A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

I was looking for something shorter to end my October with and decided I couldn't go wrong with a Sherlock Holmes story. I'm sure I've read A Study in Scarlet at some time in the past, but didn't remember much about it. It's the first of the Holmes stories, the one where he and Watson first meet. Dr. John Watson is back from the war, in London and running a bit low on funds. He isn't able to afford a decent apartment but is introduces to Holmes through a mutual friend. Holmes, as we know, is a "consultant detective", consulted not only by private individuals, but also by Scotland Yard. Soon, Holmes is called to the scene of a murder, and he brings Watson along with him. We get to know a lot about Holmes. He's strange and brilliant and has developed his own methods of detection. Part 2 of this one goes a little amok, off into Utah and Mormonism...
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Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

I've read three of Verne's books now, the three biggies, Around the World in 80 Days, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and I just finished Journey to the Center of the Earth. As far as I can tell, here's what they all have in common, aside from the "journey" plot. Each has a lot of really boring parts interspersed with some thrilling, brief adventures. And I'm not sure the exciting parts outweigh the mind-numbing bits. A geologist finds a hidden scrap of paper, deciphers what it says with the help of his nephew, and decides to follow what it says and make the journey to the center of the earth. They don't actually get there by the way. The geologist takes his nephew with him and they find a guide in Iceland. What they do discover is a vast subterranean cavern. This underground world is lit by electrically charged gas at the ceiling and is filled with a very deep subterranean...
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Shadow and Light by Jonathan Rabb

I thoroughly enjoyed Shadow and Light, but man, is it complicated. It starts off with an apparent suicide at a film studio, but Hoffner knows it's not that simple. Hoffner is a good character, determined and solid, but horrible at relationships, he's drinks too much, and is probably too friendly with the criminal backbone of the city. On the other hand, it seems like the criminals are more help than the system. The more he digs, the more grime and muck rises. And maybe that's how Berlin was at the time. Somehow, the crime syndicate, the sex trade, the movie studios, the rise of Nazism, all intertwine. To be honest, I'm not sure I got it all, but it didn't matter. Rabb immerses you in this world, and if you don't quite understand every bit, that's okay, because I don't think the characters do either. We meet several historical figures, but I don't know enough about the time and place...
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