Review: The Affair of the Mysterious Letter

Hi folks! I am not doing a “what are you reading post” today because my weekend reading didn’t really happen and I have nothing new for you. Instead I thought I would give you a bit of a review of this very delightful book that I listened to last week.

If you’ve followed me for a while you will know that I’m am a fan of both Sherlock Holmes books and their spin offs, especially if Holmes is not male.

The Affair of the Mysterious Letter by Alexis Hall ticked all my Sherlockian retelling boxes. An irreverent, off the chain and unpredictable female Holmes? Check. Fantastical setting? Check. An uptight Watson? Check. Lots of queerness? Double check and mate.

John Wyndham has been injured in the war. The weapon that injured him has a temporal element, meaning that while he is now healed, symptoms of his injury may strike him at any time, and he may have sharp memories of the pain prior to the injury occurring. He carries a cane at all time in case the injuries affect him. He needs to find housing he can afford and finds himself living with the sorceress Shaharazard Haas. Haas is fond of mysteries and laudanum (not necessarily in that order) and Wyndham becomes very closely involved when she is engaged to investigate the blackmail of one of her former lovers.

This is an absolutely delightful romp. Haas is everything I could want in a queer Holmes and Wyndham is undone by impoliteness which makes their interactions entertaining. The world building was creative and wonderful, and I often wondered where the adventure would take the characters next as the world was a gift that kept on giving and there were surprises around every corner. Hall’s writing was also wonderful, with many elegant turns of phrase, which I frankly enjoyed the crap out of.

I enjoyed it so much that I foresee a relisten very soon. This will also tick off a box for the Swords and Stars challenge and the 20 LGBT Books in 2020 challenge.




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