Series: The Curious Affair of
Published by Hydra on November 28, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Mystery & Detective, Occult & Supernatural
Sexual Content: N/A
Reviewed by: Kristina
“Witch!” cries the young man after stumbling unexpectedly into the London address of the consulting-detective partnership of Mr. Jasper Jesperson and Miss Lane. He makes the startling accusation while pointing toward Miss Lane . . . then he drops dead. Thus begins the strangest case yet to land—quite literally—on the doorstep of Jesperson and Lane.
According to the coroner, Charles Manning died of a heart attack—despite being in perfect health. Could he have been struck down by a witch’s spell? The late Mr. Manning’s address book leads Jesperson and Lane to the shrieking pits of Aylmerton, an ancient archaeological site reputed to be haunted by a vengeful ghost. There they sift through the local characters, each more suspicious than the last: Manning’s associate, Felix Ott, an English folklore enthusiast; Reverend Ringer, a fierce opponent of superstition; and the Bulstrode sisters, a trio of beauties with a reputation for witchcraft.
But when an innocent child goes missing, suddenly Jesperson and Lane aren’t merely trying to solve one murder—they’re racing to prevent another.
THE CURIOUS AFFAIR OF THE WITCH AT WAYSIDE CROSS captures the Victorian interest in the supernatural elements really well with the plot revolving around a mysterious society and talk of otherworldly characters. The plot felt very much like a Sherlock Holmes story with Lane and Jesperson playing the Holmes and Watson parts respectively. I didn't really connect with Lane and Jesperson though as they felt a bit flat. In spite of that flatness, I was still able to enjoy the mystery plot as our two main characters trek around England solving their murder case.
The story has a fantastical element to it that was kind of incidental and I kept trying to feel the otherworldly-ness of the book that I think I was supposed to feel. I loved the primary mystery as it felt very Holmes-like with twists and turns and the classic "get all of the suspects in a room and reveal their motivations one by one" moment. There's a hint of a supernatural element but it's resolved and has a real world and somewhat complex resolution. When we finally get something hinting at being really supernatural in the secondary mystery, I was waiting for a logical explanation from one of the detectives. What we were presented with was underwhelming to the point that I thought there had to be a real world explanation to it. I would have liked them to focus on one of the mysteries (the first one!) as the second mystery felt tacked on with a too abrupt conclusion.
While I had my issues with some elements of THE CURIOUS AFFAIR OF THE WITCH AT WAYSIDE CROSS, I enjoyed the solid mystery plot and the Sherlock Holmes-like feel to the book as a whole.Series Titles:
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