A Case of Identity

“A Case of Identity” from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

This is a really interesting case as it is one that Sherlock solves, but doesn’t “solve” as he can never reveal the truth to the client as she wouldn’t believe it.

One day Sherlock is remarking to Watson he hasn’t had an interesting case. However, there may be one in the future, near future, as in the girl who is pacing outside their door.

“I have seen those symptoms before,’ said Holmes, throwing his cigarette into the fire. ‘Oscillation upon the pavement always means an affair de coeur. She would like advice, but is not sure that the matter is not too delicate for communication.”

This new client is Miss Mary Sutherland. After Holmes amazes her with his deductive abilities, she introduces her case.

She is here to seek help in finding a Mr. Hosmer Angel.

Mary’s father died not to long ago, and shortly after her mother remarried a Mr. Windibank, fifteen years her junior and five years older than Mary, and they sold the Sutherland plumbing business for £4700. Mary has £100 annual that she receives from her uncle Ned.

She lives at home, earning a side income of £60 at typing, and has a genial relationship with her mother and “father”. She signs over her her £100, as she wants to help at home and can do well off her side income.

Mary used to go out and have fun while her father was alive, but Mr. Windibank never let’s them go anywhere. When they receive tickets to the gasfitter’s ball, in memoriam to her late father, Mary rebels. She decides to go, while her stepfather sulks off to France. She attends the dance with her mother and their old foreman, Mr. Hardy.

There she met Hosmer Angel. They continued to spend time together, as he asked her for walks, courting her. But then one day, her stepfather returns and no more is seen of Mr. Angel.

The two wrote letters and became engaged. However, he will not come around when her father is home.

He was a shy man, retiring, gentlemanly, soft voice, he had weak eyes like Mary and wore tinted glasses.

When her stepfather left, Hosmer Angel returned. They planned to get married and Hosmer made her swear on a bible that whatever happened she would always be true. Mary was worried about stepfather but her mother said to forget it. Mary was still worried as it felt underhanded and wrote to her stepfather, only to receive the letter back.

The day of the wedding Hosmer Angel placed Mary and her mother in a cab , following behind them. But when they reached the church, he had VANISHED!

Her mother and father were very upset and told Mary to forget him. He was just a cad and it wasn’t like he had borrowed money or married her and took off. But Mary can’t forget. She must know where her love is.

She advertised for him in the paper, but nothing. No one knows him and she has not heard from him again.

Where is he?

Sherlock agrees to the case and Mary leaves him to think on it.

Now Sherlock has picked up on many clues, one of which being the letters she received from her Betrothed, Hosmer Angel, were all typewritten, even the signature. Very odd.

He then writes two letters-one to a firm in the city, sand the second to Mr. Windibank.

The two wait for the reply.

The next day, Mr. Windibank answers the note and arrives at Baker Street. Sherlock discusses the case, the letters, etc-Mr. Windibank making a lot of bluster that he would like to catch the guy who did this to his daughter. But then Sherlock reveals who the guy is, Mr. Windibank.

Yes, Mr. Windibank was just a gold digger. He married the widow for her money and was also enjoying the money of the stepdaughter. He tried to do everything he could to keep her from marrying and taking her money with her.

First he never let her out or to any events, but soon Mary grew tired of this and rebelled. Windibank knew it was only a matter of time until she went somewhere and met someone, and he decided the only one she would meet would be himself.

He got his wife to help him and disguised himself. He wanted to distract Mary and knew the best way to hook her was to get her promise of undying love. And on the day of the wedding he entered the carriage on one side, exiting through the other to “vanish”. With such an event, he knew that Mary would never stop trying to look for her “fiancé” and that her heart would be stolen forever.

Thoughts After Reading:

The sad thing about this is that Mary is unlikely to believe him, so he decides to give that view up. But poor girl, how sad that her stepfather and MOTHER would conspire against her like that? I think this is one of the sadder stories in Sherlock Holmes. And now she will spend her life thinking and having her heart stolen by that jerk. And him, nothing he did was really against the law, but how horrible. Sherlock threatens to beat him with a whip for his treachery, but Wiindibank hurries away-fast. Too bad, I would have liked him to get his just desserts.

