Mysteries To Solve

The month of September has managed to work its way into our lives right on time.  Every month of the year has its own personalities.  No two are alike.  The books reviewed for this month have mysteries to be solved.  Just like the months their similarities end there.

A Study in Treason (2018) by Leonard Goldberg may be a novel those of you who are fans of Sherlock Holmes will want to get your hands on.  This title is the second of a new series.  It opens in 1914 at 221b Baker Street.  Here you will find Dr. John Watson, who is recovering from a stroke.  His son, John Watson, Jr., the narrator of this tale, along with his wife, Joanna, are playing a bit of a game with the elder Watson in an effort to stimulate his brain.  While watching action out on the street, a government car pulls up in front of the Baker Street address.

Out steps Sir Harold Whitlock, a highly placed government official.  The First Sea Lord of His Majesty’s navy has come unannounced and alone to enlist Dr. Watson’s help in solving the disappearance of a secret document.  The elder Watson insists that his son and Joanna be included in the investigation. Through conversations with Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard Whitlock is aware that Holmes had a long-lost daughter.  He is hesitant at first to have her join the investigation.  She assures him, “I see what everyone else sees.  But I think what no one else has thought.”

The secret document is a French Treaty that was drawn up in an effort to prevent a war with Germany.  Their goal is to find the stolen treaty before it is made public.  The trio takes off via train to Halifax Manor, a once glorious estate with 250,000 acres.  The appearance of which now seems to say otherwise.

The library is the main point of interest for the three since that is where the treaty was being copied and the room had been locked at all times.  In addition, a guard was posted at the door around the clock and the windows were locked.  The only persons allowed in the room were:  The Duke of Winchester’s son Harry who was making the copies, Charles the butler who has served tea at precisely 3pm daily, and Harry’s wife.

Inspector Lestrade met them at the library and explained that they have not yet figured out how the thief came and went.  They have found no secret passage way.  Lestrade assured Joanna that none of the household staff were involved.  Joanna had a different response.  “Oh, I can assure you one is involved.”

Having inherited the genes of Sherlock Holmes when it comes to deductive reasoning, Joanna finds the hidden passage. She devised deductions based on her findings of just what kind of person could have accomplished the feat of entry into the secured room.  And the game is afoot.

I am not a super fan of Sherlock Holmes, but have read enough to know that Joanna definitely follows in his footsteps when it comes to solving crimes.  She is quite confident of her skills.  If her plan is followed, the treaty will be found.  The culprit apprehended.

Several different characters appear on the pages of A Study in Treason.  Some more complex and colorful than others.  But, do not write any of them off.  Every twist and turn, not matter how menial, may take you to the correct conclusion. Or, it may just be a red herring tossed about to throw you off the trail.  Can you match Joanna’s ability in solving this treacherous act?  Enjoy trying.

From solving a crime of complexity to one that appears, at least on the surface, to be a quick solve.  Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.

A small-town police chief, a Peeping Tom, and a middle school principal who has a lot of parents angry with her, and you have yourself a very fast read in Night and Day (2009) by Robert B. Parker.  This is #8 in Parker’s Jesse Stone series.

Night and Day is my first ever book by Parker.  I know he is a very popular author here at Tanglewood judging by the number of books by him on our shelves, plus how often his books are taken out.

This novel is strictly for reading entertainment purposes.  Nothing in depth as far as story line or character development so you will not be investing much in the way of time along that line.  You know the kind:  short, chapters, large margins, and printed on thick paper.  Still good to read.

Jesse Stone, is the chief of police in the fictional seaside town of Paradise, Massachusetts.  I did enjoy his style when questioning or interviewing in order to find information.  Jesse has some personal issues.  For one, he drinks way too much.  In fact, that is how he lost a job and ended up in a small town.  Jesse and his therapist have interesting discussions.

Night and Day opens when Officer Mollie Crane alerts him to a call about a disturbance at the junior high school.  Angry parents greet Jesse at the door of the school.  It seems Mrs. Betsy Ingersoll, the school principal, prior to the dance had taken the girls into the locker room to find out what kind of underwear they have on.  She wanted to make sure what the 8th graders were wearing was what she deemed appropriate for young ladies.

The next day one of the young girls involved in the underwear caper shows up at the station wanting to speak with Jesse alone.  13-year-old Missy Clark drops a bombshell when she tells Jesse about her parent’s swinging lifestyle.  Missy wants Jesse to make her parents stop.  She begs him not to tell anyone.

As if that is not enough, Night Hawk, as the Peeping Tom calls himself, enters Jesse’s life.  As the reader you will learn more about Night Hawk before he becomes a major issue for the police department.  This creepy person begins sending letters to Jesse.  The content of the letters implies something more than peeping may happen.

Being my first Jesse Stone/Parker novel, I was not sure what to expect.  I was pleasantly surprised for the most part.  For one thing, no gross, graphic descriptions were spelled out.  The downside for me was the use of the F-bomb.  It was the only vulgar term used in the book.  It was not overdone, just almost seemed like someone just stuck that word in as an afterthought and in most unlikely places.

I found the many characters throughout the pages of Night and Day believable.   ‘Many’ being the key word here.  Too many to list for a short review.  The major characters were all interesting.  Again, I did not know all their back stories, but enough was given to get to know some interesting facts about them.  Several were likeable and those who were not, well you were not supposed to like them.

There you have it.  Two completely different whodunits.  Read them both and see what you think.  I would read both authors again.

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