George V. Reilly

Review: The Breath of God

Title: The Breath of God
Author: Guy Adams
Rating: ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Titan
Copyright: 2011
Pages: 245
Keywords: mystery, sherlock holmes pastiche
Reading period: 13–15 April, 2016

This book fails both as a Sherlock Holmes pastiche and as an adventure. The story is narrated by Watson, but the pro­tag­o­nist neither sounds nor acts much like Watson. Holmes is elsewhere for much of the book and he is very annoying when present. The plot is a pre­pos­ter­ous mashup of steampunk and occult magick.

As in The Sher­lock­ian, this author does not have the skill to write a convincing Holmes–Wat­son novel. I deducted another half star for the shoddy editing and the comma splices.

Review: The Locked Room

Title: The Locked Room
Author: Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Vintage
Copyright: 1973
Pages: 279
Keywords: mystery
Reading period: 8–12 April, 2016

In The Locked Room, Martin Beck, recovering from being shot, in­ves­ti­gates the death of a man, who has been found shot in a locked room with no gun. Meanwhile, some of his former colleagues, now serving on a special task force, are trying to deal with an epidemic of bank robberies. The latter is a comedy of errors, with the police con­sis­tent­ly messing up.

The authors are severely critical of the growth of Swedish police powers in the decade before this book was written. They also write harshly of continue.

Review: A Stone of the Heart

Title: A Stone of the Heart
Author: John Brady
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Steerforth Press
Copyright: 1988
Pages: 256
Keywords: mystery
Reading period: 2–8 April, 2016

A student is found murdered on the grounds of Trinity College Dublin. Sergeant Matt Minogue, newly back on duty after serious injuries, in­ves­ti­gates and eventually finds links to the violence then roiling Northern Ireland.

A slow-moving but thoughtful police procedural. Minogue may be trau­ma­tized by earlier injuries, but he is not the cynical, hard-drinking policeman so typical of fiction, but rather a happily married father with a nose for the truth.

Review: Venetian Mask

Title: Venetian Mask
Author: Mickey Friedman
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright: 1988
Pages: 352
Keywords: mystery
Reading period: 27 March–2 April, 2016

Six people arrange to meet in Venice for Carnival, masked and costumed as their true selves. Not knowing how the others are costumed, each makes very dif­fer­en­t—and wrong—as­sump­tions. Brian, husband of Sally and lover of Jean-Pierre, is found dead. Surely one of the group is the killer. An effete local, Count Michele Zanon, takes an interest in the affair.

A strange novel whose plot hinges on mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tion, mistaken identities, and incorrect as­sump­tions, as the seven pro­tag­o­nists rush around Venice, seeking or hiding from each other.

Review: The Fourth Secret

Title: The Fourth Secret
Author: Andrea Camilleri
Rating: ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Mondadori
Copyright: 2002
Pages: 77
Keywords: mystery
Reading period: February 28–March 2, 2016

A quirky novella about Com­mis­sario Montalbano of the Italian Polizia. A series of “ac­ci­dents” have been happening at con­struc­tion sites. Montalbano receives an anonymous letter warning that another “accident” will happen, too late to prevent it. He attempts to cover it up, while still in­ves­ti­gat­ing, and realizes that he's infringing on the carib­inieri's ju­ris­dic­tion, a no-no.

Moderately en­ter­tain­ing.

Review: Moriarty

Title: Moriarty
Author: Anthony Horowitz
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Harper­Collins
Copyright: 2014
Pages: 309
Keywords: mystery
Reading period: 27 February–5 March, 2016

Pinkerton agent Frederick Chase arrives at Re­ichen­bach Falls just after Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty have plunged to their deaths. With Inspector Athelney Jones of Scotland Yard—­sure­ly one of Holmes's most ardent stu­dents—he travels to London on the trail of an American master criminal, Clarence Devereaux. De­v­ereaux's gang is moving quickly and ruthlessly to seize control of the vacuum left by Moriarty. But not all is it appears and the American gang receive bloody setbacks. Could Moriarty be alive after all?

While I mostly enjoyed the book, I was ex­as­per­at­ed continue.

Review: Graveyard Dust

Title: Graveyard Dust
Author: Barbara Hambly
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Bantam
Copyright: 1999
Pages: 315
Keywords: historical mystery
Reading period: 21 February, 2016

New Orleans, 1834. Benjamin January is a free man of color and a Paris-trained surgeon who must support himself as a musician. His sister Olympe, a voodooi­enne, and another woman, Célie, are accused of murdering Célie's husband, and Ben must save them from hanging. As a pro­fes­sion­al musician and a colored man, Ben moves between the high society of the old French in­hab­i­tants and the new American merchants, the poor white areas of town, the many slaves, and the small free black middle class. Hambly adeptly explores slavery, the uneasy crossover between French and American continue.

Review: Death In A Strange Country

Title: Death In A Strange Country
Author: Donna Leon
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Arrow Books
Copyright: 1993
Pages: 373
Keywords: mystery
Reading period: 19–21 February, 2016

A body has washed up in the canals of Venice, that of an American soldier from the nearby US base at Vicenza. Com­mis­sario Guido Brunetti doesn't believe that it's a mugging gone wrong, especially when he sees the fear in the eyes of the female army doctor who's sent to identify the body. He digs and finds corruption among the rich and powerful, in a toxic coverup.

Brunetti is a decent and honorable family man, whose sense of justice is undi­min­ished by working for an in­com­pe­tent func­tionary continue.

Review: The Straw Men

Title: The Straw Men
Author: Paul Doherty
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Severn House Digital
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 224
Keywords: historical mystery
Reading period: January 29–Feb­ru­ary 16 2016

London, January 1381. John of Gaunt's regency is in trouble, unrest abounds throughout the land, and uprisings are being plotted. Brother Athelstan and his friend the Coroner are invited to a per­for­mance by Gaunt's players, the Straw Men, at the Tower of London. When a murder occurs during the play, Athelstan is required to in­ves­ti­gate. Several more murders happen before he finds the culprit.

Doherty pulls off both an intricate plot and a satisfying historical novel.

Review: Thrones, Dominations

Title: Thrones, Dom­i­na­tions
Author: Dorothy L. Sayers & Jill Paton Walsh
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Copyright: 1998
Pages: 322
Keywords: mystery
Reading period: 4–7 February, 2016

Recently married, Lord Peter Wimsey and the former Harriet Vane take up residence at their townhouse. When the beautiful wife of an ac­quain­tance is murdered, Peter becomes involved in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Meanwhile, Harriet is coming to terms with having "married up", after fending off Peter's wooing for several years. Should she continue her career as a mystery novelist, now that she no longer needs the income, or do what is expected by some: have babies and give up writing. All of this is against the continue.

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