Pub Date:December 28, 2010
FTC: Purchased myself
Giving screwball mystery a whole deadly new meaning.
Holmes and Moriarity, Book 2
A murderous fall down icy stairs is nearly the death of Anna Hitchcock, the much-beloved “American Agatha Christie” and Christopher Holmes’s former mentor. Anna’s plea for him to host her annual winter writing retreat touches all Kit’s sore spots—traveling, teaching writing classes, and separation from his new lover, J.X. Moriarity.
For J.X., Kit’s cancellation of yet another romantic weekend is the death knell of a relationship that has been limping along for months. But that’s just as well, right? Kit isn’t ready for anything serious and besides, Kit owes Anna far too much to refuse.
Faster than you can say “Miss Marple wears boxer shorts”, Kit is snooping around Anna’s elegant, snowbound mansion in the Berkshires for clues as to who’s trying to kill her. A tough task with six amateur sleuths underfoot. Six budding writers with a tangled web of dark undercurrents running among them.
Slowly, Kit gets the uneasy feeling that the secret may lie between the pages of someone’s fictional past. Unfortunately, a clever killer is one step ahead. And it may be too late for J.X. to ride to the rescue.
I am a big fan of Josh Lanyon. He writes some of the smartest, funniest romance/mystery/capers out there. This one was no exception.
I read the original Holmes and Moriarity book, Somebody Killed His Editor, sometime early last year. I loved it. And when KC from Smokinhotbooks tweeted a link to an early review and clued me in that a sequel had been released, I fired up the Kindle and pre-ordered it.
It did not disappoint. In fact, I think I liked this one even more than the first book.
Lanyon's characters, for the uninitiated, are quite often a bit cranky. And Christopher Holmes continues that tradition. The humor in this book is often just the way Holmes describes things (as the story is told in the first person through his POV).
A few of my favorites that had people looking at me funny as I snorted with laughter while reading:
"Perhaps I'd reached an age where I ought to start wearing glasses on a chain around my neck. Like a lady librarian. Not that librarians necessarily wear eyeglasses to bed—disconcerting to one's bed partner if magnifiers are required."
or this one:
"He scooped up Victoria practically before she hit the ground, well within the five-second rule. If she'd been a potato chip, he could have still eaten her. Not something I particularly wanted to contemplate."
I really love the way the author pokes fun at the book world with this series. Even the tongue-in-cheek Arthur Conan Doyle character names add to general atmosphere of 'not taking oneself and one's book too seriously.' And I also love his vocabulary. Mine isn't too shabby, but I found myself having to use the Kindle dictionary at least twice to confirm my guess about a word's meaning.
The romantic elements of the story are so sweet. Holmes has so many insecurities about himself and his ability to maintain a relationship. And J.X. is so understanding about every one of them. He's patient, but pushes Christopher one slow step at a time out of his comfort zone. He fights, but in a steady rather than overbearingly alpha way, for the relationship and man he wants.
The only thing I didn't like was that I kept confusing two of the characters. Their names were too generic for me to keep straight: Anna and Sara. I think they're a bit too alike. Four letters. Two A's. It's probably just me and the constant interruptions while reading, but everyone else was given an unusual, easily remembered name except those two. Less generic names for those two would have helped, I think.
I loved All She Wrote. I hope Lanyon continues to write about J.X. and Christopher. They are too wonderful not to be given more adventures—romantic and investigative.
My Grade: A