My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I snagged this from the library as I like historical mysteries and I needed a P for my alphabet challenge. I quickly realized that it wasn't the first in a series but with mysteries that usually doesn't matter too much. In this case it might have mattered more because the whole John hoping Sabina is warming up to him might have meant more if I knew anything about the two detectives; that and the whole Sherlock Holmes subplot would have been more robust had I seen him before.
It's actually three mysteries and two of them slightly tied together. The two detectives are Sabina Carpenter and John Quincannon. John and Sabina are on two completely different cases and actually don't really interact at all until the very end when they sit down and tell each other what they've been up to.
John has been employed to discover who has stolen the recipe for a well loved San Francisco steam beer, killing the brewmaster in the process. John's employer is sure it's West Star brewing's owner Drinkwater (irony) who is behind it. And really John's case isn't much of a mystery. Drinkwater IS behind it as we know from the very first pages. It's more of watching John gather evidence and at least one more death happens along the way. And John's none too happy about any of this because he's a recovering alcoholic who doesn't need the temptation of a brewery.
Sabina has been hired onto two cases, one is more of a protection detail for a museum exhibit on purses, including one from Marie Antoinette. Naturally it's going to be stolen out from under her nose and really given the set up there's no mystery here either as it's almost instantly resolved.
The other case is she's been hired by Roland Fairchild and his shrew of a wife, Octavia to find their cousin Charles the third who is the heir to millions. What they want is to find him and have him declared insane so they can have his money. And they could possibly do it because Charles insists he is Sherlock Holmes and he's well known to Sabina as he's apparently interfered with her cases in past books.
He makes it easy to find him as he comes to 'help' with the museum case but soon he's the prime suspect in a murder case.
Here's the thing about this book, it's short and light which is nice every once in a while. On the other hand, it's less mystery than it probably should be. The team of writers working it (husband and wife I believe) are both Mystery Grand Masters so I would have expected something meatier. John and Sabina are likeable enough but on the other hand this felt like two novellas seamed together with not quite enough filling. Still, I'd give another book in the series a chance. Though I do wonder did anyone even in the turn of the century really believe Sherlock Holmes was real and not fictional because everyone here (barring the detectives) seems to believe it.
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And oddly I can not find the next graphic novel on goodreads or amazon not by author name, title or ISBN but it's the first several chapters of a web comic known as Riven Seal and it's a shame I can't find anywhere to review it. AH well.
It's set in a fantasy world where some people are capable of binding demons and using magic. Janus is a young man apprentice to Grimsby who is both viscount and summoner. He hasn't let Janus do much but one night Janus stumbles across a red and white haired demon with a strange eye and the demon quickly tires of his chatter, robbing him of his voice. However, Grimsby has work to do in the capitol introducing us to the idea that a) he governs a backwater no one cares about b) the duchess who needs more face time (as a strong female character) and c) the bastard princeling who looks a little like Jin from Samurai Champloo. In the meantime, Janus manages to find the name of demon, Beleth, who robbed him of his voice and accidentally binds him (Jason, Grimsby's friend helps him to hide this fact because summoners are highly regulated by the crown).
I thought it was a decent story with a bit too little back story so it felt a tad confusing but it has a lot of promise (and hey they know angelic glyphs for demon seals so huzzah). The art is lovely. I know I'll be following this one online.