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The Affair of the Mysterious Letter (edició 2019)

de Alexis Hall (Autor)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
2301191,679 (4.01)9
Es mostren totes 11
Before this, I knew Alexis Hall as a writer of 'kissing books,' like the wonderful Boyfriend Material and Glitterland. This is entirely different, a weird and fantastical homage to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. John Wyndham is the Watson in the story but here he is a shy gay trans man, who is writing his memoirs in serial form twenty years after the events. Shaharazad Haas, the Sherlock Holmes of the book, is a pansexual sorceress who is currently investigating the blackmail of a former lover. This all takes place in a complex fantasy land that includes undersea cities, dream off-worlds, and vampires on an Orient Express-type train.
Hall is a terrific writer and is able to mimic the style of Doyle without losing the freshness of his own style. The descriptions are lush and imaginative. Though I must admit I love Wyndham's primness, each character is distinctive and fun. I generally read very quickly, but here I took my time and savored each chapter. I hope the series continues because it sounds as if Captain Wyndham has a lot more adventures to relate. ( )
1 vota N.W.Moors | Apr 30, 2021 |
This was a fun riff on ACD, but had a couple of significant flaws that became more prominent as the book went on -- the narrator's prissy voice got kind of tedious by the end, and there's no supporting cast to speak of despite a couple of promising scenes. The setting is very cool, not sure it was used effectively.

I guessed whodunit immediately (although not how and why). ( )
  RJ_Stevenson | Aug 19, 2020 |
So, I have mentioned how well Hall's romances work for me. How brilliant I think he is. Creative....

And now that's painfully obvious with the release of this full-fledged fantasy retelling. Most astounding though, is I've read three thoroughly different styles from Hall-and with the exception of pieces of this feeling slightly repetitive, probably with good reason and not that I minded. Because...

I've mentioned how well Boulton works for me as a narrator (though in this he isn't adopting his usual voice 90% of the time, which was a good choice for Wyndham's character).

This book put them together. So um-was there any doubt?

It's zany and fun and really really delightful. It spans monsters and sexuality and verses.....It's a huge ball of imagination wrapped in a tiny little book and PLEASE tell me there will be more.

Also, might be my favorite introduction scene for two characters. ( )
  samnreader | Jun 27, 2020 |
The worldbuilding was exceedingly clever, but I wasn't able to finish, because the book lacks a crucial element of a Sherlock Holmes pastiche: strong interpretations of the characters. The Watson equivalent character was much too stuffy and straight-laced, and the Holmes equivalent was murdering and seducing people left and right. Those are not the Holmes and Watson I know and love.
  dreamweaversunited | Jun 5, 2020 |
Oh gods

More, please.

At one point during reading, my mind had the thought — all due respect, they’re two very different series — “this is all I wanted the Parasol Protectorate to be, when it wasn’t.” ( )
  millenomi | May 26, 2020 |
John Wyndham, a trans man recently returned from a mystic war that left him with a migrating wound, lodges with the sorceress Shaharazad Haas at 221B Martyr Street, and accompanies her on her adventures. When an old flame gets Haas to investigate a blackmail attempt designed to end her impending marriage to a respectable woman, the suspects include underwater denizens, vampires, and a functionary in the revolutionary regime that overthrew the Yellow King in Carcosa. A bit of Cthulhu, a bit of fairy tales, and a lot of quasi-Victorian disapproval of Haas’s salty language. Wyndham himself is a refugee from the deeply anti-theocratic regime that he fled after the revolution against its corrupt theocratic predecessor, and deeply prudish despite his awareness of the charms of young men. (Nobody is homophobic; he’s just been raised not to approve of sex outside marriage.) The background politics alone are a kick, is what I’m saying. ( )
  rivkat | Oct 29, 2019 |
This book tickled my funny bone far too often. Written in a tongue-in-cheek quasi-Victorian style, it is a Sherlock Holmes pastiche of a sort. Dr. John Wyndham is the narrator, the "Watson" of the story. He is sweet and bumbling and kind and quite proper. Our "Holmes" is Shaharazad Haas, a sorceress who is more than a bit plain spoken (the good doctor must frequently use euphemisms to remain socially acceptable), pays no attention to the social mores, and is easily bored. Much like Holmes, I believe she comes to care somewhat for her chronicler and tenant.

The author tosses us into the deep end of the pool with numerous references to other worlds -- many of which I definitely recognized as published Lovecraft, fantasy, or science fiction. The mystery is a good one: who is trying to break off the engagement of Miss Eirene Viola (one of Haas's former lovers) and her fishmonger fiancée? The quest sends them on different adventures (under the sea in a drowned city, Carcosa, sky pirates, vampires, sharks, and Elder Gods, to name a few).

