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text 2018-08-04 13:19
Librarian suggested this
Anonymous Rex: A Detective Story by Eric Garcia (1999-07-27) - Eric Garcia

She said it was about a T-rex detective, but she was wrong.   He's a velociraptor, it's fun, but it's also set in a human world where dinosaur didn't go extinct.   They were human guises - disguises - and the humans don't know about them, and I'm side-eyeing the book because how is that possible?   

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review 2018-07-02 06:06
Green River Killer
Green River Killer: A True Detective Story - Jonathan Case,Jeff Jensen

This book should have been interesting, but the material is mishandled, and it ends up being a story about essentially nothing (what was the point of this book?).


I did not understand the interweaving timelines. It just made it difficult to understand what was happening.


Skip this one and read My Friend Dahmer instead if you're looking for graphic novels about serial killers.

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review 2018-03-28 11:27
A Double Barrelled Detective Story
A Double Barrelled Detective Story - Lucius Hitchcock,Mark Twain

I'm not sure what to say about this one.  I can't say I'm particularly well read in Mark Twain's works, but I've read enough that I expected a level of satiric humor that I didn't immediately find.  In fact, the story started out rather dark, tragic and confronting.  About 10% of the way through, a hint of absurdity, but still dark.  


It's not until midway through Part II of the story that it started to really feel like something written by Twain, and mind you, I've still not seen a hint of Sherlock Holmes.  I was starting to feel robbed.  It's also at this point that it sort of feels like Twain lost the reigns of the story; it scatters all over the place with suddenly changing POVs and focus.  Not so scattered, though, that it wasn't apparent where Twain was going, the set-up for the twist of irony.


Then, finally, Sherlock Holmes enters the scene.  Twain is known for his scathing satire, so it's no surprise that Holmes does not come out looking like the paragon he is, but at the same time, Twain is skewering everyone else too, and somehow it makes it easier to sit back and laugh at the absurdity of it all.  Even though the plot had lost most of its focus, it was still the most enjoyable part of the story for me.


I'm glad I discovered this book and story - I thoroughly enjoyed it - but it's clear why it's not a well-known work of Twain's.  It's worth reading for Holmes fans for the sheer novelty, if nothing else, and I adore my copy.  But for those without the sentimental streak for Holmes, it's best experienced via Gutenberg or an anthology of Twain's work. 


This fits the Kill Your Darlings game card for Crime Scene: Dark Tower, as it takes place out west and is written by an American author.

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review 2017-01-12 12:05
Music, mystery, beautiful writing and a story that proves reality is weirder than fiction
Ghost Variations: The Strangest Detective Story In Music - Jessica Duchen

I’m writing this review on behalf of Rosie’s Book Review Team. I was given an ARC copy of this book and I voluntarily chose to review it.

I enjoy reading in a variety of genres but have recently realised that I really enjoy historical fiction, as it offers me both, great stories and a background that’s interesting in its own right and that often offers me insight into eras and situations I know little about.

When I read the description of this novel I thought it sounded very different to what I usually read, but fascinating at the same time. A mystery surrounding a piece of music (a violin concerto) by a famous composer (Robert Schuman) that has been hidden for a long time. I love music but I’m not a deep connoisseur, and I didn’t realise when I read about the novel that the story was based on facts (it follows quite closely the events that took place in the 1930s, involving Hungarian (later nationalised British) violinist Jelly d’Arányi, and a concert Schuman wrote whilst already interned in an asylum) and included an element of the paranormal. It’s one of those cases when reality upstages fiction.