For more Sherlock Holmes, go to The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle

For more by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, go to The Red Headed League

For more from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, go to A Scandal in Bohemia

For more short stories, go to Punishment Without Crime

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Paper Roses

paperRoses

Paper Roses (Texas Dreams #1) by Amanda Cabot

So I know some of you may be looking at this and thinking this doesn’t look like a mystery, it looks like a Western. Well it is, but as the plot revolves around two mysteries I decided it was okay to review for this blog. Besides sometimes a book can straddle genres.

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Sarah Dobbs has lost everything when her parents died. All she has left is her little sister, of which she can not take care of without some help. So she looks for an escape and starts writing letters to a man in Texas looking for a bride. As the two write, Sarah falls in love with Austin Caufield and his “paper roses” (the letters he writes).

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She decides to agree to marry him and journeys West. When she arrives in Texas she discovers things are not quite as she hoped. Her fiancé was murdered!

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To Austin’s brother Clay’s surprise, Sarah refuses to return East but live on the Caufield ranch with her sister.

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Clay feels as if he doesn’t have time for this. He is trying to keep his ranch going, assist the elderly town doctor, and solve who murdered his brother.

On the case!

On the case!

Sarah quickly finds a niche in the town, working in the mercantile and later as the schoolteacher. But she discovers that this cute Texas town has a lot of prejudices and problems between the Germans and the French, and it is really heating up the town.

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As Sarah and Clay start becoming friends Sarah is determined to help discover her fiancé’s killer. What they discover is that someone has a real vendetta against the Caulfield family; being behind Clay’s father’s injury, the death of his wife, and the murder of his brother.

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As the two’s relationship grows, it turns out Clay has a secret. He is the one who wrote the letters for Austin, pulling a Cyrano de Bergerac. Will he be able to admit the truth? Or will Sarah continue to be in love with who she thought his brother was?

I wonder...

I wonder…

While Clay and Sarah are occupied, someone is planning their next move to remove the Caulfield clan. Will they be able to stop them in time?

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Thoughts After Reading:

I thought this book was extremely good. I loved the characters, the storyline, and the mystery.

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In fact the person responsible for the crimes against the Caufield’s was a great twist.

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A great read!

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For more historical fiction, go to A Most Peculiar Circumstance

For more Christian books, go to Bake Until Golden

For more book reviews, go to The Cat Who Could Read Backwards

Sew Deadly

SewDeadly

Sew Deadly (A Southern Sewing Circle #1) by Elizabeth Lynn Casey

Victoria “Tori” Sinclair has just moved from Chicago to small town Sweet Briar, South Carolina to be the town’s new librarian.

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It is a huge change for her, but after her last relationship tanked, her fiancé cheating on her during their engagement party, she needed to get out and far away.

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Tori is eager to run her own library, being full of ideas,

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but she is definitely going to be faced with some serious issues. She is from the North (a Yankee), was not born in Sweet Briar, and has just ousted one of the town’s favorite people when she was hired to become the new librarian.

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Tori visits with some of the town folk, Leona a more recent addition to the town and the antique shop owner; and Georgina the mayor. While Georgina and Tori are talking, they discuss sewing, and Tori is invited to join the sewing circle. Seems like things are going great.

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But not quite. Someone is sabotaging her, stealing the lightbulbs on her porch, giving her a flat, and the former librarian is going around talking smack about her.

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While the sewing meeting starts off to a shaky start, the former librarian boycotting; and Tori not bringing a baked good like she is supposed

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When she shares her ideas of starting a children’s room in the library, everyone jumps in promising to make dress up clothes for the kids.

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Just when things look like they are going up, Tori falls into another pitfall. Her appointment book was swiped and she finds herself unprepared for Mr. Wentworth’s third grade class’ usual appointment of story time and craft. Luckily she manages to think her way out and come up with a butter making idea. As the kids are working hard, Tori talkes to Miles Wentworth, single, tall, dark, and handsome.

Smirkity smirk smirk

Smirkity smirk smirk

The next sewing circle doesn’t go as well as the first. Former librarian Dixie Dunn came and is trying to get everyone against Tori. Luckily the move the conversation to Miles and discuss the sad state of his singlehood since he became a widower, along wit the beauty queen, recently moved back resident, Tiffany Ann. Tiffany Ann was always obsessed with Miles ever since she was 12 and he was her tutor. She doesn’t care about the 13 year difference but promised she would marry him.