If you are a Holmes purist, this may not be to your liking. But if you are flexible about your Holmesian fiction, this could be right up your alley. I definitely would read a sequel. ( )
  Jean_Sexton | Jul 18, 2019 |
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from NetGalley and Ace Books in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

From what I can see of his previous works, The Affair of the Mysterious Letter is a little out of his normal wheelhouse. A lot of what Alexis Hall writes tends to be paranormal romance, which is one of my least favorites genres. Had I known that, I probably would not have requested this one… but! The Affair of the Mysterious Letter is NOT a paranormal romance! This book is a fantasy retelling a la Sherlock Holmes and that is why I requested it and that is certainly what I got.

The writing style in this novel is an absolutely delight, but it has its drawbacks. It’s a sort of tongue-in-cheek style. While I haven’t read anything by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I do imagine John Watson’s voice being quick similar to Hall’s Mr. Wyndham’s. It’s a quirky, funny sort of voice that makes me chuckle and is right up my alley. Unfortunately, since we’re also being introduced to a vast, confusion, and complicated fantasy world at the same time, the voice was a little too editorialized for me to keep track of everything.

Pacing could have something to do with that as well. This book moves quickly! Aside from the times where Wyndham is talking about propriety or fashion, we’re moving at Shaharazad Haas’ pace, and the sorceress moves fast. Even after having read and digested the book, I confess, I’m still at a bit of a loss as to what happens in places. I had to go back and read the end because there was so much jumping about in the last few chapters that I nearly missed the grand reveal. It’s a cleverly written book with a lot of interesting bits, but it’s a lot. It’s just… a lot.

I wish I could talk a little more in depth about the world building, but The Affair of the Mysterious Letter is such a rollercoaster of a novel that I think I’m a bit dazed. It’s a complicated multiverse, and it becomes clear early on that all the rules will not be explained to the reader simply because Ms. Haas has no desire to pass them on to Mr. Wyndham. This is one of those world building things where I as the reader needed to decide if I was just going to jump on board for the ride and accept everything, or if I was out because the world was “because I said so”.

I was in, though, dear readers.

The voice of this novel amused me enough to carry on even when many things seemed positively pointless.

I think it’s Shaharazad’s character that takes the cake. Mr. Wyndham is an upright citizen as much as his co-inhabitant allows, but I thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Haas’ attitude of giving zero f***s and the constant implied eyeroll. Especially in this sort of half-Victorian lady, half-evil sorceress character. Shaharazad Haas was a downright funny character. She pulled the whole thing together and made it all worthwhile, she really did.

So.

At the end of the day, do I recommend this book? The simplest answer is, “I’m not sure”. I’ve got to be honest, it was a bit like riding a T-Rex through Manhattan. It was a mess. But it was also hilariously funny. I think this is the right sort of book for the right sort of person. If you’re not sure if you qualify in this way, I’d suggest pursuing other reviews and weighing your options. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to someone whose personality seems to line right up to this type of storytelling. But it’s not a book I’m going to add to my library. It is, however, a character I’d like to see again, and should there be a sequel, I would most likely indulge. ( )
  Morteana | May 12, 2019 |
Combine Sherlock Holmes and space fantasy and time travel, and you get The Affair of the Mysterious Letter. Written in the style of Arthur Conan Doyle, narrated by the Watson-esque John Wyndham, this romp begins with Wyndham becoming the tenant of Shaharazad Haas, an arrogant sorcerer with no boundaries. The client is being blackmailed, sending the Haas and Wyndham duo to other universes and times to find the culprit. Each escapade and escape is more outrageous than the last, and clearly more installments describing these two characters are likely. The number of strong female and gender-bending characters (and pronouns) is appreciated. A listing of characters and a glossary would be helpful. Fans of Doyle's writing will love this book, while those who find it tedious will not. ( )
1 vota sleahey | Feb 20, 2019 |
Holmes and Watson, but where Sherlock is the sorceress Shaharazad Haas. The book is (of course) narrated by Ms. Haas’s housemate, the fumbling Captain John Wyndham, whose gentle sensibilities frequently require him to to censor his account. This is a queer fantasy world, with sky-pirates, vampires, underwater cities, necromancers, fishmongers, and luxury express trains. It is weird and ridiculous and I loved it. ( )
1 vota ablachly | Jan 18, 2019 |
Es mostren totes 11

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823.92 — Literature English English fiction Modern Period 21st Century

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