Greetings from The Raven!

Jun. 17, 2017

Sherlock Holmes and the Portal of Time by Michael Druce

I guess a possible spoiler warning is required, although I reveal nothing that the back cover doesn't cover...

My thanks go out to Steve and Timi at MX Publishing for my copy of this novel! May Holmes always be on your side in any problem in your life!

HG Wells returns from a trip to Scotland with a gunshot wound in his leg. Asked by his wife what happened, he states that he went to Germany in the future and was attacked by Nazis!

Holmes is contacted by Wells’ wife Jane who believes the case cannot go to the authorities. Wells had been preparing for a tour in the United States with his friend, Albert Einstein. Einstein is kidnapped and held for two days and released unharmed. He decides to return to Berlin…

With the discovery of a stable wormhole between Loch Naire, Scotland and Berlin, Germany, it becomes possible for those in the know to time travel. The two fixed points are eighteen years and one week’s difference in time. It would be theoretically possible for someone to change the future by changing the past. It wouldn’t need to be a major change; even a minor discrepancy would have an exponential result.

Unfortunately, Professor Moriarty is one of the people “in the know.” He has already changed the past and if Holmes and Watson cannot repair the damage, Germany will become unstoppable in the upcoming WWII…

I thought the book was well written and the pace just right! The ending was a tad predictable, but still a great story overall. I give the book four stars!

Quoth the Raven…

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Jun. 17, 2017

A Sherlockian Walk ‘midst Tombstones by Brenda Rossini

My thanks go out to Steve and Timi at MX Publishing for my copy of this work of love. May you never require the services of a Sherlock Holmes!

This is another work by Brenda Rossini which I would hesitate to actually call a “book.” I have now read this book twice. Unlike the other Brenda Rossini Sherlockian book I recently reviewed, I actually understood this one perfectly!

I found the connections between tombs and tombstones in Chicago’s Graceland Cemetery and the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle rather morbid and very interesting! I also liked the period cartoon that shows Doyle on a chair shackled to Holmes! Doyle wanted to be free from Holmes and killed him off at Reichenbach Falls, but unfortunately for him—extremely fortunate for readers!—Holmes paid the bills that his other works did not. Doyle wrote historical books and even horror stories, he had another hero in Professor Challenger, but Holmes made his fame and fortune.

 I rather like this short “book.” I give it four stars…

Quoth the Raven…

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Inserted: e

Jun. 7, 2017

The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories Part V: Christmas Adventures edited by David Marcum

My thanks go out to Steve and Timi at MX Publishing for my copy of this book. Long may Sherlock Holmes and Undershaw House live and prosper!

Volume V of this amazing series contains thirty-one short works of Holmes fiction. Giving a line or two to each would take up more lines of review than the average reader would be willing to peruse. Overall, the book is awesome! The major reason I am now in possession of Volume VI is a statement to the quality of the stories in this series! All are gems of value; like all gems, some worth more than others.

For me there were two entries I simply could not read. This is not a stain on the authors’ reputation, but my own taste. I find it nigh impossible to read plays. I would love to see them performed or listen to the radio play, but I just cannot read them…

I especially enjoyed “A Perpetrator in a Pear Tree” by Roger Riccard and it gets my vote for “Best in Book!” A man is killed in a locked room. The solving of this seemingly impossible crime and the method of dispatching the victim totally fit into the theme of this book! Hats off to the author!

Readers of this series will be glad to see familiar authors returning for another story. Dennis O Smith, Amy Thomas, Derrick Belanger, David Marcum, Molly Carr, Hugh Aston, and Peter K Andersson are known for their ability to channel the spirit of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. They join a flock of new writers to bring the reader into Christmas no matter what day it actually is!

I am truly sorry, Peter K Andersson, but your story “The Adventure of the Improbable Intruder” was “Worst in Book” for me. The story felt a bit unfinished somehow. It just didn’t work for me.

Given the incredible amount of talent shining in this MX series, how could I give the volume anything except FIVE STARS PLUS!

