Cassie gets wakened in the middle of the night by a phone call from her detective friend Violet, who tells her to come look at the liver of a dead man right away in
Bombing in Belgravia by Samantha Silver. Cassie wants to return to sleep and go in the morning, but Violet keeps ringing Cassie until the American woman agrees to drag herself out of bed and go to see Violet. As a surgeon who lost her career when she was injured in a car accident, Cassie has become Violet’s medical advisor and Watson in this pastiche of the Sherlock Holmes books that never actually references Holmes. When Cassie arrives at the address, she finds a home that has been blown up in a gas explosion, killing two, a brother and sister. Violet takes Cassie to the body of a woman and asks whether she was killed in the explosion or died before the event. Noticing the scent of garlic, the pair of women deduce the presence of arsenic and realize that the woman was dead prior to the explosion. When the police realize that the victims are the daughter and son of the British ambassador to Taiwan, the case becomes even more important, bringing in MI-5, the internal security services. They pay Violet a visit, ordering her under the threat of arrest to keep away from from the case.
With this book’s being a mere four hours long, it can’t reach the depth of longer books, yet it still manages to include real substance, something that really impresses me. Most second books in a series spend a lot of time catching the readers up on what they might have missed in the first book, but Silver manages to give the barest information necessary without losing the new readers. In doing so, she successfully keeps returning readers from getting bored, a balancing trick not many authors perform as effectively as Silver does. The mystery plot kept me eagerly listening to every detail, yet surprised me quite a bit as to the solution of the murder mystery. I really did not want the book to end so quickly!
In addition, I really appreciated the characters, who made me smile in their details. Written creatively, each character seems realistic, even the eccentric and rather strange Violet.
I was highly impressed by the audiobook performance of Patricia Santomasso. She did a lot to bring the book to life, with creative inflections, believable voices for the characters, and well- performed accents of British, French, and Scottish as well as the American narrator. Santomasso clearly makes the book a lot of fun to listen to.
Bombing in Belgravia is an admirable sequel to Poison in Paddington, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I am impressed by the quality of writing, the unique murder plot, which took us in many different directions, and the characters that truly made me appreciate them. I give this book five stars.
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