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review 2017-04-21 16:49
All the bants
The Secrets of Gaslight Lane - M.R.C. Kasasian

Thanks to my friends (Katie, I'm talking to you!) over at Pegasus Books, I was able to get my hands on the latest installment to The Gower Street Detective series before publication (April 11th aka my birthday). Sidney Grice and his plucky assistant, March Middleton, are at it again in The Secrets of Gaslight Lane where they are tasked with solving not one but two locked room murders perpetrated in the same house several years apart. I have to caution yet again that this is not a series for anyone with a weak stomach or an aversion to overuse of adjectives and adverbs. (I think M.R.C. Kasasian possesses the most extensive vocabulary of any author I have ever read.) For those hoping for further resolution to the dramas surrounding Grice's past with March's mother and/or March's relationshiop with Inspector Pound then you're going to be fairly disappointed with this book. This is a case-heavy narrative with complicated facets and multiple characters. It's also chock full of hilarity and acerbic wit. Grice and March are definitely getting in the groove of their partnership and their back-and-forth banter (especially with clients) is delicious. This is a series I could see being re-tooled on Masterpiece Mystery and if cast correctly it would be fantastic. And as with his previous books in this series, Kasasian manages to drop a bombshell at the end which will leave readers salivating for more. 10/10 and I can't wait for Dark Dawn Over Steep House which will hopefully be out at the end of the year.

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-01-10 15:41
Murder most foul
Death Descends on Saturn Villa: The Gower Street Detective: Book 3 (Grower Street Detectives) - M.R.C. Kasasian

Death Descends on Saturn Villa is the third book in the Gower Street Detective series by M.R.C. Kasasian. (Go here for the review of the first book and here for the second.) The tension continues to ratchet higher and higher between the famous detective Sidney Grice and his protege March Middleton as we inch closer and closer to the truth about Grice's past and his connection to March's mother. Kasasian is finally starting to clear up some of the mystery revolving around their pasts but he's still weaving webs of intrigue around them both (only fitting I suppose). This book centers on a case which is high stakes and multifaceted with March as the prime suspect. DUM DUM DUUUUUM (That's supposed to be menacingly tense music not a commentary on the intelligence of the storyline by the way.) Once again, I feel I need to caution readers who might have sensitive stomachs because Kasasian has a gift for detailed descriptions of gore. I must also mention that if you get triggered easily then you should approach this book with caution. (You'll probably be fine but I just want to make you aware.) This book ultimately raises more questions than it answers but one thing it does do is make Grice a little more human. If you've enjoyed the first two books in the series then you're sure to enjoy this continuation. The fourth book in the series, The Secrets of Gaslight Lane, is due out on April 4th of this year so get caught up while you still have plenty of time. XD

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2016-12-08 03:22
The Mangle Street Murders
The Mangle Street Murders - M.R.C. Kasasian

I bought this at a library sale because the cover caught my eye; I had no expectations, as I'd never heard of it before but it had a vaguely Holmesian feel to it.

 

I wasn't wrong; there are both subtle and blatant nods to Doyle and Holmes throughout the story, but... I don't know how to say this.  The Mangle Street Murders reads like it was written by someone well-versed in the Holmes cannon but who resented the varnish put on the Victorian age and so set out to reimagine a Holmes worthy murder mystery in all its gory, gritty detail.

 

If that's indeed what Kasasian set out to do, then boy howdy did he/she succeed.  Sydney Grice, the famous personal detective is what Holmes might look like if he were actually a sociopath.  Self admittedly greedy, vain, selfish and without a shred of courtesy or decency he's almost a comic figure, until the reader is forced to witness his delight in public executions and other examples of his inhumanity.  The author tries half-heartedly to hint at some underlying decency, but frankly fails; they are too few and too brief to have any impact.  Add to that the grisly, graphic details in just about every scene of the book and it's a wonder I kept reading past the first mortuary scene.  There were times I honestly felt like the author was trying to punish the reader, beating them over the head with the reality of the 1880's.

