The fun one has trailing the greatest crime solvers through the pages of countless detective novels is nothing compared to following a bold, fearless super villain. Someone who captures the imagination with simple motives of greed and the lack of scruples needed to obtain that wealth no matter the cost. Human happiness is unimportant. Human life is merely a means to an end. Wether it be a precious stone, an antique or astounding piles of cash the entrancing villain holds nothing back. Each time they strike for the heart. This direct attitude towards achieving sinister goals is attractive but frequently leads to criminals capture in the end.
Madam Sara is an unusual woman. Though she looks no older than 25 she is rumored to have been a bridesmaid at a wedding over 30 years ago. Though she appears beautiful and stylish her hands are tied up in unscrupulous deals and illegal trades. She may be the greatest criminal mind of her generation. The only things stopping her are the minds of two men. One a wise medical examiner who works frequently to untie the thorniest criminal problems in England. The other a man of high standing with a business research agency in London. He can learn about most peoples affairs instantly but Madam Sara is a more difficult and careful opponent. You will believe in magic after meeting The Sorceress of the Strand.
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Books don’t usually scare me because I frequently avoid books that have the express intent of instilling fear upon their readers. The books that I’m drawn to have drama of course but rarely constant lurking mortal danger. My favorite types of novels are either detective or humor fiction so creeping fear based stories rarely fall in my lap. This book definitely scared me. Listening to this before bed alone in a dark house looking out the window into the moonlight is better than coffee to keep yourself awake and alert. I wonder why I didn’t struggle falling asleep that night. Oh well.
Trillium Pierce is in for a stressful few weeks. At first she is nervous because she asked her mom for permission to join the convent. She has gone to school at a convent for the past seven years and is about to graduate as a high school senior. The peace and tranquility of this lifestyle appeals to her long term. The letter she receives has a very different message. Her mother has found a lead, a witness, that may help catch the murderer of Trillium’s father. Trillium becomes paranoid immediately and second guesses her decision to join the convent. In this flustered state she is tasked to deliver a letter to one of the three new male teachers, the three geniuses. Each one has a specialty: painting, athletics and writing. On entering their joint accommodations she sees a small broken statue and is struck with overwhelming dread. That statue was taken from her house by her father’s murderer seven years ago. He is now at her college and he may be looking to finish what he started. Dress up like a nun and listen for the church bells while reading Murder Takes the Veil.
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The ability to cloak oneself in others desires, fears, and preconceptions is difficult. Wearing another persons point of view is frequently uncomfortable and cumbersome. Occasionally one may lose oneself in another’s persona and not be able to fully return to their own. The man of the house in this quirky little novel has this astounding ability. Not only can Mr. Atherley jump into another’s mind but he is seemingly able to work the controls and review the memories of another’s brain. In a fractured world, where “others” are ostracized a little mind jumping may do us all some good. Once we realize our motives and bias we can bring additional patience to our interactions with those we disagree. Patience and sincerity in discussion may lead to additional insights and occasionally collaboration.
Remember the old saying: “Ghosts are in the eyes of the beholder.” Guilty as charged. That was made up but it does accurately portray this fun little novel. You arrive at a British country house with a large raucous family and apparently an old ghost. This ghost appears to people from time to time especially in one rarely used bedroom. Six different people see the ghost and tell of its shape and form. Each time Mr. Lyndsay and the man of the house, Mr. Atherley, discuss each new insight weighing the differences and similarities between each new ghost encounter. Like witnesses at a crime scene each person describes a vaguely similar creature through their own lens. In time Mr. Atherley tries to convince us that ghosts are not real but rather created by imaginative people and each ghost story tells us more about the individual seeing the ghost than the ghost him or herself. Like a mirror each story peers into the tellers soul. Peer into six souls by reading Cecilia de Noel.
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free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/15258/15258-h/15258-h.htm
One of the hardest feats that an author can accomplish is not allowing the reader to skip ahead to the end. I don’t mean physically; the annoyed reader can flip to the final chapter at any point. There is no reader comprehension test that unlocks each successive chapter. No, the author must simultaneously convey that the end is worth waiting for while not ruining it. The end must be the only possible option, an inevitable conclusion, that the reader could never have dreamed up independently. That is a large weight for mere words to bear. Sometimes the plot is so original that the ending feels flippant and irrelevant. Other times the plot is engaging but the ending becomes so fixed and clear ahead of time that the reader is forced to leave early from boredom. Maurice “Mo’ Mystery” Leblanc has the knitters gift. The ability to dangle many different yarns in front of the audience before at the very last moment crafting them into a nice fashionable story.
