Well, hi there, stranger. Long time, no see. I’ve been working hard on my life and my fiction writing and have neglected you shamefully.
I’d been debating about whether to continue the Irreverent Book Blog. After all, there are lots of people out there giving their opinions on books. What’s decided me is the same thing that started this in the first place. I wanted to share a book and author I love with you.
Through an eddy in the space-time continuum, the original blog entry where I introduced you to a friend of mine is now no more. Because of quantum, or some similar thing. However, with the recent release of her newest work, I feel the time-line is back on track, and so I will go forward from here, just as if there had always been a Romulan daughter of Tasha Yar flying around in a Warbird somewhere.
I have already talked to you in brief about my friend Emma Jameson. However, what you may not know is aside from Rosemary O’Malley, Emma is my oldest friend. We are closer than any two people who rarely see one another and communicate via the internet probably should be. We are no strangers to this separation, and have been writing from Florida to Tennessee since snail mail was the only method of so doing. I can promise that this blog would not exist without her, nor, probably would I. It is extremely rare that a childhood friendship can stand up to separation, distance, and all the changes adulthood brings. I’m very grateful for my friend.
As one of her oldest fans, and staunchest supporters, one might considered me biased in the case of her work. So, as always, a little more background for you.
Prior to my friend writing one, I had never heard of a cozy mystery. “Cozy” is not what I expect out of my fiction, as you all may have guessed by my choices to share with you. What in the hell was a cozy mystery, and why was my insanely talented friend writing them? The best definition I’ve heard also explains the reason. Cozies, apparently, are more “character driven”—another phrase I’d had no occasion to use prior to starting this blog—than other kinds of mysteries. OK, then, that made sense. No matter what name she is writing under, Emma’s work is always character-driven. When I say that, I mean very simply that she creates people. People you want to know, people with flaws and hearts and souls. So obviously, that’s where she needed to be.
I touched on the “Lord and Lady Hetheridge” Series of books in a prior “review and a half” that included Emma’s work. The most recent release, Something Blue, continues the story beautifully.
According to the author: Something Blue is:
Anthony Hetheridge, ninth baron of Wellegrave and chief superintendent for New Scotland Yard, will marry Kate Wakefield in three weeks. It’s inevitable-the invitations are out, the flowers are ordered, the cake is chosen. But murder waits for no man, and no wedding.
In London’s prestigious West End, a disgraced CEO has been murdered at Hotel Nonpareil, an exclusive destination. No one, it seems, liked Michael Martin Hughes. Not his estranged wife, Thora, or his defiant son, Griffin. Not Hotel Nonpareil’s manager, its head of security, or perhaps even the other two women in Hughes’s life: his future bride, Arianna, or his secret girlfriend, Riley. Still more ominously, before Hughes died, he incurred the wrath of a potentially more unforgiving foe: Sir Duncan Godington, longtime nemesis of both CS Hetheridge and DS Deepal “Paul” Bhar.
For the first time, CS Hetheridge, Kate and Bhar find themselves under tremendous pressure to uncover the killer in the shortest time frame ever. Has Scotland Yard, not to mention Downing Street, lost confidence in Hetheridge? Will the murder conviction rest on hard forensic evidence, a mountain of circumstantial details, or an impulsive theft? Find out by returning to the world of ICE BLUE and BLUE MURDER in SOMETHING BLUE, the third mystery featuring Lord Hetheridge, Kate Wakefield and Paul Bhar.
Once again, Emma gives us the people we’ve grown to love, and those we may come to dislike intensely. It is helpful to have read the other books in the series to truly enjoy Something Blue, but the story stands on its own, and is extremely entertaining.
Particularly interesting to an American like myself is the pervasive nature of the class structure in Great Britain. While obviously, snobbery is also rampant in the U. S., the general consensus is that it’s not a good thing. If we didn’t feel that way, we’d probably still be “The Colonies”. British snobbery is practically praiseworthy, and we feel every bit of it throughout this book. As Kate and Paul experience more of the class prejudice that is peculiar to their home country, I find myself pierced by it, as if it were happening to me.
All the elements of a good mystery are also present, and we learn more about the lives of the characters who do indeed drive this series. With twists in plot and subplot, the work keeps the reader moving and interested through-out. Staying up late to finish a book is pretty cliché to readers, but at 43, it is certainly more difficult to do than at 23. Nevertheless, I couldn’t put this one down, even as my Kindle was slipping from my hands. As one who often scorns romance, I even enjoyed those bits, especially because Kate and Tony can’t help but take their work home with them, which makes these scenes feel authentic.
