Friday, February 27, 2015

Rebecca Alexander Presents Literary Historical Horror Fiction at its Finest - The Secrets of Life and Death

Historical Note from the Author
Writing a story rooted in the past is always a balancing act between being as grounded in the evidence as we can be, and telling an engaging and believable fiction. Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelley were extraordinary thinkers and travelers, and were in central Europe in the autumn of 1585. They did meet King Istvan Bathory, (at least once, in April 1585) and his niece was really Elizabeth Bathory, the infamous murderer of young girls.
After she was found guilty of multiple murders her closest servants were executed. As a noblewoman and a Bathory, she was condemned to be imprisoned at Csejte (also called Cachtice, now in Slovakia) in 1611, where she was found dead in 1614. Her body, after local protests, was removed from the crypt of the church and has never been found. Her real story is more extraordinary than I could have imagined, and as much of the historical documents were suppressed, there is room for speculation...

I don't know about you, but knowing a minimal amount of the historical people and places in a novel enhances my enjoyment. How an author takes a bit of history, especially with infamous characters, and molds it not only into a historical story, but also brings it forth into present time with such precision is so fascinating to me.  Kudos to the author for "stretching history" into a completely plausible tale of life and death...

The Secrets of Life and Death

By Rebecca Alexander

Moving back and forth from the year 1585 to the present, the historical chapters are written as if narrated by Edward Kelley who was friend and professional associate of Dr. John Dee

The main thrust of the historical portion of the novel is that Dee and Kelley are called upon to try to save Elizabeth Bathory... This story includes witches, inquisitioners and all of those early myths (or realities) of what was happening as protestants were considered enemies of the Catholic Church... Since there is a continuous link between what is happening in the past with what is in the present, I'll be sharing more of that part, which was more interesting for me, since it provides a quite different and unique alternative to other versions of vampires and other supernatural stories I've encountered...

At first, tiny details hit him. Her hand,
lying on its back, her fingers curved like
a dead crab on the beach. Her lips were
distorted by the glass into a half smile,
their lavender skin parted to show a few
gleaming teeth. The space in front of her
was covered with litter left for the train
cleaner at the end of the journey. Felix
wondered how many people had discarded
used paper cups and newspapers on her
table, walking past the slumped girl
without realizing she was dead.
A movement caught his attention
as he walked across the car park.
There was a woman standing in
rain a dozen yards from the ticket
office, looking through the railings
toward the train. She appeared to
be watching the police as they
worked, but her posture was odd
and she didn't look like a chance
spectator observing a tragedy.

Felix was often called to crime scenes when it appeared that some unusual, perhaps ritualistic crime had occurred. This time, before he even got to the scene, he noticed a woman standing in the rain watching the police as they worked. She didn't look like a chance observer, but she disappeared before he could do anything about speaking to her.

Even though he knew what to expect, looking at a dead, young girl, still was not an easy task. It took him a minute to ask about the symbols they had earlier told him about. A man lifted her T-shirt with gloved hands...

Felix flinched as her pale skin was revealed. Red marks criss-crossed her body, and for a moment he thought they were injuries. Then he realized that she had been marked with red pen.
"That's an Enochian symbol." As the shirt was lifted higher and the slack skin on her belly was revealed, more symbols appeared in two concentric circles curves. "And that one, too. I don't recognize all of them. Two circles of what look like sigils." He bent forward, to get a better look, and caught the flowery scent of clean laundry and the acrid smell of voiced urine from the body. Sadness rolled over him, and he looked at her face for a moment. So young. The surface of her eye was just touching the glass, starting to lose its gloss as it dried.
"We'll photograph them at the postmortem." Soams stepped back into the aisle, away from the actual scent. "So what are these drawings?
"Enochian symbols. They're supposed to be an alphabet given to John Dee, an Elizabethan scholar. He got them through a man named Edward Kelley, who channeled angels for him."
"Like a psychic speaking for the dead." Felix's mind was flying through memories. The arrangement of the characters in a circle seemed familiar.

