The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern

So I thought it was time for another Cat Who… mystery. I thought, I could write this myself, or once again borrow from an older family member. As you can see I am borrowing my sister blog’s review of the second book in the Cat Who… series.

CatWhoWroteABlog

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“We want you to publish a weekly magazine on interior design.’ ‘On what?‘ Qwilleran said in an unintended falsetto…Qwilleran’s throat felt as if he swallowed his moustache. ‘Gracious Abodes? Is that the name of the thing?” (pg. 10)

In this book I always feel bad for Qwill, as nothing seems to go right for him.

In book two, we pick up a little time after The Cat Who Could Read Backwards,  where we find Qwill eager for a new assignment. While he had some enjoyment on the art beat, art is not where he really wants to be. He wants to do something more exciting like crime, government issues, etc. However, his boss Percy (called that because of his excessive use of the phrase per se) doesn’t really go for that type of “disunity” and “abandonment” of your post.

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In other news, Koko is now a proud member…

View original post 2,860 more words

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A Study in Scarlet

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A Study in Scarlet (Sherlock Holmes #1) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Thoughts Before Reading:

For those of you who don’t know, this month marks the 128th anniversary of this book. Published in July of 1888, these characters have found a way into all our hearts.

So Sherlock Holmes is one of my favorite literary detectives.

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I’ve read almost all his stories, seen countless films and TV shows, and just all around enjoy his character. His massive intellect and keen observational skills are just so admirable, I can’t resist him.

So A Study in Scarlet is the first novel to have this brilliant detective. Many assume it is based on Edgar Allen Poe’s detective character that came out year’s before, Charles Dupin, but Doyle insisted that it was based on one of his professors.

So while the novel is split into two parts, in my opinion it is actually divided into three.

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Part I: Mr. Sherlock Holmes

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In this we are introduced to Dr. Watson. Shortly after he received his medical degree he was attached to the military as their assistant surgeon. He was sent off to India, where he was wounded and sent to a hospital. There he had even worse luck, catching a fever and becoming severely ill.

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After that he was sent home, honorable discharge, where he decided to move to London. Staying in a hotel he quickly burned through his money and found himself in need of cheaper lodgings.

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He runs into an old friend who tells him of an acquaintance that is also looking for a roommate, a Mr. Sherlock Holmes.

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We are first introduced to Sherlock Holmes doing an experiment in which he has found a way to prove how old blood is and whether a stain is blood or not. He also knows that Dr. Watson has recently returned from Afghanistan.

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Sherlock tells him about the rooms and when Dr. Watson and he look over the place and hear the rent price they find it most agreeable.

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Sherlock Holmes is not a difficult way to live with.  He is quiet, had his own habits he stays firmly by, has extensive energy when interested in something, but would have moments when he was hit by a “mood” and wouldn’t get up for months. Watson notices at times he looks like he is under a drug (opium) but Watson cannot believe such a man devoted to cleanliness could do such a thing.

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Sherlock knows nothing of contemporary events or anything that he feels does not relate to his studies. In fact Watson lists of everything he does and doesn’t know:

  1. Knowledge of Literature — Nil.
  2. Knowledge of Philosophy — Nil.
  3. Knowledge of Astronomy — Nil.
  4. Knowledge of Politics — Feeble
  5. Knowledge of Botany — Variable. Mostly poisons, nothing of practical gardening.
  6. Knowledge of Geology — Practical, but limited. Tells at a glance the different soils from each other.
  7. Knowledge of Chemistry — Profound.
  8. Knowledge of Anatomy — Accurate, but unsystematic.
  9. Knowledge of Sensation Literature — Immense. Knows every detail of ever horror perpetuated in the century.
  10. Plays the violin well.
  11. Is an excellent singlestick player, boxer, and swordsman.
  12. Has a good practical knowledge of British law.

Sherlock is also a keen observer and tells Watson how he knew of his time in Afghanistan. He also shares about how he often helps the police solve crimes. And at that very moment, a Marine comes with a note that Sherlock is wanted.