Paul Delrose embarks on a WWI spy thriller like no other. The entire time you keep asking: how can all these characters be in two places at the same time? His journey begins with his marriage to Elisabeth as rumors of a French-German war start brewing. The happy couple is innocently decides to marry now. They wonder who would want war in these happy times. The pairs positive outlook, tinted by the recent marriage, blinds them to war until it has snuck up behind and jumped them. A depressed Paul heads off to the front lines to fight for France with lingering concerns about his country and his recent marriage corrupting his thoughts. Meanwhile, a confused Elisabeth stays in her families large castle near the French-German border against Paul’s wishes to clear the name of her mother. What has her mother, who died when she was young, been accused of? Paul recognized her in a family portrait and is convinced that she is the same woman who murdered his father. Brush up on your French and search for The Woman of Mystery.
free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/34931
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“I’ll have what he’s having,” shouts a boisterous, heavyset man with a jolly face wearing an old fashioned three piece at the Mystery Authors Club. The declaration brings the eyes of the room towards a small table with short bespectacled man hunched alone over a small table alternatively wolfing down food and scribbling furiously on a yellow legal pad. Three empty dishes lie on the other side of the table surrounded by five yellow crumpled pieces of paper. Unfazed or unaware of the attention the author continues his crude dinner writing ritual. End scene. I’m one of those people who always assumes everyone in a niche field knows everyone else. In the case of mystery authors I imagine a sort of old fashioned English club that every great mystery author frequents regularly. The man at the table in this case is E.W. Hornung rushing towards the deadline of his new mystery novel.
Rachel Minchin was born to a poor family in Australia and she worked humble jobs later gaining berth to England as a Lady’s companion. On the voyage, she and Mr. Minchin, a forty year old mining expert, fall in love and quickly get married. The new marriage bliss doesn’t last as Rachel realizes that her husband is a much different in London than on a boat. Mr. Minchin is murdered the night before Rachel planned upon leaving him. The police and the public convict Rachel immediately in the court of public opinion. After a weeklong trial, Rachel is declared not guilty to the disgust of the attentive public. Alone at night without means or wiles to procure bread and bed Rachel is helped by a stranger who’d watched the trial. The next day, the rich stranger J.B. Steele proposes a marriage of convenience where neither must discuss their past. In desperation to shed public scrutiny and the Minchin name Rachel accepts and moves to Steele’s English country house. The stereotype of the English country village with its gossiping locals and scrutiny of outsiders make the pairs secrets ever more fragile. Rachel is a sympathetic bewildered character and J.B. Steele is a gruff man full of mystery. The question of who really murdered her late husband permeates the tale. Not sliding cleanly into popular whodunnit or detective novel cliches E.W. Hornung creates a compelling mystery full of brutal dead ends, shocking revelations and believable cast of characters. Sit in the dark and read The Shadow of the Rope.
free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/12590
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Have you ever casually stepped in a puddle that ended up much deeper than first assumed? This book is a puddle. You may find depth but I only saw glimpses. Instead I thought that this novel had a consistent absurd style of humor that paced the whole story wonderfully. Each chapter left me thinking that this couldn’t go any further. The joke was over yet the author kept pulling at it incessantly like a kitten with a ball of yarn. At times I imagine jumping inside a book to see how realistic the book feels around me. This book hangs realism in the first chapter and spends the next fourteen chapters dragging the body around and taking pictures with it. To some this would be too far. Instead I found it refreshing.
Gabriel Syme is a policeman disguised as a poet. This is an easy disguise; he used to be a poet. His goal is to disrupt the plans of the a secret international anarchist organization. Through ruse, subterfuge and mostly blind luck Syme finds himself inside the local underground bunker taking part in an anarchist meeting. Syme seizes his chance and tricks the local chapter to elect him as their representative. Like a line of dominos, Syme crashes from one adventure to the next in pursuit of a world without anarchy. Ride an elephant through London while reading The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare.
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free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1695
I don’t know why I’m surprised when I love a classic. I should probably expect it. This small book was big time resulting in the phrase-“jekell and hyde” meaning a person with varying moral character. The moral separation of self is a concept I don’t believe in personally. The good, the bad and the ugly must be accepted as parts of yourself. Maybe that is an excuse I use after some new inexplicable evil committed at my hands. All in all I find it puzzling people can define themselves according to their best qualities instead of a smattering of good and evil. That would seem the difference between painting entirely with one color and using the entire color palette.
In this book, you meet the friends and acquaintances of one Dr. Henry Jekell who has been acting strangely of late. He has been keeping dangerous friends and staying out at odd hours. What could compel him to change his habits in this way? Two of Dr. Jekell’s oldest friends find themselves wrapped up in this dark mystery. Ponder the ways of good and evil by reading the Strange Case of Dr. Jekell and Mr. Hyde.
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free ebook: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/43