Tag Archives: sherlocked

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? (09/03/12)

It’s September! Sure, the forecasted high temperature today is 104F and our lows haven’t been lower than 88F in several days, but I can feel autumn in the air! Okay, not really. That’s just the AC kicking in, but I’m good with delusions. There is college football, fall frisbee league, and a whole queue of creepy, mysterious books to read. Autumn can’t be too far away.

This Week I’m Reading:

The Italian Secretary: A Further Adventure of Sherlock Holmes by Caleb Carr

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are summoned to the aid of Queen Victoria in Scotland by a telegram from Holmes’ brother, Mycroft, a royal advisor. Rushed northward on a royal train—and nearly murdered themselves en route—the pair are soon joined by Mycroft, and learn of the brutal killings of two of the Queen’s servants, a renowned architect and his foreman, both of whom had been working on the renovation of the famous and forbidding Royal Palace of Holyrood, in Edinburgh. Mycroft has enlisted his brother to help solve the murders that may be key elements of a much more elaborate and pernicious plot on the Queen’s life. But the circumstances of the two victims’ deaths also call to Holmes’ mind the terrible murder—in Holyrood—of “The Italian Secretary,” David Rizzio. Only Rizzio, a music teacher and confidante of Mary, Queen of Scots, was murdered three centuries ago. Holmes proceeds to alarm Watson with the announcement that the Italian Secretary’s vengeful spirit may have taken the lives of the two men as punishment for disturbing the scene of his assassination. Critically acclaimed, bestselling author Caleb Carr’s brilliant new offering takes the Conan Doyle tradition to remarkable new heights with this spellbinding tale. (Goodreads)

I’m in a Holmes mood. Honestly, I haven’t read too many pastiches.  Hoping this won’t disappoint.

Short Story of the Week:

I’m also reading some classic Holmes and I’ll be raiding The Chiaroscuro‘s archives for the next month or two for some good scares.

The Usual:

A poem, a section of Poetic Edda. I think I’m going to put A Clash of Kings aside until the Tor read-along catches up.

What I Read Last Week:

Courtney Crumrin and the Night Things by Ted Naifeh, review will be posted Friday. Gave up on Koontz’s 77 Shadow Street, more on that tomorrow in my R.I.P. VII update.

Book #24

Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories edited by Kelly Link & Gavin J. Grant

It took me a little while to warm up to this anthology. To me, steampunk is a very specific thing: science fiction of the Victorian era. That is, what kinds of technologies could you extrapolate based on steam power? The stories in this anthology stretch the definition of steampunk in a lot of different directions, not many of them sticking to the steaminess of steampunk.

For example, Libba Bray’s “The Last Ride of the Glory Girls”  revolves around one very high tech gadget being used in a traditional Old West setting. “The Summer People” by Kelly Link is contemporarily set and fae centric. These fae have a tenancy to create clockworks. Once I stopped saying “Well, *that’s* not steampunk,” I enjoyed myself a whole lot more.

My two favorite stories are both homages to other, er, sub-genres.  Ysabeau Wilce’s “Hand in Glove” reads very much like a slightly skewed sequel to Poe’s “Murders in the Rue Morgue.” With a little Frankenstein thrown in for good measure. I would love to spend at least a novel-worth of time with Detective Wilkins in dreary Califa. “Steam Girl” by Dylan Horrocks is a love letter to cinema cliffhangers with the brilliant and beautiful Steam Girl as our perpetrator of derring-do. Or maybe Steam Girl is just the alter ego of a young girl trying to make the best of her ugly situation… Either way, Dylan Horrocks (better known as a comic writer and artist) presents a great debut story.

Format: Kindle Cloud Reader
Procurement: Greater Phoenix Digital Library


I’ve been in a certain mood lately. It started sometime last week after a few days tolerable Arizona summer temperatures and a fairly impressive, if brief, nighttime thunderstorm. The three episode Dexter marathon. AddingThe Italian Secretary and 77 Shadow Street to my TBR list. Rewatching Sherlock and dusting off my Conan Doyle anthology. Or maybe it stretches back to earlier in the month when I bought Lunar Park, or to my very nature. Whatever the case, I’m in the mood for horror and mystery. Enter R.I.P. VII.

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril is a reading event hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings, lasting from September 1st to October 31st and focusing on mystery, horror, gothic, thrillers, the supernatural and all manner of things that go bump in the night.

I’ll be participating at a couple of levels:

Read four books that fit R.I.P. My reading pool:

  • 77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz
  • The Italian Secretary by Caleb Carr
  • Lunar Park by Bret Easton Ellis
  • Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
  • Courtney Crumrin, Volume 1 by Ted Naifeh
  • Hannibal Rising by Thomas Harris
  • The Descent by Jeff Long

  • Sherlock Holmes, various stories
  • Much of Shadow Show and associated Ray Bradbury tales probably apply.
  • Two and Twenty Dark Tales edited by Georgia McBride & Michelle Zink
  • Not ruling out Poe

There’s Dexter to watch and Sherlock to pine for. Eventually  American Horror Story will return (though I’m not sure it will during the span of this event). I even want to catch Elementary when it premiers because,  well, Sherlock Holmes is Sherlock Holmes. Speaking of which, there’s Murder Rooms as well. Good stuff all around.

