The house of silk : a Sherlock Holmes novel

From  Andrea  Kalinowski
Author:  Anthony Horowitz
The house of silk : a Sherlock Holmes novel
House of Silk is a good addition to the Sherlock Holmes mystique. Dr. Watson is as always, Sherlock’s faithful amanuensis. The House of Silk is a criminal enterprise which has its evil tentacles in the most unusual places. The whole trail begins when a client attempts to engage Sherlock in a case. The whole novel is a case of double crosses and false leads. Mycroft, Sherlock’s brother, who never stirs from his chair due to his corpulence, makes a guest appearance at Baker Street, to issue a warning to his brother, a warning which Sherlock disregards in a most blatant way. Sherlock is, as always, several steps ahead of the criminals and at the end of the novel, whatever remains, however improbable, is the solution. This book was very entertaining and demonstrated Anthony Horowitz’s understanding of Sherlock Holmes/Dr. Watson functionality. An excellent read for a wintery evening , when night is closing in and mimics England’s weather scene.

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The poisoner’s handbook : murder and the birth of forensic medicine in jazz age New York

From  Andrea Kalinowski
Author:  Deborah Blum
The poisoner’s handbook : murder and the birth of forensic medicine in jazz age New York
This was an informative read, especially for those of us into forensics and the history thereof. The dedication exhibited by the early pioneers in New York’s Medical Examiner’s Office was an example of what can be accomplished, even with little monetary funding. If there was no test for a particular lethal substance, the scientists kept chipping away at the problem, experimenting constantly until they arrived at the correct formula for determining toxicity. The leader of the Medical Examiner’s Office instituted reforms which streamlined recovery and handling of the deceased. This was a very informative and enlightening read.

Plain fear : forsaken

From Rosemarie Jerome
Author:  Leanna Ellis
Plain fear : forsaken 
Vampires and the Amish, sounds bizarre and I was skeptical at first but the story slowly lured me in until I was hooked.  It begins with a young man running for his life and evolves into a young Amish woman haunted by her dead boyfriend and an ex-cop from New Orleans hunting for his wife’s killer.  It is a dark story of secrets, love, faith and a battle to save a woman’s life and her immortal soul.

Zoo Station

From Eileen Effrat
Author:  David Downing
Zoo Station
Berlin Station Series :  Zoo Station, Silesian Station, Stettin Station, Potsdam Station: For a top notch historical suspense series set in Berlin during the Third Reich, search no further.  Filled with rich historical detail, fans of Phillip Kerr, Alan Furst, Pierre Frei , and Rebecca Cantrell will not be disappointed.  John Russell, an Anglo-American journalist is smart and resourceful. The first in the series, Zoo Station, begins just prior to Hitler’s takeover and the latest sequel ends in April 1945 as the Russians conquer Berlin in Potsdam Station.

Through the years as circumstances change, he plays amateur spy for the  Americans, Germans, Russians and British to help his German family , Jews, socialists, communists, and others persecuted by the Nazi regime. The writing is fast paced with a biting, sarcastic wit.

Man overboard : inside the honeymoon cruise murder

From Jackie Cantwell
Author:  Joan Lownds
Man overboard : inside the honeymoon cruise murder 
This is based on the 2005 still-unsolved murder of George Smith IV during his Mediterranean honeymoon cruise with his wife Jennifer Hagel  Smith. They were a Connecticut couple who had it all: good looks, money, lots of friends, and a seemingly good relationship.  After a night of heavy drinking and gambling in the casino of the Brilliance of the Seas ship, Jennifer ended up passed out on one end of the ship, while George was in his stateroom with 3 or 4 male acquaintances.  Reports differ as to what may have occurred in the room, but we do know a loud thud was heard by “ear-witnesses” and then George went missing, and was presumed overboard. The next morning, passengers saw a bloodied awning below the Smith cabin.  There was a cursory investigation conducted by the Turkish authorities. George’s parents and sister feel that Royal Caribbean was negligent in their investigation and that the evidence was compromised. The book follows the actions and lawsuits that the Smith family pursued to find out the truth about what happened to their son, and to find the perpetrators.  There are also summaries of other cases where passengers were killed, raped or went missing. The book serves as an indictment of not only the Royal Caribbean cruise line, but the entire cruising industry. Overall, I felt the author overly relied on secondary sources, such as transcripts from TV programs and quotes from websites and newspapers. To my knowledge, she did not interview anyone close to the case. The author does not give her opinion as to who she thinks may have murdered George Smith. This is a cautionary tale for would-be cruisers.

The President and the Assassin: McKinley, terror, and empire at the dawn of the American Century

From Ellen Druda
Author:  Scott Miller
The President and the Assassin: McKinley, terror, and empire at the dawn of the American Century
 President McKinley’s two terms as president saw America move from an inward-looking isolationist country to a world power as we came into the twentieth century.  Our borders and outlook began to open up to new people and ideas, and our country faced turbulence and radical change.  The industrial revolution brought a deep division of wealth, and citizens became angry over the disproportion.  War was waged on foreign soil for financial reasons.  Unemployment grew and the economy tumbled.  Does it all sound familiar?  The book tells the story of McKinley’s rise and ultimate assassination by a troubled anarchist, but what is most striking are the similarities between that period in history and this.  Miller brings history alive as we travel along to the ultimate outcome meeting such famous folk as Emma Goldman, Theodore Roosevelt, and Admiral Dewey.

Lean Mean Thirteen

From Elaine Pasquali
Lean Mean Thirteen
 Author:  Janet Evanovich
Stephanie Plum and her band cronies set out to solve the mystery of Stephanie’s missing ex-husband.  Was he murdered?  Is Stephanie the only suspect?  Laugh out loud incidents on almost every page as the sleuthing ensues. Evanovich’s books can be read out of sequence, so don’t hesitate to jump into the middle of her series.