Thursday, October 8, 2015

Mrs. Hudson and the Spirits' Curse

Happy October. I wish I could say we are enjoying fall weather but it is still pretty warm here.

I wanted to share what the Mystery Book Club read for our October meeting, with you.

It was a theme month, which means we all read whatever books we would like, within a theme. This time it was books set in Victorian times such as Sherlock Holmes.

I read Mrs. Hudson and the Spirits' Curse by Martin Davies.

Mrs. Hudson, of course is Sherlock Holmes' housekeeper. The story begins and is told by young teenager, name Flotsam (Flottie) running away from Fogarty, the butler of her employer. Fogarty had picked her up at an orphanage under the premise of training her to be a servant. Well, he was being pretty abusive, so she finally took off and was found by Scraggs, grocer and friend of Mrs. Hudson. He called Mrs. H. who took her in. Mrs . H. answers an ad placed in the newspaper by Holmes for a housekeeper. He and Watson are just setting up in London. Watson in returning from he travels. Mrs. H. has solved mysteries for previous employers and think Sherlock Holmes will be a perfect person for her to work for.

Mrs. H. and Flottie get the job! The first visitor to the house is a mysterious stranger who drops off a note and a dagger asking for Holmes and Watson's help. The stranger and his partners in crime, I mean business, have returned from Sumatra fleeing a curse that the natives have put upon them. Daggers, scorpions, snakes and rats are unfortunate parts of the curse. Many people have died under mysterious circumstances in Sumatra and they fear for their lives. Who is killing all these people and why? Is there really a curse?

Mrs. H. is presented as the person who catches clues, snoops, wears disguises and advises Holmes and Watson in this story. I found the end of the book very interesting. Watson wants to publish stories about his adventures with Holmes and seeks advice from Mrs. H. who suggests that Sherlock be the hero and that she should play lesser of a roll. While they do reside on Baker St., she suggests they need an address other than the real address and suggests 221B Baker St.. She also recommends that he make Flottie a pageboy rather than a girl so as not to draw attention to Flottie since she is so young yet.

It was a good story and an interesting take on the Sherlock Holmes stories.

Here is what other members read:

The Yard by Alex Grecian: Scotland Yard's Murder Squad Book 1
A Curious Beginning by Deanna Rayburn: A Veronica Speedwell Mystery
Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson by Lyndsay Faye
The Harvest Man by Alex Grecian: Scotland Yard's Murder Squad
Sister Pelagia and the White Bulldog: A Mystery (Mortalis) by Boris Akunin - set in Russia
Mrs. Jeffries Takes a Second Look by Emily Brightwell - cozy
The Counterfeit Heiress: A Lady Emily Mystery by Tasha Alexander
Gaslight Mysteries by Victoria Thompson: several in this series, cozies
Murder at Bertram's Bower by Cynthia Peale
The Alienist: A Novel (Dr. Lazlo Kreizler Book 1) by Caleb Carr (translation - psychologist in 1896)
The White Crow by Cynthia Peale:  spiritualism and séances are used to solve this mystery, which were popular during those times
A Beautiful Blue Death (Charles Lenox Mysteries Book 1)
Inspector of the Dead by David Morrell
The Face of a Stranger by Ann Perry                                                                                                 

All were set in Victorian times. Several showed the beginnings of forensics and police departments. Both forensics and policeman were pretty new concepts and had a rough start. The public did not like or trust the police departments. "Investigators" took no care NOT to disturb the crime scene. Several are books in a series that members have really enjoyed. Many gave a glimpse into life in Victorian times and especially being a woman in those times.  We had a good discussion about the books and the history of the time.

For next month we will be reading Missing You by Harlan Coben. I also have a couple of interesting new books I want to read and post reviews for. I better get busy. :)

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