Originally Posted by phenomshel
One year after Malice Domestic, at the yearly after party at Mertz Manor (Barbara's house), they decided to turn their hands (and fertile crazy brains) to country song writing. That song is at the front of NTTM. It also shows up in each of the other authors published works that year. In some it plays only a cameo role - being heard on the radio or stuck in a character's head, and in some it's a major player.
That sounds like a fun in-joke. I already like McCrumb and Peters' writing; I may have to give Hess and Cannell a try.
Thanks for taking the time to let me know about this.
Finished The Deeds of the Disturber
by Elizabeth Peters
, which for a change, sets the Egypt-related mystery at home in Britain.
I mildly liked this one, mainly due to the novelty of the locale and the presence of a hopefully recurring character from a previous book and wonder of wonders, was not pointed out as an example of low and wicked ways because Set was a redheaded god, don'tchaknow.
There was also some sort of subplot involving the Peabody-Emersons taking in Amelia's brother's kids, who were smarmy pestilential annoyances apparently designed to make their own kid look better by comparison.
This may have worked on Amelia, but really didn't do anything for me. But then I belong to the cynical school of thought which says "just because it could be demonstrably worse, does not automatically invalidate its being bad enough already".
Honestly, instead of nicknaming the kid after an ancient Egyptian Pharoah, they should have nicknamed him after an ancient Greek stage device because this is what, the third book running in which the deus ex machina
saves the day? Can't his parents get out of their own scrapes under their own power any more?
Ah well, at least the whodunnit was fairly good and there were redheads, even if I think the matchmaking in this case would have ended in utter disaster since she had a crush on someone else and really shouldn't be encouraged to settle on someone rather different even if he did maybe save her life. That's really not a good basis for anything beyond a few kisses of gratitude when they've been squabbling rivals who looked down on each other previously.
This brought me to a gap in the Peabody series, as I have them now up to around #10, minus the two immediate following TDOTD, which I will be picking up from the not-so-local library later today.
I went and filled that gap with Gail Carriger
's alternate-Victorian mildly steampunky paranormal investigative semi-satire Soulless
, 1st in "The Paranormal Protectorate" or "Alexia Tarabotti" series, depending on whether you look at the front cover or the spine labels.
I rather enjoyed this one, not the least because I like semi-satirical AU sleuth stuff. This one had a touch of romance, but since the rest of the novels feature the same heroine, I'm guessing they move towards the action/adventure spectrum after that.
Basic premise: Alexia Tarabotti (and I have to suppress a snicker whenever I see a print novel in which someone has named a character for the medical condition indicating the "inability to read") is a "preternatural", born "soulless" an thus able to neutralize the abilities of supernatural creatures such as vampires and werewolves with a touch.
Said vampires and werewolves are well integrated into Victorian society, with the BUR being the alphabet agency which keeps them in line. Contrary to this mandate, werewolves are mysteriously disapppearing and new unattached vampires are mysteriously appearing, and this will not do.
Since Alexia has gotten involved by accident, naturally she must get further involved, over the objections of Lord Maccon, who'd rather not have civilians muddling things up, especially civilians who'd previously subjected him to the Unfortunate Hedgehog Incident.
While there are a few things that could be improved (you'd think that Victorian society would be marginally more inclusive of capable women after having made way for vampires and werewolves), this was overall a fun romp with some nifty spoofing of old-fashioned conventions*.
Moderate high recommend. It helps if you like Victorian social satire to begin with and are willing to put up with the inherent silliness involved in the original social conventions. But the actual whatdunnit is fairly decent (although mildly telegraphed, since this is a paranormal investigation case rather than a full-on sleuth mystery) and the world-building is mildly interesting, with some thought given as to how the integrated social structures would actually work. And it was a fairly fun read.
Now going to go through my unread previous FW purchases, to determine which ones are worthy of getting the authors' other works now that Fictionwise is having a 60% off coupon this weekend
* Poor Lord Maccon, looked down at for being considered uncouth and barbarous due to being (gasp!) a Scot. Oh, and he also happens to be a flesh-eating werewolf, but that's much more socially acceptable.