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broodings from the burrow

April 14, 2020

into the stacks 2020: january
posted by soe 1:23 am

Fine. Let’s get my metaphorical house in order and get caught up on some book reviews. To start the year, I finished two books I really enjoyed:

The Art of Theft, by Sherry Thomas

In the fourth of the Lady Sherlock mysteries, Mrs. Watson comes to Charlotte with a Christmastime request — would she be willing to … retrieve … something on behalf of an old friend?

What can Charlotte say? She owes Mrs. Watson such a debt of gratitude. So despite her hesitations, she agrees. But this isn’t the sort of heist that can be accomplished with just the two of them. It’s going to require the assistance of Lord Ingram and Stephen Marbleton — and even her sister Livia — to pull this off. Acquaintances from earlier in the book series will cross their paths, as will at least one character from another Thomas series (which I’m now excited to read).

They will all journey across the Channel to France, where they must gain access to an exclusive Yuletide Ball. Charlotte, always one step ahead of murderers in her previous adventures, must now figure out not only how to successfully resolve Mrs. Watson’s friend’s request, but also how not to get caught in an international intrigue or in the crosshairs of a power play.

Charlotte’s adventures continue to be some of my favorites. I was lucky enough to get to attend an event at Loyalty Bookstore back in the fall with Sherry Thomas and to be in the room when she got to meet Kate Reading, a local voice actress who reads the Lady Sherlock audiobooks. The next book in the series is due out in the fall, so you still have plenty of time to get caught up with this great series — either in print or via audiobook.

Pages: 297. Personal copy.

Sherry Thomas

Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts, by Kate Racculia

The first thing you need to know is that there is an eccentric old billionaire, Vincent Pryce, beloved by many in Boston, who is about to drop dead at a hospital fundraiser. He has set up a Poe-inspired quest to celebrate that fact, and the prize may be some of his wealth. Everyone in Boston is very interested.

Second, you need to understand that Tuesday Mooney is very nearly always the smartest — and most reclusive — person in the room. As a development researcher for the fictional equivalent of Mass General, she likes to think of people as puzzles to be solved, which makes her both good at her job and off-putting to be around, except to a couple key people: her best friend, Dex, a drama queen stock broker, and Dorry, the motherless teen girl from the apartment next door who worships the ground she walks on. She also has just made a new friend, rich playboy Nathaniel, who refuses to fall neatly into any of the boxes she’d created for him when she researched his family. Oh, and there’s also Abby, who disappeared when they were teens, and who may or may not be haunting Tuesday.

People’s true identities must be sussed out. There are games within games within games going on here: peel off one layer of the onion only to reveal the next. Players will have to confront both inner and outer demons to solve Pryce’s puzzles, and Tuesday will not only have to learn to play well with others but also to trust them in order to move ahead and be considered for the final part of the game on Halloween night.

This is The Westing Game for adults and a well-crafted, multi-layered mystery of identity and reliability and, even, ghosts. Highly recommended.

Pages: 359. Library audiobook.

Total January reads: 2 books; 656 pages.

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