Review: Arrowood by Mick Finlay

I absolutely love the tagline of this book: London Society takes their problems to Sherlock Holmes. Everyone else goes to Arrowood.

That totally caught my eye when I was scanning Netgalley in search of new books to read this summer. An anti-Sherlock Holmes sounded refreshing and new. I have been watching the TV show Sherlock (which if you haven’t watched it, go right now to Netflix and start!) and I love the modern take on it, so I thought that something like an anti-Sherlock read would be complimentary.

The Afghan War is over and a deal with the Irish appears to have brought an end to sectarian violence, but Britain’s position in the world is uncertain and the gap between rich and poor is widening. London is a place where the wealthy party while the underclass are tempted into lives of crime, drugs and prostitution. A serial killer stalks the streets. Politicians are embroiled in financial and sexual scandals. The year is 1895.

The police don’t have the resources to deal with everything that goes on in the capital. The rich turn to a celebrated private detective when they need help: Sherlock Holmes. But in densely populated south London, where the crimes are sleazier and Holmes rarely visits, people turn to Arrowood, a private investigator who despises Holmes, his wealthy clientele and his showy forensic approach to crime. Arrowood understands people, not clues (summary from Goodreads).

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Book Blast: The Babe Ruth Deception by David O Stewart

The Babe Ruth Deception
by David O. Stewart

Publication Date: June 27, 2017
Kensington Books
Hardcover & eBook; 304 Pages

Series: A Fraser and Cook Mystery (Book 3)
Genre: Fiction/Historical/Mysteries/Baseball

 

 

As the Roaring Twenties get under way, corruption seems everywhere–from the bootleggers flouting Prohibition to the cherished heroes of the American Pastime now tarnished by scandal. Swept up in the maelstrom are Dr. Jamie Fraser and Speed Cook…

Babe Ruth, the Sultan of Swat, is having a record-breaking season in his first year as a New York Yankee. In 1920, he will hit more home runs than any other team in the American League. Larger than life on the ball field and off, Ruth is about to discover what the Chicago White Sox players accused of throwing the 1919 World Series are learning–baseball heroes are not invulnerable to scandal. With suspicion in the air, Ruth’s 1918 World Series win for the Boston Red Sox is now being questioned. Under scrutiny by the new baseball commissioner and enmeshed with gambling kingpin Arnold Rothstein, Ruth turns for help to Speed Cook–a former professional ballplayer himself before the game was segregated and now a promoter of Negro baseball–who’s familiar with the dirty underside of the sport.

Cook in turn enlists the help of Dr. Jamie Fraser, whose wife Eliza is coproducing a silent film starring the Yankee outfielder. Restraint does not come easily to the reckless Ruth, but the Frasers try to keep him in line while Cook digs around.

As all this plays out, Cook’s son Joshua and Fraser’s daughter Violet are brought together by a shocking tragedy. But an interracial relationship in 1920 feels as dangerous as a public scandal–even more so because Joshua is heavily involved in bootlegging. Trying to protect Ruth and their own children, Fraser and Cook find themselves playing a dangerous game.

Once again masterfully blending fact and fiction, David O. Stewart delivers a nail-biting historical mystery that captures an era unlike any America has seen before or since in all its moral complexity and dizzying excitement.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound

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Review: Murder on Black Swan Lane (A Wrexford and Sloane Mystery #1) by Andrea Penrose

While combing through the catalog of titles on Netgalley, I happened to come across this one and admittedly, was captivated by the cover. I am not really sure why, I mean it’s not like it’s really that new and eye catching….I feel like I’ve seen a ton of books with similar titles that I was passed by in favor of something more eye catching.

But for some reason I paused on this one long enough to read the summary. Again, nothing terribly fresh but yet it sounded like just the thing I was looking for…..something predictable. I was dying to read another British detective mystery novel and this sounded like just that. So I clicked on request and once it was approved, I started in on what I expected to be a run of the mill detective novel.

The Earl of Wrexford possesses a brilliant scientific mind, but boredom and pride lead him to reckless behavior. He does not suffer fools gladly. So when pompous, pious Reverend Josiah Holworthy publicly condemns him for debauchery, Wrexford unsheathes his rapier-sharp wit and strikes back.

As their war of words escalates, London’s most popular satirical cartoonist, A.J. Quill, skewers them both. But then the clergyman is found slain in a church—his face burned by chemicals, his throat slashed ear to ear—and Wrexford finds himself the chief suspect (summary from Goodreads).

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Review: India Black (Madam of Espionage #1) by Carol K Carr

This book has randomly surfaced on my Goodreads recommendations page and Twitter feed for the last few years now.

I personally love the cover and thought it sounded like an intriguing read. Well recently I saw someone else on Twitter reading it and I suddenly felt like it was time to check it out.

When Sir Archibald Latham of the War Office dies from a heart attack while visiting her brothel, Madam India Black is unexpectedly thrust into a deadly game between Russian and British agents who are seeking the military secrets Latham carried.

Blackmailed into recovering the missing documents by the British spy known as French, India finds herself dodging Russian agents-and the attraction she starts to feel for the handsome conspirator (summary from Goodreads).

So I guess the whole ‘deadly game’ bit had me thinking this was going to be more of a murder mystery but it wasn’t. This was more of a heist than a murder mystery by far. The whole novel is spent trying to track down a mysterious black case of English documents rather then trying to solve a murder.

It was much different than what I was expecting. I was actually kind of disappointed that this was all that happened throughout the novel though.

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Special Feature: The Competition by Donna Russo Morin

The Competition
by Donna Russo Morin

Publication Date: April 25, 2017
Diversion Publishing
eBook & Paperback; 268 Pages

Series: Da Vinci’s Disciples, Book Two
Genre: Historical/Mystery

 

 

Donna Russo Morin returns with a follow-up to Portrait of a Conspiracy, called “a page-turner unlike any historical novel, weaving passion, adventure, artistic rebirth, and consequences of ambition,” by C.W. Gortner.

In a studiolo behind a church, six women gather to perform an act that is, at once, restorative, powerful, and illegal. They paint. Under the tutelage of Leonardo da Vinci, these six show talent and drive equal to that of any man, but in Renaissance Florence they must hide their skills, or risk the scorn of the city.

A commission to paint a fresco in Santo Spirito is announced and Florence’s countless artists each seek the fame and glory this lucrative job will provide. Viviana, a noblewoman freed from a terrible marriage and now free to pursue her artistic passions in secret, sees a potential life-altering opportunity for herself and her fellow female artists. The women first speak to Lorenzo de’ Medici himself, and finally, they submit a bid for the right to paint it. And they win.

But the church will not stand for women painting, especially not in a house of worship. The city is not ready to consider women in positions of power, and in Florence, artists wield tremendous power. Even the women themselves are hesitant; the attention they will bring upon themselves will disrupt their families, and could put them in physical danger.

All the while, Viviana grows closer to Sansone, her soldier lover, who is bringing her joy that she never knew with her deceased husband. And fellow-artist Isabetta has her own romantic life to distract her, sparked by Lorenzo himself. Power and passion collide in this sumptuous historical novel of shattering limitations, one brushstroke at a time.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | iTunes | IndieBound | Kobo

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