#WWReadathon Challenge #6

Kriss @ Cabin Goddess Reviews is hosting a Beach Soiree

(Welcome to my Mary Sue. )


  • Your perfect beach (from a book, or a place or a cover)
  • Your perfect date (provide a link to cover or book)
  • in your preferred swimwear (description, or link to image or cover)
  • With your first choice of books to read (title with link to book or to cover)

What do I think of when I think of Beach Soirees? I think of…murder.

I grew up in Nebraska and had never seen a beach until my 30s, but I had dreamt of Silver Strand.

Welcome to Silver Strand Beach, San Diego, CA. Close to Coronado, but lacking the glitz. The sea-weedy berms that line the beach give the area a feeling of secrecy and privacy. Who knows what’s happening just out of view on the other side?

The others in attendance at the soiree are shocked when the body washes ashore, but not him. Nothing shocks him.

This was the best I could do without going all Cumberbatch.

Regrettably, Watson did not make the trip. The beach is no place for a deer stalker and a great coat. Holmes and I are pretty much a pale, pasty pair. Neither of us are in the mood for a swim when the game is afoot!

He opts for a button up shirt and shorts and I accompany him to the morgue in an activeware dress a sensible shoes.

I actually own this book. It is seriously cool.

When Holmes points out, within minutes of seeing the body, that the cause of death was obviously a gunshot wound and not a shark attack, I realize I’m going to need some reading material to help me catch up.

While Holmes is generally brilliant, he doesn’t spend nearly enough time mindlessly surfing the internet. If I hadn’t been procrastinating and watched the skateboarding championships one afternoon (the only thing left on ESPN3 that wasn’t baseball), I would have never suggested that the substance on the man’s pants was curb wax and not candle wax.  That of course was the key to solving the Case of the Sunken Skater Boy.

Back at the soiree, Holmes handed me frothy pint of Guinness (fetched of course by the ubiquidous cabana boys). “Good show, Nabity,” he said to me. “Good show.”


2012, Week One in Reading

Started the year off with “required” reading. Two chapters of A Clash of Kings, a short story, and a poem.

I set up a Google Doc for my short fiction reading. It’s embedded on my short story/poetry page. My aim is to read one each per week in addition to anything I might come across. “Geddarien” by Rose Lemberg was my intentional short story read. Lovely story. We authors often talk of using setting as an additional character, but how often does your setting dance?

The prologue to “The Golden Journey to Samarakand” (by James Elroy Flecker), the first selection from T.E. Lawrence’s Minorities book, was very apt for the beginning of a new year. “We who with songs beguile your pilgrimage/And swear that Beauty lives though lilies die,/…/What shall we tell you? Tales, marvellous tales…”

Then I moved on to chipping away at my TBR list.

First up was Black Light by by Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan, & Stephen Romano. I won this book during the October read-a-thon. It was a book of my choosing, one of the few horror titles available. It’s been a while since I’ve read a good horror novel. It will be a while longer.

Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan are the screenwriters behind the last bunch of Saw movies. Personally, I like the Saw franchise. I find the movies to be clever and actually quite well written on a macro plot level. Stephen Romano is also a horror writer and screenwriter of some note. The main character of this book is billed as a private eye/exorcist, which intrigued me. Alas, I don’t think screenwriting translates to novel writing. Strike one was using first person present POV. Truly, I wish writers would move on from this gimmick. It’s exceedingly hard to do well. There are other ways to create forward drive in narrative. The second strike was a sort of vagueness of detail. There are a lot of  “it”s and “he”s. Bones pop. Which bones? Just the fingers that were being bent backward? An urn is put in a backpack, but is later retrieved from the ground.  During a conversation between two men in a bar,  I lost track, numerous times, of who was speaking. Thoughts and details were really non-intuitively dispersed. (I haven’t decided whether that’s a fault of the first, present POV. I’ll have to see how The Hunger Games does.) Strike three was the cliches. “The last time I went out there, I got somebody killed. Somebody innocent.” Such quotes were not unique in the 30 pages of Black Light that I read. I have too many books and too little time to put up with shenanigans.

Onward to the next thing on my TRB list, right? Not so much.

The BBC’s Sherlock premiered series two with “A Scandal in Belgravia” which led me to dig up Carole Nelson Douglas’s Good Night, Mr. Holmes, the first of her Irene Adler novels, and re-read “A Scandal in Bohemia.” I had acquired the novel back in 2010 during my Holmes-a-thon. If there is a book that is the near polar opposite in style to Black Light, it’s Good Night, Mr. Holmes. The POV is first person, but it’s a ruminating, describing first person (somewhat alternating between Watson and a young companion of Adler’s). Occasionally, I’ve wished that this book would just get on with it. I’m also a little wary about Douglas bringing Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker into this book, not to mention Charles Lewis Tiffany (as in “diamonds by”) and the Pinkertons*. Mixing real people and fictional characters leaves me uneasy.

*I keep meaning to read more about the Pinkertons. And maybe, incongruously, write about the Pinkertons.