The Reminiscences of Solar Pons by August Derleth

The Reminiscences of Solar Pons by August Derleth

I love a good Sherlock Holmes pastiche. I picked up The Reminiscences of Solar Pons at a used book store based on the cover alone: "If there's ever to be another Sherlock Holmes, it's Solar Pons. 'Readers with a taste for genteel crime . . .could hardly do better." Solar Pons is undeniably and unapologetically based on Sherlock. When Derleth asked permission from Conan Doyle to take over the writing of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Conan Doyle declined. Derleth then created a clone of Holmes with Solar Pons, Dr. Parker his chronicler, Mrs. Johnson the landlady, Inspector Jamison of Scotland Yard, older brother Bancroft who works for the government, and the Praed Street Irregulars. This is the fourth collection of stories, but the first I've read. I definitely need to go back and read the others. I'm happy to see they're available as ebooks in case I can't find print copies. Solar Pons, like his predecessor, has excellent powers of observation...
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The Impossible Quest of Hailing a Taxi on Christmas Eve by George Saoulidis

The Impossible Quest of Hailing a Taxi on Christmas Eve by George Saoulidis

"The Impossible Quest of Hailing a Taxi on Christmas Eve" is a fun re-telling of A Christmas Carol. Scrooge tries to order a cab on Christmas Eve from an app. The problem is that the cabdriver who shows up won't take him. He's an undesirable customer. While he was busy denigrating the cab drivers in his reviews, the cab drivers were also reviewing him. Eventually Scrooge agrees to a "test" to determine whether he will accepted into a cab again. The ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future are all cab drivers. It had all the pieces of the standard story, but with just enough of a twist to make it feel fresh. ...
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A Christmas Tartan by Paige Shelton

A Christmas Tartan by Paige Shelton

I've read all three full-length books in the Scottish Bookshop Mystery series and enjoyed them all. Delaney is someone I would like to be friends with. And the other folks in the bookstore, including the owner are fun to spend time with. The bookstore also has a backroom full of various interesting objects and it's often these that lead to the mysteries. In A Christmas Tartan, Delaney is given a box of things that includes a copy of A Christmas Carol with a photo inside. She of course is curious and the photo leads her to an elderly woman in town whose granddaughter is missing. This one is slightly more paranormal than most of the series. The present is connected to the past and to some extent, Delaney sees both, or maybe she doesn't. Either which way, the mystery of what happened to the girl is well-done and the solution made sense. The ending scene made me smile. It's a warm holiday...
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The Diary of a Madman by Guy de Maupassant

The Diary of a Madman by Guy de Maupassant

In general, I'm more likely to read novellas than short stories. but RIP XIII's Peril of the Short Story is a good excuse to pick some up. I'm not sure how "The Diary of a Madman" by  Guy de Maupassant came to my attention, but it's one of those stories that manages to pack so much in so few pages. The dead man was a judge, but he was far, far from the upstanding, good man the public believed him. The story, after a short introduction, is a section from his journal, detailing his thoughts on man, and crime, and killing. It's a short story, available at https://americanliterature.com/author/guy-de-maupassant/short-story/the-diary-of-a-madman and I don't want to ruin it by telling the entire plot. Suffice it to say, the judge is evil and, in the end, uses his office to put the crowning touch on his crimes. De Maupassant does an amazing job in so few pages allowing us to see the true nature of the judge, as...
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Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie

Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie

I'm not sure if I've ever read Poirot Investigates before. I think I prefer the full-length novels to the short stories, although this is a good collection. Since these are all short stories, they are quick mysteries. We don't get to know many characters well and in a few the Poirot jumps to the (correct) conclusion with a bit too little information. And almost making fun of Hastings for not being able to keep up.  I didn't really love any of them, but I didn't hate any either. Really, unless you're already a Poirot fan, I would probably skip this one. While Holmes is perfect in short stories, they are not the best way to meet Poirot....
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Mystery! edited by Chantelle Aimée Osman

Mystery! edited by Chantelle Aimée Osman

The Origins Game Fair in Columbus is something we like to do every year, but this year we didn't make it due to my new job. I did have a friend who was nice enough to pick up this year's anthology - with the Mystery theme, I didn't want to miss is. He also got several of the writers to autograph it. Mystery!, like most anthologies, is a bit uneven. Some stories were excellent, some fine, and one didn't fit at all. There were 14 stories in all, but I'll only mention a few that struck me. "The Abomination of Fensmere" by Lucy A. Snyder was the first story in the collection, but it felt more horror with a Lovecraftian bent than mystery. I don't think it was the best way to start. Timothy Zahn's "(Ms.) Taken Identity" was good, both the mystery plot and the world he created where doppels are people who can look like anyone they want, until they're dead, then they...
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