Obsessed

Obsessed

After a lot of hard work, Tori has finally cleaned out the storage room set for the new children’s corner. Nina, her assistant, has to leave but Tori is determined to finish cleaning everything for the board meeting and show off where she wants everything to be. As she heads to the dumpster to toss in the final pieces she’s cleaned out, all her plans change. In the dumpster is the body of Tiffany Ann.

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Now the police investigator stupidly believes that Tori killed her, in her anger of becoming part of a love triangle, no one will talk to her, and Tori has to solve this mystery before whoever kills again and causes her to be run out of town.

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Thoughts After Reading:

So I thought this book was pretty good.

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I liked the characters of the book and felt it was interesting. The only thing I don’t like is the way they make the police investigator so incompetent.

Really Mike?

Ugh.

I hate when they do that in mystery novels. Why would they choose Tori when she has no reason to kill Miles? There is no love triangle, no hatred, no revenge, no money, etc.

seriously

There is bound to have been someone else in the town, but instead of making the character intelligent, she makes him like the one in Bloom and Doom, incredibly incompetent.

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For more love triangles, go to Cream Puff Murder

For more on May Vanderbilt, go to A is for Alibi

For book reviews, go to A Study in Scarlet

Lane Changes

Lane Changes

Lane Changes (P.I. Cassie Cruise #1)

Lane Changes, by S. L. Ellis, is the first novel in the Cassie Cruise, private investigator series. After a major blow up on reality TV, Cassie Cruise left the city she grew up in Michigan,  for a small town, in a supposedly no crime area, Florida.

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She spends her days trying to run her recently bought tattoo parlor, along with working a few cases on the side; such as finding her neighbor’s biological father.

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As she is settling into this new life, her car is torched. And that’s not all; in the trunk a body is discovered. Cassie is on the case to discover who the body is and why her car was chosen. And that’s not all she is investigating. Cassie’s neighbor suddenly does not want to meet her father, does not want Cassie anywhere near her, and has a complete shift in personality. Cassie decides to do what she does best, and discover the truth behind these questions.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I have to be honest and say that I did not care for this book. I am a huge mystery fan and when I read the synopsis I thought that this would be an instant hit, however, it was the complete opposite. I had many problems with this book, starting with the main character. Cassie, to me, is very unlikeable. Instead of coming off tough and in charge, Cassie’s character is mean, judgmental, abrupt, rude, and selfish.

Hate her that's so raven

 

As the main character and narrator, one has to have some redeeming qualities to endear them to the reader, none of which were exhibited until the very end when a friend’s illness was revealed.

Another issue I have with this book is that it is the first in the series, yet we are dropped into her life and given very little back story into our character and her friends. As a reader I often felt lost, confused, and a bit angry at the lack of information.

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We are teased with bits of why she moved and snippets of her family’s dynamics, but they are introduced too far into the story for my taste, leaving me very frustrated. Cassie’s fiancé, Vince, is mentioned multiple times throughout the story, but hardly even exhibited in it. We have no clue how long they have been together, when they met, whether he followed her from Michigan to Florida or met her in Florida; essentially there is no substance to their relationship. When he is constantly attending to Cassie’s neighbor’s needs instead of her own, we as a reader have no standard on which to judge him or view him. Is he a cad cheating on her? Or is he a very helpful person and this behavior is typical? Instead Vince feels as if he is just a prop for Cassie and not a real character.

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The same goes for Cassie’s best friend Janice, who is given more involvement, but the same lack of history, personality, and chemistry.

The mystery itself was a bit strange as well. It starts with the burning car and charred body, but has very little to do with it. Cassie is hardly questioned at all about the event and we never hear of the police making any headway into solving it. In fact, Cassie does not even really look into the burning car.

What?

 

I know, a cheap exploitation. Instead the mystery is mostly about the neighbor; Cassie’s search for the biological father and her looking into the strange personality changes. I will say that the mystery surrounding her neighbor was interesting and written in a captivating way.

For me this book was not a perfect match and I would personally give it one out of five stars.

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For more mystery book reviews, go to A Dash of Death (Hemlock Falls #2)