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Keith Fieldhouse

Joined 11 months, 3 weeks ago

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The Return of the Pharaoh 3 stars

The Return of the Pharaoh: From the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D. is a …

Holmes in Egypt

3 stars

My comfort reads are Sherlock Holmes pastiches. My sense, which may or may not be correct, is that Nicholas Myer opened the floodgates to these in the 1970s with The Seven Percent Solution. It got a lot of attention back when it was written. It appears that these are Myers's comfortable spaces as well. In The Return of the Pharaoh he gives Dr. Watson's wife tuberculosis, a face mask, and an excuse to travel to Egypt. Hijinx ensue, involving pyramids, Howard Carter, and of course, Sherlock Holmes. Myers doesn't capture the essence of Holmes as well as others; for my money, Lyndsay Faye is the best at that. This is partly because he's removed the pair from Baker Street and London. He's competent enough, though, and wandering around the Valley of Kings with the two of them was enjoyable and entertaining.

Junkyard Dogs (2011) 4 stars

Florida-man Comes to Wyoming

No rating

I've been reading Craig Johnson's Wyoming-set mysteries featuring Sheriff Walt Longmire since summer and enjoying them a great deal. Essentially I'm a sucker for the "decent man in an indecent job" trope. Longmire's voice is wry, self-effacing, and keenly observant, making him an excellent guide to one of the other main characters in the books, Wyoming itself.

In Junkyard Dogs, the 6th Longmire book, Johnson rummages around a bit in Carl Hiassan's spice cabinet. Wyoming-man can, it turns out, offer the same opportunities for humor as Florida-man. While Walt interacts with various vivid characters and deals with personnel problems in his department, the underlying mystery grows from quasi-comic beginnings to a rather violent conclusion. Despite the comic tone, this book has underlying sadness and seriousness. Walt is in a difficult job, and the consequences of that are taking their toll on him and the people around him. He's going …

The September Society (2008) 3 stars

The September Society, by Charles Finch, is the mystery set in Oxford and London, England …

Victorian Murder

4 stars

I read the first book in this series and liked it well enough to pick this one up. It's a very conventional Victorian-era mystery, which is to say, very upper-class and very white. The setting is the Oxford of that era, which is agreeable enough. The mystery itself is a little convoluted and unlikely for my taste. The protagonist is engaging and likely to move through interesting parts of society in London in future books. I'll pick up the next one.

Be the Serpent (2022, DAW) 4 stars

A Visit with Old Friends

4 stars

This is the sixteenth in the October Daye urban fantasy series by Seanan McGuire. She's been building this rich, interesting series and illuminating its various nooks and crannies for quite some time. As a result, each new entry in the series (which arrive like clockwork every fall) works as much like a very enjoyable visit with old friends as it does like a book. The downside of that is that there's only so far she can go -- we want to recognize those old friends after all. But, she does a good job of keeping her characters growing and changing and, as a result, interesting. As expected, a very enjoyable read.

White Ghost (2017, Soho Press, Incorporated) 4 stars

"1943: In the midst of the brutal, hard-fought Solomon Islands campaign between the Allies and …

A Mystery During the War in the Pacific

4 stars

This series imagines Billy Boyle, Boston copy and nephew(ish) of Dwight Eisenhower on Ike's staff looking into crimes ranging from murder to smuggling and espionage. Billy's been through North Africa, Scilly, Italy, England, and Ireland as part of his assignment. Ably assisted by Lieutenant Piotr Kazimierez of the Polish Army in Exile, Bill and Kaz travel to the Solomon Islands to investigate the murder of one of the indigenous coast watchers. Complicating things is that the prime suspect is a young PT boat caption, Jack Kennedy. Benn's research is always top-notch, and he does a great job of using his novels to shine a lot on some less well-known parts of World War II.

The Moving Target (1998, Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) 3 stars

Like many Southern California millionaires, Ralph Sampson keeps odd company - there's the sun-worshipping holy …

A Tour of Post-war Southern California

4 stars

The first of Ross MacDonald's Lew Archer series. Archer is the spiritual descendent of Phillip Marlowe and the ancestor of Spenser and countless others. Archer works in the fictional southern California of Santa Theresa, the same town where Sue Grafton's Kinsey Milhone later plied her trade. This book was published in 1949 and reflects that particular post-war time in the state when the optimism and opportunity following the war covered an underlying corruption. The mystery itself, which deals with the disappearance of a wealthy businessman who may or may not be on a bender, his wife, who may or may not be paralyzed, and the newly adult daughter who has eyes for dad'd private pilot but is desired by the local DA almost doesn't matter as Archer takes us on a tour of his stomping grounds and its denizens (in this kind of book, they're definitely "denizens"). Of particular interest …