On the Trail of Sherlock Holmes by Stephen Browning

On the Trail of Sherlock Holmes by Stephen Browning

I am a huge Sherlock Holmes fan which is why On the Trail of Sherlock Holmes caught my eye. The author sets out a series of walks around London, incorporating locations that feature in stories from the canon and incidents in Conan Doyle's life. There are even tidbits about family, friends, and literary contemporaries to Doyle along with the mention of real life individuals and their stories that likely influenced his writing of Sherlock Holmes. It made me want to go to London and follow the walks and suggested side excursions. It also made me want to go back and read some of the stories again and maybe watch some of the adaptations I haven't seen. The appendices were fun too, giving a chronological timeline of the Conan Doyle stories, notable actors to have played Holmes over the years, and an alphabetical Holmes miscellany. My one complaint is that I wish there were more and better photos. I'd love full...
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What the Cat Knew by P.D. Workman

What the Cat Knew by P.D. Workman

What the Cat Knew is a paranormal cozy mystery that totally hooked me. Reg is tough, smart, and can run a good con, but is caring and loyal underneath it. She's setting up as a medium "for entertainment purposes only" in Black Sands, Florida. She has a couple of problems. First, turns out she actually is a medium and can contact the dead. Second, the man she contacts isn't actually dead. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. We've got our eccentric characters, this time witches and probably other magical creatures. Our amateur sleuth has a legitimate reason for investigating, apparently she's the only one who knows the man is still alive, but since he's in a coma she can still make contact. We've got a touch of romance, maybe, but I'm hoping that fades away. And there's Reg's cat, who I loved. The plot moves along quickly and it was a lot of fun. I'm not quite clear on what kind...
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The Study of Secrets by Cynthia Kuhn

The Study of Secrets by Cynthia Kuhn

Lila Maclean has been taking a fall semester sabbatical, staying with family friend Bibi Callahan while finishing up her book on mystery author Isabella Dare. Bibi is actually Isabella, but no one aside Lila knows that. Lila, Bibi, and a few of Bibi's friends meet one evening for a book discussion. By the end of the evening, one of the women is murdered and an unpublished manuscript is missing. Bibi asks Lila to help figure out who the killer is, but the murder has ties to secrets in Bibi and her friends' pasts, secrets they don't necessarily want brought to light. The new characters are an eclectic bunch, with complicated relationships dating back to when they were children. Lila is her usually smart, suspicious self and we get to see some of the recurring characters too. The Callahan House isn't far from Stonedale after all. This is a fun mystery with a great heroine and a well-crafted plot. There were...
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The Subject of Malice by Cynthia Kuhn

The Subject of Malice by Cynthia Kuhn

In The Subject of Malice, Lila leaves campus for a convention at nearby Tattered Star Ranch. The small press that will be publishing her book is there and she's meeting with her editor, in between attending panels, tours, and odd jobs as a member of the planning committee. Her rival, Simone, and Simone’s twin sister, Selene, are also attending the conference and apparently co-writing a book on the same author as Lila, which is both bad for Lila and unprofessional on Simone's part. It's all stressful and the keynote is maybe a jerk, even if he's an incredibly popular writer. And then one of the editors ends up dead. Lex is on hand to investigate. Time passes between the books in this series and Lila and Lex have been dating for over a year now. Anyway, he actually asks Lila to consult for the department, since she knows the people and has a better grasp on potential motives. Yeah,...
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The Spirit in Question by Cynthia Kuhn

The Spirit in Question by Cynthia Kuhn

I've been reading the Lila Maclean mysteries this month. Each can work as a stand-alone, but like most series, reading them in order will give you a better feel for the characters, especially the ones in supporting roles. In The Spirit in Question, Lila has taken on (or perhaps been dragged into) helping with the production of another professor’s play, Puzzled: The Musical, a barely comprehensible mixture of detectives and dancers. The student actors and crew are having a ball - until the director is murdered during a rehearsal. At the request of Detective Lex Archer (the love interest), Lila (mostly) stays out of the hunt for the murderer, but plenty of other problems keep her busy. The play is being staged in the Stonedale Opera House, which the university owns but doesn't seem to maintain. The Historical Society is protesting the use of the building, multiple accidents happen during practices, and, to top it all off, the building might be haunted....
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The Art of Vanishing by Cynthia Kuhn

The Art of Vanishing by Cynthia Kuhn

The Art of Vanishing is just a fun mystery. Professor Lila Maclean is on the committee in charge of Arts Week at Stonedale. She's intelligent and capable and maybe a bit trusting. She also has connections that come in useful. When famous author Damon Von Tussel goes missing right before he's to present at the campus Art Week, Lila has to call her mom, famous artist Violet O, who is also Von Tussel's ex to help find him. Violet is quite a character. They do find him, but there are several more "accidents" - clearly someone is trying to stop Arts week, or maybe just Von Tussel's part in it. The mystery was interesting, with several possible motives and suspects. And let's be honest, I love mysteries that involve books and authors. The politics within the English department and the pressures to publish are mixed in well with the main plot. Lila's mom is a hoot. The characters are a varied...
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