Interesting

Interesting

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Part II: The Lauriston Garden Mystery

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Sherlock receives a note from Detective Gregson to come to Lauriston Gardens as they are at a loss to how the crime was committed and by who?

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Sherlock invites Watson to come along, and the duo are off. When they arrive on the scene, Sherlock surprises Watson as he doesn’t rush inside the house to search it, but spends a long time looking at everything, from the ground, to the sky, to the house’s outside, etc.  He notices that a cab has been there. but neither Gregson or Detective Lestrade or their men know anything about that.

suspicious Hmm

The victim is about 43 or 44. He is dressed well in a heavy broadcloth frock coat and waistcoat. . His hands were clenched and arms thrown abroad while his lower limbs were interlocked as though he went through a struggling death. A look of hatred on his face and blood everywhere, but no wound on the corpse. A woman’s wedding ring is also found, along with the word “RACHE” painted on the wall.

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The detectives believe the word to have been Rachel but cut off. Sherlock points out that the murderer was male, over six feet high, smoked a trichinopoly cigar, had a florid face, long fingernails on the right hand, killed the man by poison, and that rache is German for revenge.

Whoa

The two them head down to the first officer on the scene, John Rance. They learn from him that there was a drunk there that night, but they just sent him off. Sherlock berates the man as this drunk was clearly the murderer, a cabdriver which explains the cab marks left behind.

You let him get away!

You let him get away!

Sherlock sends out advertisements in the newspapers about a found wedding ring knowing that by using it, it will be the perfect bait for the trap.

Meanwhile, the detectives have discovered that their victim was acting ungentlemanly toward his landlady’s daughter. Her brother was on shore leave, and is known for a temper. They know the two got into it and to make it worse, just like in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, they discovered the brother with a bloody walking stick.

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Sherlock of course doesn’t believe that and is set on his way. To his surprise, he is approached by a woman saying it belongs to her daughter. Sherlock follows her, but looses her in the crowd. Is Sherlock wrong?

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Part III: The Country of Saints

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Here we get our killer’s backstory and reasons for poisoning these people. Back in Utah, John Ferriar’s wagons traveling west have been destroyed and everyone is dead except for him and a young girl, Lucy. With all gone, John adopts the young girl.

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As they are dying of thirst, they come upon some Mormons who allow them to join their group and save them from death. Over ten years layer, John’s farm has prospered and Lucy has grown into a fine, beautiful woman. All the young Mormon men want to add her to their families and John’s land to their own. But both John and Lucy don’t want to become ingrained with the Mormons, in fact Lucy falls for Jefferson Hope, silver miner and son of John Ferriar’s old friend.

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With the Mormons threatening the group, Hope and Ferriars hatch a plan to escape.

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However, the plain is foiled and Hope is left stranded in the desert. When he gets back to the area he discovers that both Ferriar and Lucy have died.

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He decides to avenge their death and tracks them down all the way to England to kill them.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I really loved the first two parts of the novel when we are introduced to Sherlock and his investigation.

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Amazingly well written and a definite winner.

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However, I didn’t really care for the Utah backstory. It was boring.

NO emotion = BORING!

The book would be better without it, but even with it it is still good.

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For more on classics, go to The Unsolvable Mystery: The Mystery of Edwin Drood

For more private investigators, go to Decked

The Harlot’s Tale

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The Harlot’s Tale (A Midwife Mystery #2) by Sam Thomas

This is the sequel to the novel The Midwife’s Tale. I LOVED the first book. I thought it was absolutely fantastic and quickly devoured it. And I eagerly awaited the sequel…

Please!

This book takes place one year after the previous one. It is August of 1645, the civil war is over but not all is well. York is suffering tremendously from a horrible summer heat, one that threatens to destroy the crops and causes tempers to rise.

It's not fair.

