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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Poison Ivy by Helena Marchmont

Poison Ivy by Helena Marchmont

Poison Ivy is the 12th in the Bunburry mysteries and I don't think it would be as good as a standalone - half of the fun is knowing the characters and how their relationships work. I was quite happy that Oscar is in town for most of this one, along with the rest of the usual cast. Emma and Alfie are planning a surprise party for Marg and Liz. At the hotel, Alfie meets a beautiful interesting woman. It turns out she's an old acquaintance of Oscar's and he's sure she's a murderer. This was another good entry in the series. The mystery had a twist or two. The characters are their delightful selves and I like how some of the newer ones have settled into recurring roles. It was a nice way to spend a few hours. ...
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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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Wine for Normal People by Elizabeth Schneider

Wine for Normal People by Elizabeth Schneider

Wine for Normal People is such a good book. I enjoy wine — well, some wines — but know very little about it. Wine is complicated, from the color, to the region in which it's grown, to the correct pairing with food, and the temperature at which it's served. I tend to stick with what I know I'll like, but this book has given me a bit of confidence to pick some less safe options. The book is interesting and conversational. We learn how to taste wine, how it's made, how both the winemaker and where the grapes are grown affect that taste. We get a quick tour of wines in both the Old World and New World. The author also gives advice on pairing wine and food, not a list to memorize, but characteristics to take into account. I listened to the audiobook narrated by the author, who also has a podcast by the same name. It felt like a friend...
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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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