December 13 2014

If you’re a Sherlock Holmes fan, you’ve come to the right place this week. The chap with the pipe and deerstalker has popped up in everything from a young adult novel through to a gorgeous book to accompany a new exhibition. And don’t worry if you’re not struck on Sherlock – we have plenty of other reviews to keep your bank manager twitching nervously…

Linda Wilson enjoyed the new exhibition at the Museum of London, and was captivated by the beautifully-illustrated accompanying book, Sherlock Holmes: The Man Who Never Lived and Will Never Die, edited by Alex Werner. On the fiction front, Anthony Horowitz’s Moriarty brings together two detectives – one British and one American – in the aftermath of the Reichenbach Falls. Maddy Marsh says it’s clever with a great sting in the tail. Sci-fi writer James Lovegrove has written Gods of War where an older Holmes and Watson are reunited. John Cleal says it’s original, entertaining and you can’t see the join! A Monstrous Regiment Of Women by Laurie R King where Holmes is mentor to Mary Russell who is now at Oxford University, also gets the seal of approval from John. And there’s a move to Oxford for the young Sherlock in Andrew Lane’s Young Sherlock: Stone Cold. Linda Wilson says he invokes the period perfectly and that the characters are safe in his hands.

We’ve all joked about robbing a bank – except, that’s what the hero of Criminal Enterprise by Owen Laukkanen does when he loses his job. Chris Roberts says the characters feel genuine. He wasn’t so sure, though, about John Lescroart’s The Keeper, where the characters under threat seemed pretty unconcerned about their fate. And to complete a mixed hat-trick of US books for Chris this week, he felt that Marcia Clark’s The Competition wasn’t the strongest in the series featuring Deputy District Attorney Rachel Knight, and that credibility is stretched a bit too far at times.

Sharon Wheeler appeared to corner the market in quirky mysteries this week. She enjoyed Peter Helton’s Indelible, set around Bath, with its reluctant PI and a cast of art college eccentrics. Hilary Bonner’s Friends to Die For is centred on Covent Garden with an equally strange bunch of friends. Sharon says it motors along nicely, but she’s still not sure about the very quaint cop, though.

There’s another reissue for Georges Simenon’s classic Maigret series – although our man doesn’t appear until halfway through The Dancer at the Gai-Moulin. As always, says Arnold Taylor, the mere solving of the crime isn’t everything, as Simenon is concerned with the human existence. Also on the French front, there’s a dark and stylish addition to David Barrie’s Paris series, with Tight-Lipped. And yes, we know Linda Wilson always falls for the bad guys!

Our historical buff John Cleal did well this week. He welcomes Plague Land by SD Sykes, a dark and grim debut novel, set in the aftermath of the Black Death. Warlord’s Gold by Michael Arnold set John in mind of the great quote from 1066 and All That: “Cavaliers: Wrong, but romantic – Roundheads: Right, but repulsive.” Oh, and it’s a great action adventure, says John.

Elsewhere, Jude Evans says Ann Granger’s Bricks and Mortality is a straightforward but satisfying cosy set in the Cotswolds. And on the thriller front, Wanted by Emlyn Rees is fast-paced and competent, even if Linda Wilson reckons its hero has been hit with the stupid stick once too often!

In the Countdown hot seat this week is Conor Fitzgerald, author of the Commissario Alec Blume series, who definitely has some intriguing drinking companions.

We'll back in a fortnight with 16 new reviews and an interview with a top author. In the meantime, do visit our good friends at Reviewing the Evidence to catch up with releases in the US and Canada.
And if you're not following us on Twitter, we’re chatting away happily at .

Linda and Sharon

Countdown with
Conor Fitzgerald

Conor Fitzgerald has lived in Ireland, the UK, the United States and Italy. He has worked as an arts editor, produced a current affairs journal for foreign embassies based in Rome, and founded a translation company. He is married with two children and lives in Rome where his Commissario Alec Blume novels are set.

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