk...) Give it a try; it's free!

The book will be free to download starting today, April 1st (No, it's not an April Fool's Day joke!) and remain available until April 15th.

If I were to be marooned on a desert island tomorrow, this is one of the books I would want with me.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Review: The Beekeeper's Apprentice

Hi everyone! I'm so excited to post my first contribution to the Baker Street Challenge Blog. Here's a snippet of my review of The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King:

In The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, Laurie R. King introduces Sherlock Holmes to the most unlikely companion – a young woman with an intellect that matches the legendary detective in every way. Holmes is well-known for his lack of tolerance for the mental acuity of others – so for Mary Russell to have won his admiration, respect, and affection is a remarkable feat. This series needs to achieve two objectives to succeed – the character of Holmes has to be true to the canon and Russell has to be a true equal to him in mind and mettle.

You can read the rest of my review here.

The other Ruth at Booktalk & More.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

O Jerusalem

In this 4th Sherlock Holmes/Mary Russell adventure, we go back in time a few years. While working on the major case in THE BEEKEEPER'S APPRENTICE (the 1st book in the series), Holmes and Russell took a work-related trip to the Middle East. What exactly they did there was glossed over in that book ... and now we get the details.

You can read my full review here.

- Heather (from Age 30+ ... A Lifetime of Books)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Moor

I recently finished another in the Sherlock Holmes/Mary Russell series ...
Since this is the 4th in the SH/MR series, I didn’t read the back of the book - I'm already into the story by now. Because of that, I assumed that "The Moor" referred to in the title would be like Morgan Freeman’s character in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. (This makes lots of sense when you consider Russell’s Jewish background and her keen interest in the Middle East.) You can imagine my surprise when the book turned out to be about the actual moor – as in, a place in England –and not a Saracen. Oops.

This was my very favorite in the series so far. If you like THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, you will like this story. You can read my complete review here.

- Heather (from Age 30+ ... A Lifetime of Books)

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Letter of Mary

I've finished my 2nd book for this challenge, A LETTER OF MARY, by Laurie R. King. This is the 3rd in the Sherlock Holmes/Mary Russell series.

Here's an excerpt from my review:
What I enjoyed about this particular book was the abundance of red herrings. Holmes and Russell have at least three distinctly different suspects for the murder of Ms. Ruskin and they can’t seem to figure out which is the real murderer. Whenever one suspect becomes a more likely candidate, something happens to change things yet again. And what I originally thought would be the focus of the story in the end turned out to be more of a side note. I love being surprised like that.
You can read the complete review at my blog if you like.

- Heather (from Age 30+ ... A Lifetime of Books)

How are the rest of you progressing with this challenge?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Monstrous Regiment of Women

A MONSTROUS REGIMENT OF WOMEN, by Laurie R. King, is the 2nd book in the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes (MR/SH) series. Here is an excerpt from my review:
One of the things I enjoy about the MR/SH books is the way King brings so much of "current events" into the stories. In this particular book, World War I has been over for a few years and there are changes in society as a result: women in the workforce (or who had been during the war), women wanting to do more meaningful work than staying at home, fewer men in general, shell-shocked soldiers, drug abuse, etc. All of these elements make their way into this book - and the case - at various points.
If you'd like to read the complete review, click here.

I very much enjoyed this book and I've already started the next one, A LETTER OF MARY.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Author Guest Post

For those who are interested, I interviewed author Laurie R. King on my blog today. Laurie writes the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes books. She's currently touring the blogosphere in preparation for the publication of the 9th MR book, THE LANGUAGE OF BEES.

Come on over to my blog and see what Laurie has to say.

I'm currently reading the 2nd of the Mary Russell books, A MONSTROUS REGIMENT OF WOMEN ... I should have a review for you all soon!

- Heather J.
Age 30+ ... A Lifetime of Books

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Shadow of Reichenbach Falls

Firstly I want to thank Ruth for hosting this fantabulous challenge and for letting me post my thoughts on Holmes and Holmes related books. I've long had a love affair with the great detective. Come now, I even named my dog after him.

I just finished reading John R. King's The Shadow of Reichenbach Falls. I was intrigued by the premise of the book. What ensued in the aftermath of Holmes dire confrontation with Moriarty at Reichenbach Falls? Not but a few pages into the book, the reader is introduced to young Thomas Carnacki. Yes, William Hope Hodgson's Thomas Carnacki. He is instrumental in saving the now amnesiac Holmes from his plunge off the falls. The cast of characters is rounded out by Moriarty and his daughter Anna. King does a good job of presenting multi-faceted and sympathetic characters and I admire his ambition in providing a background for such monumental men as Moriarty and Carnacki. However I was disappointed in the back stories he presented here and the subsequent esoteric plot line. No matter how well paced the adventure, I just couldn't get past the pairing of Holmes and the young ghost finder. I like paranormal detecting, just leave Holmes out of it. This novel wasn't for me but it did encourage me to reread Hodgson's work.

Has anyone else read it? I would love to know what you think.

Off to start my next Sherlock adventure.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Laurie R. King Guest Post at Bookish Ruth

I'd like to invite everyone to check out Laurie R. King's guest post on my blog, Bookish Ruth. Ms. King has just launched The Fifteen Weeks of Bees, which celebrates the fifteenth anniversary of the publication of The Beekeeper's Apprentice, the 150th birthday of Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and the release of the ninth Mary Russell book, The Language of Bees (April 28, 2009).

Click here for a fascinating look at the genesis of Mary Russell.