Standing at the station had left a chill that Jackdaw Hammond couldn't shake. Two days later, she wondered why she was putting herself through it again. Another girl... but first, she had some business to transact...
One hand rested against the coat touching her thigh, and against her fingers she felt the outline of the dagger sewn into the lining...She crept along the side of the alley, remembering every cobble, the raised drain, tussocks of weeds. She allowed a fingertip to trail along the brickwork wall, counting steps in her head...
The Seven Magpies, George Pierce's preferred rendezvous... "Just throw me the money."
He bent over one pocket, drew something out. "You and I are two of a kind, Jackdaw." He waved the packet at her. "The money's good. Give me the stuff."
She hesitated, four grams of prepared bone dust grinding like sand in the plastic between her fingers.
"What's it going to be used for?...

Jack had gone through the ordeal herself... She had been brought to the home where she now lived, nearly dead. She was placed in a basement room which had once been a safe room for priests and had been chained inside a circle of a sigil and slowly given something made of herbs and other magical items... Now she was helping others they found on the streets, some dying naturally or from an accident, some due to drug overdose--and tried to bring them back to life. to become a revenant. 

The young girl that they had just found at the station had run away from Jack's home. They had always warned her that leaving the circle before she was ready would result in her death. Jack had run after her, trying to find her and get her back but she had climbed onto the train and was dead before the train had even left again...

Sadie looked at the shackle on her
wrist. Hot tears fell onto the dry
skin on her hands.
"Illness...what was wrong with you?"
Her voice came out cracked, like
an old woman's.
"Same as you." Jack turned to look
down from the top of the steps. "I
was dead."
Now she had found another girl, Sadie, and was going through the same struggles to help her understand. But, this time, Sadie's mother had contacted the police and a search had begun...

"These must have been awarded
during the fifteen eighties, when
Dee was in Europe...The letters
are very similar," she said, as
she passed him a hand lens. "The
spiral one looks like the one of
the back of her neck...

He turned his attention back to
the first faded scribble. Something
something...account...Secryts of
Lyfe and Death...
In the meantime, Professor Gouchard was working with the police and was working to follow through with his research and had received more of John Dee's documents from the British Museum, including a couple of medals with the face of Istvan Bathory of Poland...

Soon Felix was comparing the sigils found on the dead teenager with those documented by Dee and Kelley... But it really got interesting when Felix met Jack...and realized she was also covered with the symbols, in her car...and in her home...

What Felix had not expected was his attraction to Jack...

Even if she was cold to the touch...

I found this version of what might have been happening back in the 1500s in Translvania a kinder, gentler version. One that evolved out of the desire to help heal, even if, in doing so, it created something inhuman and, in the case of Elizabeth Bathory, a monster...

This entire package--the merge of history with the contemporary street people--was extremely well done, in my opinion. There is an almost seamless flow of information coming from centuries ago, into the world of today, illustrating how the magic of yesterday's mystics has passed down generation after generation, still with the goal to heal and protect and free individuals from an untimely death... Well done! Highly recommended for those who enjoy fiction of the supernatural realms...


I write fantasy. And crime, and historical, and even a bit of romance. The problem is, they all tend to creep into each book. I decided when I was very young that I would write stories,and spent a lot of time with sticky tape and stapler trying to work out how to make them into books. I wrote my first novel at nineteen, which was terrible, but I was learning. I finally got my first short stories published in San Francisco when I was twenty-one, but they were ‘nature-based erotica’ so I couldn’t show my family. Then real life got in the way and I was busy bringing up three small children, one of which had a life-limiting illness. I read though: fantasy, crime, historical - even a bit of romance.
Life got much harder when my 33 year old husband died unexpectedly the same year my daughter died, aged 8. For a long time I was paralysed with grief and just wrote non-fiction.
A long time afterwards, I began writing tiny fictions, fragments of stories. I started doing writing courses and that was it, I was novelling again. By the time I had written three novels I was starting an MA. I started two books, a ‘literary’ book which turned into a ghost story, and The Secrets of Life and Death. When I entered the first Mslexia novel writing competition I was thrilled to be placed as one of two runners up. An agent took me on and found the books a publisher. I hope you enjoy reading them because I loved writing them.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Children's Series When I Grow Up I Want To be - Excellent!

