Oscar Wilde’s Last Stand: Decadence, Conspiracy, and the Most Outrageous Trial of the Century

So first of all today is Oscar Wilde’s birthday so I thought this would be a perfect time to post it.

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Oscar Wilde’s Last Stand: Decadence, Conspiracy, and the Most Outrageous Trial of the Century by Phillip Hoare

In the spring of 1918 London, Oscar Wilde was put on trial eighteen years after his death.

A staging of the Wilde’s play Salomé was finally permitted with Maud Allan as the lead. Her eroticism outraged Noel Pemberton Billing, a member of Parliament. He denounced her as part of the Cult of Clitoris, the female version of the Cult of Wilde.

He believed this cult had infected the land with its perversion.

Maud sued Billing for libel and the trial that followed held the world in thrall.  Did Billing really have a black book with the names of 47,000 members of the Cult of Wilde? Where they promoting degeneracy? Or was Billing just paranoid and hysterical?

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Thoughts After Reading:

This book was the most boring-est I’ve ever read. The author just throws you with so many characters and backstories it almost makes your mind want to explode as you are trying to figure out which character is important and need to be known later and who is filler.

Ugh!

The book just crawled by too. It made it horrible to read.

I think it would have been better if they started with the trial, giving us a taste, and then went into the people so we knew who was who. I didn’t like it and I don’t think I’ll be reading any of Hoare’s work in the future.

For more nonfiction, go to The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town

The Alchemy of Murder

The Alchemy of Murder

The Alchemy of Murder (Nellie Bly #1) by Carol McCleary

So this is a historical fiction mystery, with the main character being based on the real life reporter Nellie Bly.

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The year is 1889. The place, Paris France;  the capital of Europe. Paris is hosting the World’s Fair, having unveiled the Eiffel Tower, (at the time thought ugly but then became a permanent part of the skyline and one of the biggest tourist destinations.)

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But while people are celebrating man’s accomplishments, a serial killer stalks the area and a plague is striking Parisians by the thousands.

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Nellie Bly is convinced that both the killings and the epidemic are connected. She travels down to Paris to hunt this killer, “The Alchemist” as she calls him.

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Along her search, she enlists the help of Jules Verne, Oscar Wilde, and Louis Pasteur.

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Thoughts after Reading:

I bought this book a couple of years ago as the synopsis intrigued me. Historical fiction, mystery, some of my favorite literary writers. I thought it would be like Oscar Wilde and a Game Called Murder: A Mystery, but this book was horrible.

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I know it is supposed to be in the Victorian era, but having your main character be cold and emotionless isn’t endearing to the reader. It was horrible to get into and boring. I need my character to have character.

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Not only was Nelly bland, but she seemed so out of tune with her time period, not that she was from the future or past, but just as if she didn’t belong.

Not-Good

For me it fell flat.

horrible

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For more historical fiction mysteries, go to The Harlot’s Tale

For more books featuring investigative reporters, go to A Change of Fortune

Key Lime Pie Murder

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Key Lime Pie Murder (Hannah Swensen Mystery #9)

It’s summertime in Lake Eden, and that means that it is time for the Tri-County Fair!

Double double yay

As always there are loads of events, games, rides, and food booths. Hannah was planning on only suppling cookies to a booth, The Cookie Nook, but when a friend becomes sick, Hannah steps in to take her place.

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Yep, this year Hannah will be judging the bake-off; sampling all kinds of bread, cookies, pies, and more. She’s not in this alone, as the other two judges are home economics teacher, Pam, and instructional aide, Willa.

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In fact the whole Swensen family is taking part in the fair this year: Hannah’s mother Delores is running a dunk tank for the Lake Eden Historical Society;  Andrea, entering the mother-daughter beauty pageant with her daughter Tracey; and Hannah’s youngest sister Michelle is trying for the Tri-County Queen.

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What starts out as good eats, fun times, rodeo ramblings, and a quest to eat a deep-fried chocolate bar turns sour when Willa is murdered.

Murder

Now Hannah is on the case, trying to discover who is behind this killing.

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Did it have something to do with the robbery of the Rodeo entry fees? Was it someone who was upset with Willa disqualifying them from the Tri-County Queen contest? Could it have been someone who was upset that Willa gave them poor reviews on their baked good, causing them to win nothing and destroy their reputation as best cook? Was it a student flunked by Willa? Or was it someone unknown?

Sad but true.

Hannah soon realizes that she knows very little about who Willa is and her past. Why did she travel all over the United States, working in Washington, California, and Florida? Why did she break up with her fiancé two months ago? Why did she have her hair done and purchase a new outfit, when she had very little money?

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As Hannah starts looking into this crime, she discovers that she needs to watch her step, or else she might meet the same fate as Willa did.

Sabrina the teenage witch salem dum di dum dum dum

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Thoughts After Reading:

Now I thought the title, Key Lime Pie Murder, was a stretch. There is hardly any Key Lime pie in the book, just the one case when they sample it for the fair.

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And to add to it, Hannah never even made a Key Lime pie, nor does she add it to her shop’s menu, like in Lemon Meringue Murderwhich would tie the book together. Instead, I felt that since the book failed to revolve around any dessert, a rarity, they just picked one they thought sounded good (which didn’t).

I don't think so.

I don’t think so.

The story itself was good, and the mystery interesting as we have to figure out why someone would have killed Willa. I think that it was easily solved, but in a good way, rather than feeling lazy or stupid.

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The only qualm I have with Hannah in this book is that she really seems to use Norman a lot, and he takes it like a doormat.

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I think that out of all the books, this one shows how right her boyfriend Norman is for her, than her other boyfriend Mike. Mike is too controlling, in the sense that he is a cop and cannot allow vigilanteism, not to mention the ego-burst of having your girlfriend be better at solving these crimes. The opposite of this is Norman, who doesn’t care about her investigating as he enjoys jumping in with her. He also is amazingly sweet in how he takes care of her cat, treating it as if it was Hannah’s sick baby. In fact, in this book more than any other, I could see Norman and Hannah happily married, a Tommy and Tuppence of the midwest.

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For more Hannah Swensen Mysteries, go to Cherry Cheesecake Murder

For more book reviews, go to A Change of Fortune