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  • Author : Michelle Birkby
  • Publisher : Pan Macmillan
  • Genre : Historical Fiction, Mystery
  • Source : Publisher
  • Rating : 3/5 Stars

Sherlock Holmes is a favourite of most of us. Be it reader or non reader, he is such a popular character that almost all of us know him. But we all, atleast we ladies, wondered about the women involved in his life. Yes, he doesn’t think much of women, but these women show him that they aren’t as bad as he thinks an god knows he needs to be taken down a peg or two, as Dr.Watson so kindly suggests.

Mrs.Hudson and Mary Watson are back with their second mystery and this time, it’s spooky. We have supernatural elements, lost children and one two many unnatural deaths at the hospital where Mrs.Hudson is currently recuperating. Combine all of these and the always curious Mary, and we have an investigation on our hands!

This is one of those books that you read, tucked into your bed on a rainy night with thunder and lightning crashing outside, reading away at a casual speed. It is also one of those books that you can read outside while chilling on your porch on a sunny day. It is a typical vintage mystery with spooks galore and a killer hidden in plain sight and if you love this genre you will love this book.

The story is ell paced, slow and steady, feeding us the background of each character, their situation, how they react in different circumstances, each allowing us to make our own decisions about them. But this is where the slight of hand, or words, happen. The author could either guide or misguide your idea of who the criminal is and the author truly succeeded in fooling me. I did not see it coming and I cannot tell you how much that pleased me!

The author’s skill with characters is also brilliant because while we all know and love Mrs.Hudson on the TV series, the author takes these two characters and remakes them completely from scratch. In fact, she’s written the characters so well that while I haven’t read the first book, I felt like I had. And I felt the horror they felt each time the previous story was brought up. We don’t see Mary’s POV but she is also well written, though the impression you get of her is very different from the impression she gives on TV.

What I like about this book is how little we see of the men. The are there somewhere in the background, not necessarily ridiculed or dismissed as some feminist books do, but they are just there. No need to insult them or relegate their roles, the author ensures that they do their part without stealing the limelight that these two female characters certainly deserve. I have to say though, Dr.Watson certainly came out looking a lot better than Sherlock did and for that, I’m thrilled. And when it comes to the mystery, the author takes seemingly unrelated things and connects them in a plausible and relevant fashion, making you say, “Bloody hell it was so obvious all along!”

On the negative side I did find certain things a little dragged out, a few of the decoys a little unbelievable and some of the interactions a bit contrived. But only some, maybe about 10% of it. The rest of the book, the mystery, was perfectly cozy and entertaining. I’d certainly read the next book in this series and most definitely the first as well. As for recommendations, if you enjoyed the original Sherlock mysteries or Hercule Poirot and anything else by Agatha Christie you will absolutely enjoy this one.

32716025When Mrs Hudson falls ill, she is taken into a private ward at St Barts hospital. Perhaps it is her over-active imagination, or her penchant for sniffing out secrets, but as she lies in her bed, slowly recovering, she finds herself surrounded by patients who all have some skeletons in their closets. A higher number of deaths than usual seem to occur on this ward. On her very first night, Mrs Hudson believes she witnesses a murder. But was it real, or just smoke and mirrors?

Mary Watson meanwhile has heard about young boys disappearing across London, and is determined to find them and reunite them with their families. As the women’s investigations collide in unexpected ways, a gruesome discovery in Regent’s Park leads them on to a new, terrifying case.

Available for purchase on Amazon India, Flipkart, Book Depository and Wordery.