A Scandal in Bohemia

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“A Scandal in Bohemia” from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 

Thoughts Before Reviewing:

Now that we have done the first two novels of Sherlock Holmes, we have moved into his short stories. As with all short stories, I’ll be posting them on Sunday instead of during the week (except for a few special cases).

I grew up reading the short stories or cases of Sherlock Holmes, and I think my favorite collection growing up was The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. It just has so many good and memorable tales.

So “A Scandal in Bohemia” is probably a story you are familiar with.  I’m sure many of you have probably read this story or seen the Sherlock version (which I hated)

They didn’t do it right!

It is one of my favorites and I am glad to share it with you all.

Plot Synopsis:

The Bohemian King comes to Sherlock for help, first in disguise but of course Sherlock sees through that, to ask for his help. He is to be married, but before the engagement he had had a relationship with the beautiful Irene Adler. He has tried to get it back a very incriminating photograph through begging, payment, bribery, theft, etc; but nothing has netted it.

Nothing is working!

Sherlock does some reconnaissance on her and ends up being the witness at her wedding!

Seriously?

Sherlock continues on his plan to get the photograph by dressing up as a minister and having Watson create a fuss about fire in order to determine the secret hiding place of the photograph. When Irene goes to retrieve it and protect it, Sherlock spies on her and leaves planning on returning the next day for it before she leaves on her honeymoon.

On the way home he is greeted by a young boy, one he does not know but that isn’t very odd, after all he is a known figure. The next day the three men set out to retrieve the photograph but find Irene gone.

What?!

Irene has left a note explaining that she thought there was something suspicious about the “fire”, dressed up as a boy to research it, and figured out the plan of Sherlock Holmes; besting him by leaving that night.

She leaves the picture behind, as she is married she no longer needs it; forever going down in history as the one who bested the greatest detective, and becoming the woman.

Thoughts After Reading:

One of my favorites as Irene just kicks butt.

She’s everything we want to be: intelligent, cunning, beautiful, witty, etc. And she is the only one to outsmart the Sherlock Holmes.

For more by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, go to The Sign of the Four

For more Sherlock Holmes, go to A Study in Scarlet

For more short stories, go to The Murders in Rue Morgue

For more mysteries with private detectives, go to The Missing Housewife

For more mysteries that involve a wedding, go to Murder Well Done

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The Missing Housewife

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The Missing Housewife (Steven Wade Mystery #2) by Iris Wynne

When a women long believed dead is spotted in China by an old friend on holiday, it opens a real can of worms. If she is indeed the woman believed murdered, than her drug dealer has been falsely imprisoned and there is a dead body who’s identity still needs to be discovered.

With the sister of the accused pushing for involvement to free her brother, and the family of the “deceased” wanting the dead to remain dead, it turns out to be a real muddle.

With such uncertainty there is only one thing to do, hire someone who can look into the matter: a private investigator Steve Wade.

On the case!

Since Wade solved the case of “the missing mah jongg player”, he has become a hot commodity and is asked to check out the case. But is the deceased, Patricia, really alive, or is it just a look-a-like in China? And if she isn’t dead, who died in her place? Did the drug dealer murder this Jane Doe, or was it someone else?

Thoughts After Reading:

I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the series, The Missing Mah Jongg Player, which gave me high expectations for the sequel. Wynne didn’t disappoint with a cleverly crafted mystery that takes murder into mistaken identity and even further into assassins and a cover up.

We also have a return of the characters we enjoyed from the first novel; such as the intelligent, imaginative, analytical, and methodical Steve Wade; Candy the stripper turned private investigator, who is still coming to terms with her insecurities and the shadow of the past; and sweet Sarah, Steve’s secretary, who finally gains confidence and the ability to assert herself.

The only problem I had with this novel was that the secondary characters were not as well done as in the first book. In The Missing Mah Jongg Player, the other mah jongg players created a more personal connection to our missing person causing the viewer to see her as a person rather than a “victim”. Their different personalities also balanced well with Wade’s logical approach.

All of you

In this book our new cast of characters were interesting and developed, but not as fun or colorful as in the first.