Please note that this book is published by WIGU and has been professionally researched and completed. It is the finest children's picture book that I have seen and clearly is meant to be an ongoing series that will allow children to consider what they might want to be when they grow up! Do share the link with your children so they can get more involved in the events scheduled there...  This series should be in every school library across the nation, in my opinion...

The latest published is 

When I Grow Up I want to be...A Nurse!

And the Story is Entitled

Amber's Accidental Journey

First an overview...The book provides first and foremost a story about a child, who is placed into a setting where she or he can find out about a professional(s) working in a particular field, in this case, the medical field of nursing... The first page includes the "International Pledge for Nurses. And, then, as the story is told, a bit of history or educational notes are included for background and as an additional learning experience. This book is then dedicated to all nurses and includes the latest picture of Florence Nightingale, known as "The Lady of the Lamp," is a symbol of nursing worldwide.
 Before we go into the story, I'll mention the next learning insert, which by the way, is set up totally different from the storybook and has professional photographic pictures rather than the artwork normally found in a storybook... 

What is a Nurse? A nurse is someone who takes care of others. It takes a special kind of person to become a nurse. We often think of nurses working with doctors to help treat sick people, or patients. However, nurses may also do work independently of doctors. like your school nurse does. There are different nurses for different kinds of jobs. Nurses can perform basic physical exams, give medicine, and perform wound care. Nurses may also conduct research and help educate people about good health habits.

Amber is a young girl that is hesitant to try new things...Her friends wanted her to join the soccer team,
But soccer is hot and sweaty. If
you're not running like crazy,
you're standing around with tons
of parents screaming and playing
coach from the sidelines. Some
kids even get hurt
, she thought.
And practice is sooooo boring.
but she really didn't want to--she was happy to just watch them. Her best friend was already playing and had asked that she join them... But then her mother talked to her a little, explaining that since they wanted her to play that maybe she should do it for them...
You can probably guess that she did it, claiming she wouldn't like it, and then, as she learned how, she began to like it after all! Until that fatal game...

They were both watching the ball and slammed into each other! Sofia got a bloody nose but Amber's arm had been hurt...Both were immediately taken to the school nurse, Mrs. Ellis who were quickly started talking to them, trying to make them feel comfortable with her. But she explained to Amber that she thought she would have to go to the hospital emergency room, in case she had a fracture...
"Are you really a nurse?
I thought all nurses were
girls. I'm sorry if that
sounds wrong."
Amber was afraid... She was afraid of hospitals, and everything about them! She was afraid of meeting the people and maybe having to stay overnight! Amber begged her mother not to leave her when they got there...and promptly received her assurances. But when they reached the ER, Amber was very surprised because there was a man to help her as her nurse! His name was George Fox and he quickly explained that the school nurse had already called and he began to check the splint that was on her arm. But when Amber started asking questions about his being a nurse, he started telling her about his work... He was so nice and even started asking her about playing soccer and how the accident happened...
Well, Amber's arm turned out to be broken and a cast put on, so there were weeks of wearing that while her arm healed. But after it was all over and she was able to look back on everything, she realized how impressed she was with all the people who had cared for her...

The book is over 50 pages and includes several neat photo/art work arrangements where the story characters were set against the photo background of the hospital. I was impressed with the quality of the entire book!
Now we know that children may change their minds a number of times before they actually choose what they want to be...but this book provided a comprehensive look at the nursing profession, while at the same time, telling an enticing age-appropriate story that is guaranteed to pull interested children in to the action of Amber's story of her accidental journey... What do you think? Will Amber become a nurse?  Or maybe a professional soccer player?! LOL!
Highly recommended!


