Mystery writer Kathleen Kaska recently agreed to review The Disappearance of Mr. James Phillimore for the online magazine King River Life. Somehow she got confused and wrote a review of The Amateur Executioner instead. That might have been fine if she hadn’t already reviewed the latter for book for King River!
I hate to see a great review go to waste, so here’s the whole review, unedited. Kathleen cleverly called it Read at Once If Convenient – If Inconvenient Read all the Same.
Not too often do I read the first line or even the first page of a book and become hooked. Within those first few words, I need to get a strong feeling for the character, setting, and yes, even the plot, otherwise I usually put the book down. When I picked up Dan Andriacco and Kieran McMullen's The Amateur Executioner: Enoch Hale Meets Sherlock Holmes, I knew by the end of the second paragraph I would enjoy the story, which takes place in London in the early 1920s.American journalist Enoch Hale is scooping the story about the death of escape artist William Powers whose body is found hanging from the ceiling backstage of Alhambra Variety Hall. On the scene is Chef Inspector Henry Wiggins. Name sound familiar? If you’re a Sherlockian or Holmesian (Sherlock Holmes fanatic) you will remember Wiggins as the leader of Holmes’ Baker Street Irregulars, the group of street urchins the Great Detective hired to assist him in several cases. Wiggins, all grown up, has learned a thing or two from his detective mentor and has gone on to work for Scotland Yard.The authors have captured the time and setting perfectly, bringing in historical and fictional characters to tell the story. For example, Winston Churchill is one of the suspects in what turns out to be a string of execution-style murders. T. S. Eliot is the confidant of protagonist Enoch Hale. Oh, and a young filmmaker named Alfred Hitchcock provides a valuable clue that puts the investigators on track. More familiar characters show up in minor roles: Yeats, Shaw, and Pound. Arthur Conan Doyle, Sarah Bernhardt, Houdini, and Lord Carnarvon get a mention, too. Eventually, two of my favorite literary characters, Sherlock Holmes and his brother Mycroft, prove invaluable in helping solve the case.Along with captivating characters; the dialogue is crisp, the setting evocative, and the plot engaging. Did The Amateur Executioner: Enoch Hale Meets Sherlock Holmes grab me on the first page?Absolutely!Dan Andriacco also writes the Sebastian McCabe/Jeff Cody mystery series published by MX Publishing. His latest in the series is The Disappearance of Mr. James Phillimore.
Kieran McMullen is a lifelong Holmes fan, a Korean War veteran, and a Civil War cannon enthusiast.
The Amateur Executioner is available from all good bookstores including in the USA Amazon, Barnes and Noble, in the UKAmazon, Waterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is Kindle, Nook, iPad and Kobo.
Kathleen Kaska writes the award-winning Sydney Lockhart mysteries set in the 1950s. Her first two books, Murder at the Arlington and Murder at the Luther, were selected as bonus-books for the Pulpwood Queens Book Group, the largest book group in the country. The third book in the series, Murder at the Galvez, has just been released. She also writes the Classic Triviography Mystery Series, which includes The Agatha Christie Triviography and Quiz Book, The Alfred Hitchcock Triviography and Quiz Book, and The Sherlock Holmes Triviography and Quiz Book. The Alfred Hitchcock and the Sherlock Holmes trivia books are finalists for the 2013 EPIC award in nonfiction. Her nonfiction book, The Man Who Saved the Whooping Crane: The Robert Porter Allen Story, (University Press of Florida) was released in 2012 and has been nominated for the George Perkins Marsh Award for environmental history.