On a whole I enjoyed this novel and give it a four out of five stars.

For more Steven Wade Mysteries, go to The Missing Mah Jongg Player

For more novels centering around a disappearance, go to The Sign of the Four

For more mysteries with private investigators, go to C is for Corpse

For more mystery reviews, go to Triple Six

The Murders in Rue Morgue

“The Murders in the Rue Morgue (C. Auguste Dupin Mysteries #1)” from Ten Great Mysteries by Edgar Allen Poe

Thoughts Before Reading:

This was the first Edgar Allan Poe story I ever read. It came in an anthology and I loved it. It is just so creepy, dark, and great.

This is also believed to be the first detective mystery, Dupin being the forerunner to Sherlock Holmes in observation and sleuthing, Many believe that Doyle coped Poe with his character fifty years later, even though Doyle insists that Holmes is based on a professor he had while attaining his medical degree.

Plot Synopsis:

C. Auguste Dupin is from a very good family, but has lost all his money and is now poor. He has just a little bit of money, which enables him to live and afford his greatest vice, books.

Dupin lives with his friend, the nameless narrator, and astounds him with his deductive reasoning, being able to tell what he is thinking!

One morning they look in the paper and see the headline EXTRAORDINARY MURDERS.

 

The night before Madame L’Espanaye and her daughter, residents of Rue Morgue, were heard screaming in the middle of the night. People heard and tried to get in, but every door and window was locked on the ground floor. They eventually gained access by using a crowbar.

When they came in the room they found it in incredible discord and destruction.

WHAT!

The women were found was a razor caked with blood and gray tresses also dripping in blood, looking as if ripped from the head. Both women’s necks were cut so badly they were practically separated from their necks. Both women were also shoved up the chimney.

Everyone was questioned but no one knows why it was committed, who did it, or how. Everyone who came in heard the voice of whoever committed the act but could not understand the language. Some think it was Spanish, others Italian, etc.

Dupin becomes interested in the case and follows it in all the papers. The only thing that was open was a window on one of the higher stories. But how could anyone get in?

Dupin believes he has the case solved and places an ad in the newspaper to catch the killer. Has he figured it out? Who could have done such a horrible act?

Thoughts After Reading:

I love this story so much. You’ve got to read it for yourself.

For more Edgar Allan Poe, go to Murder He Wrote: Edgar Allan Poe

For more short stories, go to The October Game

In other news this is my 200th post, Yay! It only took me ten months to reach it.

To go to the 100th post, go to Jenna’s Journey

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11 Famous Murder Riddles

So I thought that I would change it up and instead of posting a recipe I would post a little collection of mind benders to get your brain going.

BacktothefutureThinkMcFlyStupid

You can do it and it will be lots of fun.

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murderriddles

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For more of these type of posts, go to Murder He Wrote: Edgar Allen Poe

For book reviews, go to The Shadow Hunter

C is for Corpse

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C is for Corpse (Kinsey Millhone #3) by Sue Grafton

Thoughts Before Reading:

I love my mysteries to challenge me, I love it when an author has completely bamboozled me. The truth being there the whole time, but I was too busy following a red herring to figure it out.

yougotme

Now if a book cannot surprise me, they must bring my admiration instead through their amazing characters.

ilikeyou

This book falls into the second category.

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In this book I figured out very quickly who the murderer was, but I didn’t care. I liked Kinsey Millhone and I so enjoyed these writings of Grafton that I continued reading all the way to X.

Cantstopreadingupallnight

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Plot Synopsis:

So in this book, Kinsey is still recovering from the events that occurred in B is for Burglar. Part of her physical therapy and improvement is going to gym and working on her arm.

One day she meets a young man in his ’20s, Bobby Callahan. Bobby was in a horrible accident; being covered in scars, and his face and body misshaped. He tells Kinsey that he doesn’t remember anything that happened in that time period. However, he does have this feeling of urgency that he knew something and someone was after him. He believes the car accident was an attempt on his life.

plotthickens

He and Kinsey become friends and he hires her to investigate, doing a retrograde crime with very little to go on.