Despite the incredible story, that’s fascinating in its own right, Jessica Duchen does a great job of bringing all the characters to life. The story is told in the third person mostly from Jelly’s point of view, although later in the book we also get to hear about Ully, a character that although not based on a real person brings much to the equation, as it offers us a German perspective on the story. Jelly, who lives with her sister, brother-in-law, niece and their dog, despite her many admirers and some failed romances, is single and dedicated heart and soul to her music. I easily identified with Jelly, although our vocations and personal circumstances are very different, but I appreciated her dedication and love for music and for her family, her horror at the social and historical circumstances she was living through, her difficulties fitting in, as a foreigner living abroad, and her awareness of the challenges and limitations she was facing due to her age. There are very touching moments, for example when Jelly goes to visit her secretary and friend at the hospital and gives an impromptu concert there, when she organises a tour of concerts in cathedrals, free for everybody, not matter their social class, to collect funds for the poor, and when she becomes plagued by self-doubt, due to her personal circumstances and to her failing health. Jelly is not perfect, and she appears naïve at times, showing little understanding of issues like race or politics, limited insight into her own beliefs about the spirit world, her feelings and hesitating about what to do in her personal life, but she is a credible and passionate human being, and she gets to confront many of her fears by the end of the book.

Apart from the gripping story and the background behind the discovery of the concert, there is the historical context of the 1930s. As Schuman was a German composer, somehow it became a matter of national importance to recover the concert and claim it as a German work. The changes in Germany, the atmosphere of menace and threat, the rise of dangerous nationalism, and how that was also reflected in Britain, where the sisters lived, was well reflected and built into the book, especially when, at first sight, it seems to be only marginally relevant to the central mystery. As several characters observe in the novel, a piece of music is not ‘just a piece of music’ any longer and everything becomes vested with particular significance, thanks to manipulation and propaganda, no matter what the original intention of the composer might have been. I suspect most people who read this book won’t be able to resist comparing the historical situation then to our current times and worry.

This novel is a joy to read, one of these cases when the story and the writing style are perfectly matched and one can almost hear the music flowing from the pages. A wonderful novel that I recommend to anybody interested in the period and in good writing. I’ll be closely watching this author in the future.

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review 2016-01-22 00:00
Busman's Honeymoon: A Love Story with Detective Interruptions
Busman's Honeymoon: A Love Story with Detective Interruptions - Dorothy L. Sayers Not too long ago, my spouse read this book and intrigued me into doing the same. Back in the dark ages, when we lived in Pittsburgh and didn't have a TV or any money to speak of, we would entertain ourselves by reading Dorothy Sayers to each other in the evenings. I think we pretty much read them all, except for this one. So, now I've read this one as well. It's quite good.

My spouse vowed to divorce me if I didn't give it at least 4*s, but it's not too great a stretch for me to do so. Although, were I able to give +s or -s, I might rank it 4*-. The reason for her dictate is that I gave 4*s to The Diva Detective, which my spouse views as an inferior work. The Diva Detective actually quite good, and y'all ought to go read it yourselves.

Anyway, back to Busman's Honeymoon. Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane finally get married, after having known each other for six years. I guess that back in 1937 that was a long time. A few years earlier than that, my mother made my father wait three years before she would wed him, and up until she died at 106, she continued to lament about how long she had made him wait. My spouse barely gave me a year before we had to tie the knot. Now days, however, modern young folks wait for over a decade, it seems. I have kids to prove it.

Anyway, back to Harriet and Peter. They go off on their honeymoon to a small village near where Harriet grew up, planning to live in a house she remembers fondly from her youth. They had bought the house and it was supposed to have been pimped up for them. But when they got there, no pimping had been done, no one was there to greet them, and no one even knew they were to come. The previous owner had apparently run off, leaving oodles of debtors holding their bags, so to speak. Eventually they get inside. A day or so later, they discover the body of the guy who sold them the house in the basement, with his head bashed in. He'd been there for a week.

So we wander back and forth between Peter and Harriet getting into the swing of finally being married, so to speak, with interludes of musing about the murder, the suspects and possible motives. Well, they don't do much about motives. Their motto is that when one knows how a thing was done, one will know who dunnit, so to speak. For some reason, I found the musings about marriage and relationships rather interesting. I found much of the speculation and conjecture regarding who dunnit a bit tedious.

Whatever, it's a GoodRead for those of us who would still prefer to be reading rather than watching something stupid and trivial on the TV.
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