Wigu Publishing is a collaboration of talented and creative individuals working together to publish informative and fun books for our children. Our titles serve to introduce children to the people in their communities who serve others through their vocations. Wigu Books are unique in that they help our children to visualize the abundant opportunities that exist for them to be successful and to make a difference. Our goal is to inspire the great leaders and thinkers of tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Suffer by E. E. Borton Just Up on Adult Blog!

Kate Freeman opened the front door of her vacation villa to a wolf in sheep’s clothing. A few moments later, fifty thousand paralyzing volts shot through her body. Her world went dark; and when she awoke, her family was torn apart forever.

After months of agonizing physical therapy to heal the vicious wounds to her body, the Kate who emerged was no longer the loving mother, sister, and friend from before. The Kate who survived was something much different. Something much darker.

Without hesitation or remorse, she will hunt down the men who destroyed her life, even if it means sacrificing her last shreds of humanity. She will make them suffer.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Reece Hirsch Presents Intrusion - Based on Similar Facts But With A Twist!

Finally, Teal entered the conference room and closed the doors behind him. "I've been waiting to brief you all together. Since we've made preemptive offers of employment to everyone, with the exception of our lawyer, you understand already that this is a serious event. We've experienced an intrusion. One so massive that it potentially jeopardizes the entire company."
"Someone has stolen the algorithms. Clearly," Timoshev said.
Teal held up a hand. "Please, save your questions and comments for the end. But yes, it's the algorithms. They've been compromised."
Zapper's status as one of the most successful companies on the planet was based in large part on the proprietary algorighms, a complex skein of mathematical instructions that enabled Zapper to cull the Internet's vast sea of data and produce results that were more accurate than any other search engine's. In fact, they were so far ahead of the marketplace that their company name had become synonymous with Internet searches. [Please note it was my own choice to use Google sample to illustrate...]
Since taking over as head of the lab, Zoeyhad given it her own personal touch. The windowless room was ringed with computer monitors, and an image bounded from screen to screen as if it were circling the room. It was a photo of the Clash's Joe Strummer with the caption in bold red type, "I fought the
Law--and the Law Won." Zoey wore an antistatic band secured by Velcro around her wrist with a wire that ran to a grounding point under the desk. Statis was the enemy in a computer forensic lab, as it could instantly destroy valuable evidence...

By Reece Hirsh

A major U.S. company has been hacked--their intellectual property has been stolen. Chris Bruen, the counsel for the company has been called at 3 a.m. to report immediately. But before long, he realizes that he was among the last to be called in...Chris was a partner for Reynolds, Fincher & McComb, a San Francisco law firm and he was presently involved with Zoey, the director of the computer forensics lab there. These two are the main characters for, you see, there is very little actual computer investigative activities going on in the book, although I am sure there was much being done at Zapper to quickly respond to being hacked.

Internet Penetration Rates in East Asian
 and Chinese Regions 1995-2012
"Before we hit a dead-end IP address, we were able to trace the activity to a district of Shanghai."
"Hacked by Chinese," said SoNar, who looked freshly arrived from the Old testament--or a Phish concert. He was tall, thin, and hirsute, with a neatly trimmed beard, moustache, and shoulder-length brown hair.
"Yes, "I'm afraid so," Teal said.
"How'd they gain access?" Reeves asked.
"It appears to have been a fairly straightforward phishing exploit..."
"Do you think it's government backed, or are we talking private actors?" Chris asked.
It had been openly speculated for years that the People's Republic of China was either sponsoring or tacitly abetting a systematic series of hacking attacks focused on the theft of intellectual property and trade secrets from major US corporations. The Chinese government was believed to be involved because the attacks were so sophisticated and it was hard to imagine such a massive and coordinated offensive occurring without the state's knowledge or cooperation, particularly in a country as tightly controlled as China... The attacks seemed to be a natural extension of China's drive to become an economic superpower. It had the burgeoning population and the natural resources--all it lacked were the cutting-edge inventions that US entrepreneurs seemed to produce so effortlessly.