 

But I did keep reading; I really liked the MC, March Middleton.  From the introduction it's clear she's Grice's historian, in much the same way Watson was for Holmes, only she is (sorry Watson, I love you) much smarter than Watson and a far more invested participant. Of course she has a hidden pain - a tragedy in her past - that is shared piecemeal in the form of old journal entries.  These are done perfectly: just often enough that they tug at your soul and keep you on the edge of your seat dreading what must be the inevitable.  The inevitable, however, must be part of a multi book story arc because we don't get to it here.

 

The plotting was competent.  Of course Grice is secretive so neither Marsh nor the reader are every privy to crucial details until very nearly the end when he waves his superiority around in a nauseating way, but Marsh gets hers back, making for a more even read.  The ultimate criminal was a person I pegged very early in the book, but there were so many layers and complexities that really all I'd done was identify the tip of the iceberg.

 

All said, the writing is excellent, the story and characters were compelling and I definitely won't read the second one.  I'm not at all ashamed to admit that I don't want this level of factual realism in my books.  I enjoyed the mystery but it was overshadowed by the author's need for verisimilitude; if you don't mind that level of grittiness, and you enjoy a good historical mystery, then this one is worth exploring.  Otherwise stick with Holmes and Watson.

 

 

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review 2016-12-07 02:28
Weak stomachs steer clear from here!
The Curse Of The House Of Foskett - M.R.C. Kasasian Not too long ago, I reviewed The Mangle Street Murders by M.R.C. Kasasian which is the first book in the Gower Street Detective series. Today's post is about the second book in the series which is titled The Curse of the House of Foskett. The sequel delves a bit deeper into March Middleton's past and hints at Sidney Grice's past as well (and possibly why he stepped forward as her guardian). As the prologue attests the case covered in this book shows a definite shift in their relationship and partnership. I enjoyed that most of all I think. The story starts out with our detective and his wannabe assistant cooped up in Gower Street because after the results of his last disastrous case (from the first book) he is being derided by the public and press at every turn. When he is approached by a member of the Final Death Society to make sure that if anything untoward happens to the members their deaths will be investigated everything spirals out of control. Grisly doesn't begin to cover the actions in this book so if you have a sensitive stomach this isn't one for you. However, if you enjoyed The Mangle Street Murders then I think you'll really enjoy this as you can really feel Kasasian is hitting his stride with characterization. (Also, the wit and sarcasm are to die for!) There are mysteries within mysteries within mysteries in this book. I can see that he's setting up a rather shocking revelation to be delivered most likely many books down the line. (That's smart marketing right there!). As it is, there is another book already out and a fourth is slated to come out next year I believe. I'd give this one an 8/10.
Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2016-12-07 02:28
Weak stomachs steer clear from here!
The Curse Of The House Of Foskett - M.R.C. Kasasian Not too long ago, I reviewed The Mangle Street Murders by M.R.C. Kasasian which is the first book in the Gower Street Detective series. Today's post is about the second book in the series which is titled The Curse of the House of Foskett. The sequel delves a bit deeper into March Middleton's past and hints at Sidney Grice's past as well (and possibly why he stepped forward as her guardian). As the prologue attests the case covered in this book shows a definite shift in their relationship and partnership. I enjoyed that most of all I think. The story starts out with our detective and his wannabe assistant cooped up in Gower Street because after the results of his last disastrous case (from the first book) he is being derided by the public and press at every turn. When he is approached by a member of the Final Death Society to make sure that if anything untoward happens to the members their deaths will be investigated everything spirals out of control. Grisly doesn't begin to cover the actions in this book so if you have a sensitive stomach this isn't one for you. However, if you enjoyed The Mangle Street Murders then I think you'll really enjoy this as you can really feel Kasasian is hitting his stride with characterization. (Also, the wit and sarcasm are to die for!) There are mysteries within mysteries within mysteries in this book. I can see that he's setting up a rather shocking revelation to be delivered most likely many books down the line. (That's smart marketing right there!). As it is, there is another book already out and a fourth is slated to come out next year I believe. I'd give this one an 8/10.
Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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