11 year-old twin geniuses and some-time sleuths Nick and Tesla are bored. Their parents have vanished and their eccentric Uncle Newt isn’t the most… focused guardian. So when one of their friends asks for their help in retrieving a priceless comic which has been stolen from their store, it seems a good way to pass the time.
But there seems to be a slew of robberies in Half Moon Bay – more than just the comic – and the only link seems to be an array of robots that seem to be present in each one of the crime scenes… Maybe Nick and Tesla (and the reader) should build their own mechanical creature to fight back!
Louis XI of France, the “Spider”, has a hold over the English court. An English agent, carrying the Book of Ciphers has vanished without trace in Paris. Claiming to have the book, he sends three agents to Kent to negotiate with Lord Henry Beauchamp, the Keeper of the Secret Seal, the spymaster of Edward IV. But Lord Henry has his own games to play…
The newlywed Kathryn Swinbrooke is summoned to the negotiations to uncover the truth behind a letter from Henry’s dead wife that accuses the Lord of murdering her – only it has been sent recently despite being written in her own handwriting and with her own seal. But before she can look into that, a spate of murders breaks out in the nearby village of Walmer. The blacksmith and his wife are both poisoned at the same time, with different poison, and it seems that the village council have been targeted – this is only the beginning of the deaths. The village has a history of violence – from the execution of a group of wreckers to the slaying of three Lancastrian refugees from the Battle of Tewkesbury. It seems that the worse is yet to come…
Well, this has been a funny old month. Nine books, eight of which were read before the eighteenth of the month and then only one since then. As I mentioned in the last review, the cause was in part a deeply dull new release that I intended to review but couldn’t bring myself to finish. I tried my best, getting further than I normally would in a book that I didn’t enjoy, but it became too much like hard work. Obviously, no names but if you noticed something vanishing from the “Coming Soon” tab, that’s the book.
On top of that, I broke my “one book per author per month” rule with two from both Paul Doherty and Dame Agatha but sometimes when your reading’s off track, you need an old favourite. But as I mentioned at times throughout the month, this was always going to be a difficult Puzzly to call.
And we’re back…
Gossington Hall, home of Dolly and Colonel Arthur Bantry, is disturbed one morning when the body of a young, platinum blonde girl is discovered in, yes, the library. No apparent connection is made between the location and the body and nobody recognises her. Luckily Dolly’s old friend, Jane Marple, has a few ideas…
Soon a second body is discovered and the focus of the investigation becomes the Majestic Hotel in Danemouth, and a tale of adopted young women and a possibly lost inheritance. But how on earth –and why – did that body end up in the library?
Matt Scudder used to be a policeman until a tragic accident drove him out of the police force and in the direction of the nearest bottle. Now he survives as an unofficial private eye, doing “favours” for friends.
Wendy Hanniford was murdered by the boy she shared her apartment with. It’s an open and shut case, especially when the boy commits suicide in prison. But Wendy’s estranged father wants to know the truth about her life – how she came to the point of sleeping with men for money and how she came to be murdered. As Scudder looks into the case, it seems the truth could be not as clear cut as it seems.
And lo, there was much rejoicing, on this blog at least, as it was announced that there would be a new series of Jonathan Creek. One of the criticisms of the recent specials – The Grinning Man, The Judas Tree and The Clue Of The Savant’s Thumb – was that they were too long, so there was much hope for the return to the c. 60 minute episodes.
And then the first episode was screened and the internet lit up with some extremely negative comments – the twitter stream for #JonathanCreek was negative to say the least. I’d planned to post episode by episode reviews as I did for Sherlock, but there was a lot to think about and I didn’t want to make a knee-jerk reaction. Well, now I’ve thought about it – here goes…
Southwark, February 1381. Very precise with the date there, as people with a good knowledge of medieval history will know that this is the year when the Peasants’ Revolt is on the verge of breakout across England and London in particular. The Upright Men, the leaders of the Great Community, are making plans, and their footsoldiers are attacking the servants of John of Gaunt, the Regent of the realm.
At the Candle-Flame tavern, on the banks of the Thames in Southwark, Edmund Marsen, one of Gaunt’s primary tax-collectors, is staying in the fortress-like Barbican. On the morning of the 14th of February, the alarm is raised as two guards are found outside, murdered at their posts. The Barbican itself is locked from the inside, but when the doors are broken down, seven more bodies lie inside – and Marsen’s treasure chest lies open and empty. Is this the work of the Upright Men, or Beowulf, the assassin who seemingly shares their beliefs? Or the spy who seems to be staying in the tavern? Or someone with a different reason to hate Marsen? For as the truth begins to form, it seems that Marsen had a lot of enemies – and some of them were very close to him that night…