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Kinsey begins and meets his family; a stepsister who is a drug addict, anorexic, and probably has a ton of other issues;

Idon'tthinkso Idontseeit

a stepfather that doesn’t know how to father and is bland;

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and his mother, a real powerhouse but also control freak.

what have i gotten myself into star trek next gen

Three days later Bobby is dead.

luke-noooo-o

Split on whether accident or suicide, Kinsey becomes even more intent on searching for the murderer and to bring justice to Bobby.

avenged

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Thoughts After Reading

*Contains Spoilers*

So I thought this was well written, but was really sad.

poutsad

I loved Bobby. I hate when authors introduce such great characters but then kill them off. Lillian Jackson Braun is another writer that always seems to do that. They just love breaking our hearts.

peanutbutter-fills-heart

I also thought that Kinsey was a little slow on the ball here. If we know the woman who was having an affair with Bobby’s secret, it being that she and her lover killed her previous husband; hid it to look like a burglary, and he is now threatening to expose the gun used with her fingerprints: well then, I think it is safe to assume that as she remarried, she probably married her lover of the time.

duh

And as that lover is her husband, then you shouldn’t trust the husband.

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I still enjoyed the book though and think it is a great read.

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For more Kinsey Millhone mysteries, go to B is for Burglar

For more mysteries with female private investigators, go to Snagged

For more mysteries with female private investigators, go to  A Study in Scarlet

For more mysteries involving mysterious car accidents, go to Cape May Court House: A Death in the Night

Agatha Christie: The Woman and Her Mysteries

So today marks the 126th birthday of Agatha Christie:

Agatha Christie, surrounded by some of her 80-plus crime novels.

Yay!

Yay!

You may not know this because I haven’t had an opportunity to review one of her books just yet, but Agatha Christie is one of my favorite authors. She revolutionized the way mysteries are written, and created a wonderful collection of characters.

HerculePoirot HerculePoirot

Not only are her plots amazing, but I like how she presents all the information to you that she gives her detective characters, putting the two of you on equal footing, although, Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot tend to always be smarter.

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Christie also does not shy away from doing extremely radical ideas, such as having a child be the killer

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Or having a part of the narration be through the killer’s eyes (although at the time you don’t realize that person is the killer.)

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Her work is so great that every time I am in a bookstore I hunt down her books as I hope to one day own them all.

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I strongly recommend reading any of her novels. When you start one, you just can’t stop.

ReadTimeandPlaceforBooksMyhandnow

So to celebrate, instead of a mystery, I thought I would review a biography.

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Agatha Christie: The Woman and Her Mysteries by Gillian Gill

Plot Synopsis:

Unlike how most  authors are today, Agatha Christie was a very private person. In fact at one point in her life she disappeared for ten days. She has never released a statement about what really happened and it remains an unsolved mystery to this day.

This book is supposed to be an in depth look into her professional and private life. It’s plan is to look at the works as a way of determining her “inner self”.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I only gave this book two stars.

IDon'tlikeit

I loved the factual material, but it was written too dry that it was hard to read.

It's been done TOO many times

It’s been done TOO many times

In fact her biographical fiction book Unfinished Portrait, written under her pseudonym Mary Westmacott, was a much more interesting and in depth look into who Christie was.

Very fishy

Also I hated how Gill would reveal the endings or important pieces of the mysteries.

cyborg

I know most people who will read this are fans of Christie but some might not have had the chance to read all just yet. I think it is incredibly unfair that she would do that, Christie’s books should not be ruined, but enjoyed. Everybody should have a chance to try their hand at figuring it out.

seriously

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For more Non-fiction, go to Cape May Court House: A Death in the Night

For more on Agatha Christie, go to This Business of the Clocks was Curious

For mystery reviews, go to Sleeping Beauty

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.

sherlock

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.

BigBangTheoryMyliferightnow

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.

Paget_holmes

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.

wow

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.

wantyouyes

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.

notbelievingyouyeahright

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?

WhoDoneIt?

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.

Not-Good

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.

love

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

gotthis

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.

avenged

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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.

loveitSupernatural

Amazingly well written and a definite winner.

fantastic

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.

likeit

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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