Meanwhile, the city’s council have decided that with one war completed, another is to be waged, the war of men’s souls. They have allowed all types of “ministers” into the city, of which are eager to whip the sinful into godly. One area they seem the most focused on? Prostitution.

Gold Digger and Grave Digger

One such group  that has soldiered in to the area is Hezikiah Ward, his wife Deborah, daughter Silence, and son Praise God.

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Lady Bridget continues with her midwifery, with Martha her trusted friend and deputy assisting. Will, however, has found much sorrow at the War’s end. With his brother Joseph, the war hero, returned; their father has once again ignored and mistreated Will, because of his club foot, and instead turned over quite a number of his affairs to Joseph. This extremely disheartened Will and causes him to drink to excess.

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Including these, Joseph has become a crusader “for God”, as he has taken the duty of constable and delights in bringing in people to face charges of slander, prostitution, etc. Joseph is altogether rather unpleasant as his ruthlessness in battle has changed him to become even more ambitious and unempathetic.

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One  morning Bridget is awaken by her servant Hannah. Joseph has come for her as something has happened and she is needed right away by Edward.

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Bridget awakens Martha, much to Joseph’s chagrin and they all take off to answer the summons. They come to a small apartment, one of which the prostitutes would use for business.

suspicious Hmm

Edward brings Bridget in to look at the room and the bloodshed is enormous. Someone had killed and mutilated the bodies, rearranging the man and woman in a parody of copulation.

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Edward’s mission for them is to question the prostitutes in town. As a midwife, Bridget has had her dealings with them before, and they most certainly would not trust Edward, Joseph, or any other constable or official.

Bridget and Martha go over the crime scene and find two pieces of papers with scripture on them,  Numbers 25:8:

“And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel.”

And Revelations 2:14

But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

Upon even further examination, the two were killed similar to first bible verse. And to their horror, they discover that the prostitute killed was done so by the cutting of the femoral artery, and afterwards her privities were slashed and disfigured.

Horrible!!!!

Horrible!!!!

Bridget and Martha are on the case again…or are they? As a pamphlet with similar themes is passed around the city, Joseph concludes the author is the murderer and has him arrested.

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This doesn’t sit well with Bridget or Martha who find it strange that it would be so simple.

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When the murderer claims his innocence and is released from prison, Bridget, Martha, and Will decide to continue searching for the truth.

On the case!

On the case!

They see Helen Wright, owner of the tenement the dead bodies were found in, and while the exchange does not go as well as planned, they are given a lead to see Isabelle Dalton. She refers them to Barbara Rearsby, telling them she will send her their way if she finds her first.

As the three investigate more and more, it appears that in every spot the Wards and Joseph seem to be turning up again and again. Could one be a murderer?

Interesting

Interesting

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Thoughts After Reading:

**Spoiler Alert**

So I didn’t like this book as much as the first one. It wasn’t just the content of the hypocritical Christians, which have been done over and over again ; but it just seemed to be missing something.

Not-Good

I didn’t like the killing of Edward, although it was his own fault. For someone who reads the bible so much he clearly didn’t learn from the stories of Cain & Abel, Jacob & Esau, or Joseph & his 10 Brothers. Brotherly strife will not end well.

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I also didn’t like how obviously evil Joseph was in this. From the first time he was introduced you knew he was the bad guy.

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But let me say what a twist with the Wards. I never suspected the mother, props to you Sam, props to you.

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I also didn’t care for the ending with Joseph getting everything and Will nothing.

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Although I liked that he put Will & Martha together, glad he listened to my class’ suggestion.

Thank you, thank you!

Thank you, thank you!

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For more Midwife Mysteries, go to The Midwife’s Tale

For more historical fiction mysteries, go to The Book of Madness and Cures

For more bible verses, go to Good, Clean, Murder

For more mystery reviews, go to Decked

Grave Peril

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Grave Peril (The Dresden Files #3) by Jim Butcher

So Harry Dresden has had a tough year. First a crazy wizard blowing people up from the inside out,

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To werewolves of all types ravaging the city:

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And now we have the spirit world going crazy!