Chris inventories some of the things that he
had learned about Zoey since they had
begun seeing each other. Although this
should have been blindingly obvious, she
was not Tana. Unlike the calm, sunny Tana,
Zoey was a bit of a cynic, at least outwardly.
Zoes was messy, where Tana had been
meticulous. Sometimes Zoey stayed up all
night drinking coffee and chatting online
with her hacker friends. She said the late-
night sessions were research for work, but
Chris worried that she might still be engaging
in hacktivism or, worse still, some hack that
might cross over into illegality. In short,
living with Zoey was in no way a return to
the old patterns of his life with Tana. A
new blueprint was required.
After the meeting, Chris forced himself into the office of the head of the corporation and requested he be authorized to go to China and discover what he could to prove what had happened.

He was successful, but was forced to shoot his way out, two of which were the hackers who had actually done the job, and for whom he regretted killing...

Once back, with documentation, he turned everything over to Zapper, but soon learned that he was being followed and both he and Zoey became targets...

Instead of the thriller which many might have expected, I found myself, instead, in what I would more consider a romantic suspense as Chris and Zoey are forced to deal with a very personal aftermath to the trip to China.

And a very intriguing twist...

Perhaps because of the author's own legal credentials, I was also surprised that this novel is very limited in political issues. Still I thoroughly enjoyed Chris and Zoey in their blossoming relationship, each attempting to figure out exactly what they might be getting into if they got serious...

I also  enjoyed Chris' time in Shanghai

The plane's wing dipped as it circled for landing
and he was able to get a look at Shanghai spread
out before the delta of the Yangtze River...
Observing the city endlessly sprawling beneath
him, he had a visceral recognition of the scale of
modern China. He knew that Shanghai was the
world's largest city proper by population, but 
seeing it from this vantage point was another
thing...                                      ~~~

Chris had been involved in other business in the country so was planning on making a visit to a corporation with whom he'd previously worked. Still, Chris was fairly certain that he had been observed and his actions were being watched... So that he barely got out of the country!

Tao Zhang, with a code name, Red Sun, used on the Dark Net, had been the hit man hired. Zhang had first become involved in his profession because his brother was serving a jail sentence for another man...Apparently it was common practice for the rich to hire somebody to live in prison for the real criminal. At first it was all quite altruistic, for he had been promised help in getting his brother out of prison earlier. But Tao had begun to enjoy the work, even daydreaming about the various ways he might "kill" his target...

So while Zapper was confirming everything that pointed back to China, Tao was tracking and dreaming of how Chris Bruen was going to die...


Response to Question on Writing this Book: Like my previous books, INTRUSION draws inspiration from real events. I was fascinated by the widely reported 2009 hack of Google, which was attributed to hackers based in China that were suspected to be affiliated with the People's Liberation Army. I wondered how even a powerful company could defend itself against a sophisticated, state-sponsored assault. I figured that's where an attorney like my character Chris Bruen would be brought in. In INTRUSION, Chris's client sends him to China to attempt to find evidence establishing who was behind a hack and theft of intellectual property. As you might expect, things go horribly, horribly wrong. The investigation of the hack in Chapter 3 of INTRUSION closely parallels a 2013 report released by Mandiant Security Consulting (now part of FireEye, Inc.) that presented evidence linking a series of hacks based in China to the People's Liberation Army and a particular building in Shanghai. General Keith Alexander, then head of the NSA, called this wave of hacks targeting US corporations "the greatest transfer of wealth in history."

