As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Published by Sphere, 5 March 2015. ISBN
a fascinating combination we have the writer Henry James and Sherlock Holmes,
both with doubts about their existences. Sherlock Holmes fears he is a
mere literary construct yet Henry James remembers meeting Holmes at a garden
party 4 years before. At the beginning of this book they have an
encounter on the bank of the Seine in 1893 Paris. As a result of that
meeting Holmes persuades a reluctant James to accompany him on a U.S.
Investigation; and very doubtfully James introduces the disguised Holmes
into the company of his friends in Washington Society. Somehow he has
been convinced that he must aid Holmes in an adventure for which James has no
This is a book full of references to novelists and
politicians of the era. Mark Twain, Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Cabot
Lodge, Vice President Stevenson feature as powerful portrayals within the
Gilded Age society of Washington DC. Dan Simmons gives detailed pictures
of Washington, New York and Chicago in the 1890s showing, in particular the
building up of Washington and the World Fair of 1893 in Chicago. The
luxurious travel of the wealthy by sea and on US railroads is a fascinating
sideline in a book full of delicious distractions. James's critical
reading of various Sherlockian tales includes a wickedly funny survey of the
Adventure of the Red headed League in which he summarises the improbabilities
of the work on the list of names that is Jabez Wilson's task.
The mysteries that Holmes investigates concern the
suicide of Clover Adams and the possibility of anarchist plots to kill the
American President. Many classic Doyle characters emerge - Moriaty, Irene
Adler, Mycroft Holmes. Even Holmes himself begins the book disguised as
Sigerson the Norwegian explorer whose adventures are briefly referred to in The
Return of Sherlock Holmes. The Holmes references are all accurate and
the Henry James ones feel right though I have not much experience of his books.
The other famous men behave as might be expected - I found the portrait
of Theodore Roosevelt particularly good.
It is a long and complex story but the author
carries his readers along easily. Conclusions are reached at the end with
many rabbits pulled out of hats!
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer
Dan Simmons has written many books with Drood being one of the most
Dan Simmonswas born in Peoria,
Illinois, in 1948, and grew up in various cities and small towns in the
Midwest. Dan received a B.A. in English from Wabash College in 1970, winning a
national Phi Beta Kappa Award during his senior year for excellence in fiction,
journalism and art. Dan received his Masters in Education from Washington
University in St. Louis in 1971. He then worked in elementary education for 18 years.
Since becoming a full-time writer, Dan likes to visit college writing classes,
has taught in New Hampshire's Odyssey writing program for adults, and is
considering hosting his own Windwalker Writers' Workshop. Dan's first published
story appeared on Feb. 15, 1982, the day his daughter, Jane Kathryn, was born.
He's always attributed that coincidence to "helping in keeping things in
perspective when it comes to the relative importance of writing and life."
Dan has been a full-time writer since 1987 and lives along the Front Range of
Colorado -- in the same town where he taught for 14 years -- with his wife,
Jennifer Palmer Throughout my reading life crime
fiction has been a constant interest; I really enjoyed my 15 years as an
expatriate in the Far East, the Netherlands
& the USA
but occasionally the solace of closing my door to the outside world and sitting
reading was highly therapeutic. I now lecture to adults on historical topics
including Famous Historical Mysteries.