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Yep, he’s had to team up with old pal, Michael Carpenter, Catholic and a Knight of the Cross.

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Spirits have been riled up all over, are acting out and no longer tethered to special spots, etc.

Not-Good

As Harry goes back to the office the next day, he is approached by a young woman, Lydia, a practitioner who begs for protection. Harry offers to give her some help, as he knows she is hiding something from him. This seems to happen a lot Harry what with with Monica and the werewolf guy.

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That night Harry and Michael decide the only way to stop some of these things from happening, is for Harry to risk heading over the border from our world to the supernatural one. A very scary thing to do when most of them hate you or are after you.

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In fact he is trying to stay away from his fairy godmother (actual fairy) Lea who wants him as her slave. As she starts to spin her fairy magic, he just manages to overcome her spell and Michael luckily saves him before she takes his blood.

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However, the work they do doesn’t always fly with the police as they get arrested. Michael’s wife, Charity, comes for Michael and reads Harry the riot act. Susan also comes for Harry, in a slightly better mood as with her man she has another story for the newspaper she works for, The Arcane.

As the two head back to Harry’s place they encounter something they weren’t expecting, Vampires.

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But these vampires promise no attacks. They were sent by Madame Bianca to invite Harry to the Vampire Court, as Bianca is elevated to the rank of Margravine of the Vampire Court.

Not-Good

Susan wants to go to the Vampire Ball, but Harry is not interested. Bianca is still angry about what happened in Storm Front, and has threatened to kill him. While the invitation protects him from any vampire harm such as sucking of blood or direct killing, they could use a loophole and find a way to destroy him. Better watch out Harry, non-magical people don’t always understand everything and Susan is tenacious. She’ll find a way to get into that party, even if it becomes the death of her.

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The two spend the night together, but are awoken early by Michael. Michael has heard from the priest of the church Harry placed Lydia. Something tried to attack her last night, but was kept out. She started freaking out going through withdrawal (from either a mortal or magical substance) and tried to go out to the creature. The priest was able to protect her during the night by reading the scriptures. But in the morning she disappeared.

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Harry decides the only thing to do next os to go to a psychic in Oldtown, Mortimer Lindquist. When Harry comes upon him packing, he knows Mortimer must know something he’s not telling. When Harry questions him further, Mortimer brings up an old book of his, They Shall Rise. He’s convinced the border between our world and the magical Nevernever is constantly eroding, new ghosts are coming over, and that there is something even eviler, a Nightmare.

Things go from bad to worse as he is called in by the Chicago Police Department for an old friend, Mickey Malone. Before Harry can enter a true “home, he has to be invited in by a family member. Mrs. Malone complies, he comes in to see Mickey chained up as he is a madman.

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When he uses his Sight, he sees that Mickey’s soul and mind have been torn apart as if he was attacked by a wild animal. To top it off he has “spiritual” barbed wire curled around him, just like he saw in the other ghosts he’d been fighting. Who is trying to control these ghosts and people? Why?

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Harry is able to destroy it, but through great pain. What is this Nightmare? And can Harry stop it?

There is only one thing left for Harry to do in order to get his answers. He must go to the Vampire ball, but will he manage to survive it?

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*Spoliers*

As always Butcher presents a powerful, thrilling, and suspenseful story.

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Burt let me worn you, this one is full of pain, angst, and was pretty harsh. I’m on a Jim Butcher break after reading this as it was heart wrenching.

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The hardest thing was what happened to Susan. Now I may never have been a fan of her and Harry together, but I never wanted her turned into a vampire. Super intense ending, totally heart crushing, yet powerful.

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For more Dresden Files, go to Fool Moon

For more private investigators, go to A is for Alibi

For more supernatural mysteries, go to Just Because You’re Paranoid, Doesn’t Mean a Demon’s Not After You: Storm Front

For more mystery reviews, go to The Midwife’s Tale