Reece Hirsch's first book, THE INSIDER, was a finalist for the 2011 International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel. Like THE ADVERSARY, that book draws upon his experiences as an attorney--although his legal work is a lot less exciting and hazardous than that of his character Chris Bruen. Reece is a partner in the San Francisco office of an international law firm, specializing in privacy and data security law. He is also a member of the board of directors of 826 National ( and the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation (
Reece has been listed in Chambers USA: America's Best Lawyers for Business from 2005-2013. He earned his law degree from the University of Southern California and a B.S. degree in journalism from Northwestern University. Prior to law school, Reece worked as a journalist in Atlanta for several years, including a stint as an assistant editor of a business magazine. He also edited and published an arts and entertainment magazine in Atlanta.
Reece is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and the International Association of Thriller Writers, and has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Northern California chapter of MWA. His author website is www.reeceh

Friday, February 20, 2015

Rahab's Sister - by Guy Graybill - Now up on Adult Blog...

Rahab's Sisters

The Biblical accounts tell us that Rahab, a harlot of Jericho, hid and protected two Israelite spies in order to save her family from the coming destruction of the town. The names of the two spies went unrecorded; but, after about 3,300 years, Rahab's name lingers. Rahab is, then, one of the world's oldest, named prostitutes. Today, more than three millennia later, prostitution thrives. It remains a money-driven, exploitative, disease-spreading form of degradation and servitude, catering ever to lust; never to love.

Please click the title above for 88-stanza poem and commentary...

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Heading to Egypt with Anthony Ant - Wanna Come Along?!

Anthony Ant is back at Book Readers Heaven, just to pick me up and head to Egypt--I have allllllllways wanted to visit there! You might remember that we visited France on his last trip. If you didn't know that, do check out what happened!

Anthony Ant Goes to Egypt

By Julie Bettendorf

Fortunately, Anthony and I both wanted most to see the pyramids and the Sphinx... In fact, here's a picture as he and his new friend, Babu Beetle, traveled there!

Near the pyramids is a famous sculpture called the Sphinx,
Built over four thousand years ago, everyone thinks.
With the body of a lion and the head of a man,
Over two hundred feet long--imagine that, if you can.

Now I rode my own camel, just like the author in her pic below...Cool right! 
So, while I was there, 
I wanted to get at least two vids to share
We would make a great pair!
Ok, I just had to get in on the rhyming like Julie--quite fair!
Because, you see, her entire book about the trip is written in rhyme, also Cool!

I did get the author to admit, also, that Anthony travels in her suitcase, one she doesn't pack so tightly, but then he readily shares how he loves to travel...

Hi! My name is Anthony Any, and I love to go places.
When I travel, I can fit into some pretty small spaces.
Once I curled up in a suitcase, snug as could be.
When I came out, I was in Egypt--Whoopee!

Anthony is quite adventurous, but likes to travel with a friend, so when he went in to a cafe for some pita bread, he went right up to Babu Beetle and told her he was having fun and invited her to join him! Boy, I wish I could meet new friends as easily as Anthony Ant does! Do you?

While Anthony and Babu were enjoying the pita bread, I did too... I especially liked the sandwich and another dish or two...

Next they decided to go to the Museum...

So Babu and I sat down for some tea.
I asked my new friend, "Now what shall we see?
He said, "The museum is where we really should go.
I can tell you on ancient times, all that I know."


Have you heard of this great ruler of Egypt?

As before, and as you can see from the front cover, the book is done in beautiful bright colors that are sure to attract your child's attention. And, with this being a series, Anthony Ant will soon become a friend that will be welcomed and enjoyed... There's over 30 pages each filled with images from Egypt and a short rhyming poem of what is happening... And, don't forget, it's ok to enjoy the book along with your children! I certainly did! Highly recommended.


Julie Bettendorf is a world traveler with a background in history and a degree in archaeology. Through her series of children's travel books, she shares the wonderful world of travel with children and her parents, as Anthony Ant teaches kids about other cultures, customs, and traditions. She has currently published the second book in the Anthony Ant series, and is in the process of publishing her first work of adult historical fiction, entitled "Luxor: Book of Past Lives." When Julie is not traveling with her daughter Erin, and son Max, she lives in Portland, Oregon.
Please visit Anthony's website for more information about Anthony's books.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Merlin Sherlock Visiting Today...Sharing Humor, Wizardry, and a Bit of Mystery...