Quoth the Raven…

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Jun. 4, 2017

Sherlockian Ruminations from a Stormy Petrel by Brenda Rossini

My thanks to Steve and Timi at MX Publishing for my copy of this book.

This novelty is only 42 pages, starting on page five and running through page 27. Chapbook, pamphlet, research paper—these might be more descriptive of the end product. One of these days I have got to start reading reviews of the book before requesting it for review. This one was my bad, not the author.

That said, I have read the book now four times. To be very honest, I must be totally missing any point this “book” wants readers to understand. Brenda Rossini seems to be endeavoring to make scholastic exploration of various stories. I flatter myself that I am not a dullard, but this is going nowhere with me.

Judging from other reviews I have read now about this book, I am in the minority among Holmes readers. In my defense, I read Holmes for the adventures, the mysteries, and the final deductions. Had I known that this was a scholary paper, I would have never asked for a copy. The study of hidden meanings in the writings doubtless work for a certain audiance. I am missing the whole idea...

Mark Twain once wrote in The Prince and the Pauper, concerning Tom’s problems posing as the king how things are misunderstood. Lady Jane Grey has fired a Greek phrase at Tom, as the King knows Latin and Greek. Twain talks about the “serene blankness of the target’s face showing the bolt was overshot.” I understand that feeling!

I hope that others will get more out of this than I can. But in fairness to me, I did read it four times. I just don’t get it.

I can only give the “book” one star.

Quoth the Raven…

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Jun. 3, 2017

A Fever in the Blood by Oscar de Muriel

My thanks to my contacts at Pegasus Books, Iris Blasi, Katie McGuire, and Maia Larson, for my advance reading copy of this book. You ladies rock!

I am not trying to create spoilers, but people often appreciate a warning nevertheless…

The book begins with a historical reference to the execution of six witches in 1624. The women were hanged on Halloween, made even weirder by the date falling on the night of the new moon. During their execution the witches pronounce a curse upon the descendants of Lord Ambrose, the man who had sentenced them to hang.

In modern times, the family now goes by the surname of Ardglass. Lady Ardglass is a cruel woman. Now an alcoholic widow, she forces Doctor Clouston to sign a binding agreement to never divulge that her son, Lord Joel Ardglass has gone insane. To protect the man’s health, Clouston agrees to the terms, and Lord Ardglass becomes a patient in the local Asylum. To the outside world, Lady Ardglass reports that her son is dead…

McGray’s sister also becomes a patient at the Asylum. On that fateful night, McGray’s father having died, Lady Ardglass is cold-hearted enough to try to repossess McGray’s father’s land. Only the threat of exposure by Dr. Clouston sends the Ardglass clan away…

Now there has been murder inside the Asylum. The victim is a nurse. The murderer is Lord Joel Ardglass! Frey and McGray are stunned to hear that Lord Joel is even alive! Ardglass was said to talk to Pansy McGray before escaping. Yet Pansy has said nothing for as long as she has been at the Asylum…

This is a tale of madness and witches that would have made an excellent movie! Much like Oscar de Muriel’s first volume, The Strings of Murder, one is reminded of the X-Files. There are charms, potions, spells, hidden bodies, poison and the specter of madness over them all!

The curse on the Ardglass family stated that the family line would end in the thirteenth generation from the time of the witches’ execution. Lord Joel Ardglass has a daughter, Lady Caroline. She is generation thirteen. But what has sent a madman on a mission that required the death of a nurse and a destructive war?

The tale never loses its frantic pace as Frey and McGray battle the weather, the search for Lord Ardglass, the witches, and each other! Frey thinks McGray should recuse himself from the case, as he has a personal stake in the matter. McGray wants desperately to know what his sister said to Ardglass. McGray is still of the opinion that the Inspector from London is too soft to deal with Scottish crime.

Lit by green flames, shrouded in snowstorms, and packed with action the story will hold you fascinated until the end! I loved it!

I give the story five stars plus!

Quoth the Raven…

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