Enjoy Something Blue! On the Imaqulotta Scale, I rate it as Heavenly!
“The INDIE ECLECTIVE: What is it, who are they, and why can they spell neither “eclectic” nor “collective” correctly? The Indie Eclective is an ensemble of NINE AUTHORS operating under the assumption that Readers like Good Books. Whether you enjoy light or dark paranormal, YA or adult-themed genres, there’s bound to be a story to suit your tastes. Thanks for reading!”
The Members: Heather Marie Adkins
M. Edward McNally
As you’ll have noted in my choices thus far here at the Irreverent Book Blog, my tastes are eclectic, such that the only unifying factor in all that I love is that very irreverence. So, when Emma Jameson, who is one of my very dear friends, was asked to join such a creatively named group, I was intrigued. Since its most recent release coincided with that most wonderful time of the year, the Hallowe’en season, it seemed a perfect choice to share with you. The Haunted Collection has a little something for everyone.
The stories are described for you thus:
“Empty Vessel” by M. Edward McNally: Captain Wil has command of his own ship, the respect of his crew, and his wife is expecting their first child. But at sea, the winds always become calm just before the storm breaks.
“The Smell of Death” by Tara West: Maggie’s unusual powers bring new threats to her already troubled childhood.
“Safe” by Emma Jameson: In Victorian London, a grave robber makes a nice living off the dead, until he opens the wrong crypt.
“Soulfully Sweet” by Shéa MacLeod: As if helping the living isn’t enough of a pain in her divine hindquarters, Branwen (former goddess of love and beauty) is stuck helping the dead on All Hallow’s Eve.
“May I Go Play?” by Heather Marie Adkins: Micah inherits a southern mansion where ancestors long dead relive their violent deaths. And now, they want company…
“Blehdward, the Vampire who Couldn’t Sparkle” by Pj Jones: Blehdward desperately wants to fit in with the cool vamps. If only he could learn how to sparkle.
“Franscesca” by Alan Nayes: Break a promise to a feiticeira and you will live to regret it.
“Soul Eaters” by R.G. Porter: Kaitlyn never believed in the existence of other worlds. Now she’s in the middle of one where humans aren’t the hunters but the hunted.”
These stories share a common “haunted” theme, but are each very different, as are the authors’ styles and voices. I enjoyed the combination very much, as it seemed to touch on almost everything I enjoy about being a reader. Two stories introduce us to other worlds, one to another time, and they all present spooky stories from a different angle than we may have previously examined them. I cannot choose a favorite from among the stories presented, as each has things to recommend it.
“Empty Vessel” manages to introduces us to a brand new (to me, at least) world clearly and in detail, which is a difficult thing to manage in a short story; it doesn’t lose the chills in that precision, either. “The Smell of Death” is poignant, and maintains my assertions that youthful protagonists do not a juvenile work create. “Safe” is a new twist on the grave-robbing theme we think we know, and creates characters as only this author can! “Soulfully Sweet” was just that, answering questions about life and death in an original and amusing way. “May I Go Play?” is an enjoyable take on the Southern Gothic. “Blehdward, the Vampire who Couldn’t Sparkle” was ridiculously funny; Twi-hards beware! “Francesca” provides an exotic locale to a truly original twist on witches and hauntings. “Soul Eaters” takes us to another dimension, not at all a pleasant place to be, and thankfully gets us back again! This collection as a whole was Heavenly on the Imaqulotta Scale!
Another review and a half? Is this turning into a thing?
Speaking of Emma Jameson, I must mention her “Lord and Lady Hetheridge” Series, which currently consists of Ice Blue and Blue Murder. First of all, let me say that prior to my friend writing one, I had never heard of the “Cosy” subgenre. My taste in mysteries runs much more toward “Thrillers”. However, whatever sort of mystery you like, these are excellent examples. I’ve gotten to observe these works in progress, and in their polished finished form. Whether you read an Emma Jameson or a Stephanie Abbot work, you’ll recognize a depth of character creation unequaled by many authors in many genres. Without the wandering back-stories of my beloved Stephen King, or the dozens of novels with which to fill in character that Sir Terry Pratchett has, Jameson summons living breathing people to the page. This seems effortless, and is a trademark of her work. It’s one of the reasons I count her among my favorite authors. The series is Heavenly, and only leaves us wanting more.
I have read the Emma Jameson story, and it’s bad-ass. I will be reviewing this when I’ve finished.