She rightly points out that I have referred
to her several times, as such she must be a
part of the context as well, yet I have left
her a disembodied voice, a name, a
suggestion here and there but no person
upon whom my poor abused reader can
latch any concrete image. I doubt any
sensitive reader would find my delicate
style one to leave the imagination
impoverished nor abused in but this one
sense, but I will graciously accept her
proposal if not her words and take a
moment to describe my imperative

They call me Merlin Sherlock not because that's my name and not because I'm particularly good at being a detective. And certainly not because I saw them coming. They take you at age thirteen without any choice or foreknowledge on your part. One day you are drowsing in your father's study over a tome of fairy tales with no idea that they are all true. Not literally. Literarily, perhaps. All kernels of truth coated over with fancy.
Then they take you for thirteen times thirteen years during which you only age thirteen which, if you have followed the math, you understand I am one hundred eighty two years old, can pass for twenty-six but according to Melda have all the social sophistication of a retrogressed twelve...
Melda suggests I describe her as a
twenty-six year old Wanda Sykes with distinctively stiff and red hair as this will call up for many people a useful if not perfect image. I do not know Miss Sykes and am quite certain that as such the image will not work for my intended audience. She will distract me and has several times from the purpose of this exposition which is, in short, to beseech my fellow wizards to refrain from the scurrilous sobriquet of Merlin the Sherlock...

They Call Me Merlin Sherlock

By Carl Stevens

From hence, ye Wizards, undeceiv'd,
Know one false word is ne'er retriev'd
And he with caution bold.
Not all that peeves your mocking eyes
And heedless hearts is sad misprize,
Nor all that glisters gold.

Be prepared...if you see a chauffeured-driven can pulling up outside your
home, you just may want to consider whether you want to hide...or possibly enter into the past where you may never escape...

"You've got to be kidding me."
Seriously, if you're a fanatic mystery fan, do realize that this book is more humorous, especially at the beginning, and in a very droll manner.  There is one save to we Americans--a lady who purports to look like Wanda Sykes, is from America, and certainly plays a major role in balancing out the confusion in English--historical UK English versus American English, that is-- and, to my American ear, even spoke, although I was reading, as if I was listening to Styles. How extraordinary, don't you think?

Now I enjoy the straight-faced humor of Sykes and her very pointed backlashes to questions, so do prepare to follow her lead in "understanding." LOL... 

Now that is not much of an introduction I will grant you, but as those were the very words with which she entered my life I record them as is.
"Madam, not being the offspring of a goat, I do not kid at all. Whom, might I enquire, are you to come knocking at my door at this unseemly hour?"

"Imelda Jones and it's half past nine."
"Is there a younga Jones as well? And please do not cloud the issue with chronometrical machinations. I am having breakfast therefore it is breakfast time. Since you are here, do come in and join me for a cuppa as some would have it."
"Well, thank you, I would be glad to have it as well though I am here about your ad in the paper."
"As, as provider or seeker?"
"Excuse me?"
"Of employment. I have had two notices in The Times lately. One seeking clients and one seeking an assistant in my business with the clients."
"The latter. Assistant. Employment. Do you actually live in this exhibition hall?"

OK, now stay with me... Consider the hand-drawn cover, albeit entirely representative of the contents...(By the way, have you noticed I'm starting to use words I don't usually use? And, also, please realize that if I've included words that might have never been accepted into the dictionary, but used in the book...well, they are apparently part of the mystical Victorian age and have since past out of style except for our Merlin Sherlock...)

Plus the exchange between him and Imelda...

Well, one begins to wonder, you see...

Say, for instance, Imelda's question about where he lived. It was, of course, a perfectly good question given that she would be working there...

Well, I'll just add the name of this domicile...
Wilberforce Keep and Village of Ceremonial Alfrodshire Outlet Mall Emporium and Historic Refuge...(Maybe something like I've envisioned - so you can understand Melda asking, now can't you?)

Second Baronet Richard Grand
In any event, finally they did get a request for assistance for a client...

"Mister Barlow, jolly good of you to come on such short notice. Do forgive that, exigencies of the time, donchya know? Care for tea, brandy, a crumpet?
..."Sir Richard to be perfectly correct. We stout and proper Englishmen must have our traditions, hey? But to business. You must forgive me. Normally I would give you the complete Baronetcy social ditering treatment and it would be a full hour before I brought up the other B word, but as I said, exigencies of the time. So direct to business...we must have a bit of privacy in this first meeting, I think."
"Certainly, Sir Richard, and you will find the Thaddeus Barlow Detective Agency is nothing if not discreet. Could you describe the item, Sir Richard?"
Patrick Henry in his shop...
"Now that sounds a bit chaotic but the fact
that it got into a collector's hands so quickly
meant that the provenance was as tickety-boo
as you might like because he insisted on a
letter of authenticity..."
(which was stolen along with the teapot!)
"With pleasure, or perhaps I should say distress. Well, here it is. It is one of the six drum-form teapots known by Paul Revere, the very same Paul Revere Known for working in silver and riding about in the night shouting about redcoats. Five years before that escapade he made this teapot for Massachusetts governor Hutchinson as a present to His Royal Majesty King George the Third. At the time it was a token of colonial loyalty to the kind...The silver itself may be worth less than one thousands pounds. The workmanship may bring it up to a full thousand. The provenance, the history, is worth half a million."

And so it was that The Thaddeus Barlow Detective Agency was commissioned to conduct an investigation, and hopefully, recovery, of a Paul Revere Teapot worth half a million dollars based on its provenance.

And, as they say, The Game is Afoot! Which may or may not have actually been said by Sherlock Holmes...Lol

Now I have to say an old story, A Christmas Story" came to mind as I was reading this book. Not because it is anything like that story, but because of my personal feelings about it... I seem to be the only one in my family who never made it through the entire movie, while the rest diligently watch it each year... Sooo, what I'm saying is that I am aware that I lack a sense of humor in many things. So I hope this review provides sufficient information upon which you can consider your own personal tastes and decide whether you would enjoy a whole lot of Sherlockian, mystical humor at the same time you're solving a mystery. Once you are around Chapter 4, the routine investigation becomes much more familiar and I began to enjoy that, especially with the exchange between Thaddeus and Melda as they became more familiar in their working relationship. The book does indeed have merit for its type, so do check it out further and read other reviews.

The particular family dynamic, which I won't go into, was sufficiently bizarre to add to the attraction of the story--while at the same time, I found it a fairly easy mystery to solve...As to whether I think Thaddeus should be given the nickname of Merlin Sherlock, I agree with him..."the puerile mocking moniker of Merlin Sherlock" just does not work... In fact, I'm not too sure about the mystic part either, LOL...


Jack London lamented that he had spent his life as a working class intellectual rubbing shoulders with the underprivileged on tramp steamers, in gold mining camps, on wharves and in warehouses while reading extensively and writing books of serious social and philosophical merit only to be renowned for writing about dogs. It irked him yet inspired me decades later. Eighteen-wheelers, psych wards, factory floors and the halls of academia and corporate America may not be perfect matches to London’s, but they have all been part of my own working class adventures. I have lived in numerous careers the fiction that each was intrinsically important while in fact each was merely research for the role of Carl Stevens, Writer. Professor-in-training (in three fields so far, philosophy, history and psychology), nurse in a psychiatric facility, long-haul truck driver, security guard, waiter, bartender, clerical worker, manual laborer, engineer - they were all facades I presented while my true life’s work went on behind the scenes, reading and writing and incorporating life experience with the scholarly to create the self-identity that is now creating novels. Four novels speak for the success of this creative self-identity. If a hundred years from now people neglect the layers of substance and only laugh along with my exciting tales of adventure and if I am still alive, then I will be proud to have failed like Jack.