The Affair of the Mysterious Letter
In this charming, witty, and weird fantasy novel, Alexis Hall pays homage to Sherlock Holmes with a new twist on those renowned characters. Upon returning to the city of Khelathra-Ven after five years fighting a war in another universe, Captain John Wyndham finds himself looking for somewhere to live, and expediency forces him to take lodgings at 221b Martyrs Walk. His new housemate is Ms. Shaharazad Haas, a consulting sorceress of mercurial temperament and dark reputation.When Ms. Haas is enlisted to solve a case of blackmail against one of her former lovers, Miss Eirene Viola, Captain Wyndham finds himself drawn into a mystery that leads him from the salons of the literary set to the drowned back-alleys of Ven and even to a prison cell in lost Carcosa. Along the way he is beset by criminals, menaced by pirates, molested by vampires, almost devoured by mad gods, and called upon to punch a shark. But the further the companions go in pursuit of the elusive blackmailer, the more impossible the case appears. Then again, in Khelathra-Ven reality is flexible, and the impossible is Ms. Haas' stock-in-trade.

The Affair of the Mysterious Letter Details

TitleThe Affair of the Mysterious Letter
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 18th, 2019
PublisherAce
Rating
GenreFantasy, Mystery, Lgbt, Retellings, Fiction

The Affair of the Mysterious Letter Review

  • Emma Newman
    January 1, 1970
    I was lucky enough to get a galley from my editor and OMG I loved this book so much. It was a sheer delight to read and has dragged me out of a massive reading slump that lasted for months. Honestly, do yourself a favour and get it as soon as it comes out. It's like the joy of reading Gail Carriger's Soulless all over again, but wrapped in a gleeful love affair with Sherlock Holmes. Read it. READ. IT.
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  • Georgie-who-is-Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    I want to read this, I really do, but £10.99 is A LOT for a Kindle book.
  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    • Title: The Affair Of The Mysterious Letter • Author: Alexis Hall • Series: Stand-alone • Pages: 352 • Genre: Fantasy, Mystery, Retelling, LGBTQ • Rating Out of 5 Stars: 4My Thoughts: Picture this...Sherlock Holmes is a Sorceress. Still witty, intelligent, but with a penchant for taken complicated lovers and still has all those messy and addictive habits. Now sit that character down at a Dungeons and Dragon’s table with character’s nodding to those we’ve seen in Doyle’s works. Watson is our lo • Title: The Affair Of The Mysterious Letter • Author: Alexis Hall • Series: Stand-alone • Pages: 352 • Genre: Fantasy, Mystery, Retelling, LGBTQ • Rating Out of 5 Stars: 4My Thoughts: Picture this...Sherlock Holmes is a Sorceress. Still witty, intelligent, but with a penchant for taken complicated lovers and still has all those messy and addictive habits. Now sit that character down at a Dungeons and Dragon’s table with character’s nodding to those we’ve seen in Doyle’s works. Watson is our lovable, tolerant Dungeon Master who likes who to throw Lovecfraftian and other classic horror entities at our troop as they try to complete their quest to find out who is blackmailing Miss Eirene. That is The Affair of the Mysterious letter in a nutshell. Sounds insane right? It is, but in the best way. There is LGBTQ rep galore. The writing is quick witted, sassy and well paced. The Affair of the Mysterious Letter has some epicly weird world building. Things like gender, race, sexuality, time and reality in and of itself are pulled apart and thrust back to together in bizarre yet delightfully entertaining ways. Understand that going in and you’ll be better off for it in the long run. You get the classic who-done-it mystery but with fun fantasy twist. This is a laugh-out-loud, bizarre but oh-so-fun, quick read. I highly recommend this; especially if you like things a little oddball. *EARC kindly provided by Netgalley and Berkley Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • Em
    January 1, 1970
    IT'S UP ON NETGALLEY.
  • C. A.
    January 1, 1970
    I think I've found my favorite book of 2019 and it's not even halfway through February yet.I love Sherlock Holmes pastiches and this is certainly that in that it involves a maddeningly intelligent and occasionally infuriating protagonist and a faithful ex-military doctor who serves as assistant, sounding board, admirer and biographer who live together at 221B with their landlady and solve crimes.Except that this is the sorceress Shaharazad Haas who breaks the laws of gods and men as it suits her I think I've found my favorite book of 2019 and it's not even halfway through February yet.I love Sherlock Holmes pastiches and this is certainly that in that it involves a maddeningly intelligent and occasionally infuriating protagonist and a faithful ex-military doctor who serves as assistant, sounding board, admirer and biographer who live together at 221B with their landlady and solve crimes.Except that this is the sorceress Shaharazad Haas who breaks the laws of gods and men as it suits her and indulges in a wide variety of unspeakable indulgences, and Dr. John Wyndham, a pious soul who is helplessly caught up in Haas' schemes that take them through a whirlwind of lands, dimensions and times. (And the landlady? A cranky swarm of wasps in a re-animated cadaver that has to be replaced from time to time as bits fall off. Don't drink her tea.) This is Holmes in the land of Lovecraft, with some Dungeons and Dragons tossed in, and it's wonderfully bizarre.Eirene Viola, one of Hass' former lovers, is being blackmailed and wants Haas to find the blackmailer and stop them before Viola's fiance finds out. Haas and Wyndham face off against time-traveling merchants, underwater ruffians, flying pirates, sharks, gods, vampires, and the local constabulary in their mad-dash efforts for Wyndham to help the young lady as honor and chivalry command and for Hass to aggravate people and try not to get too bored.There is a LOT of weird world-building packed into this novel, and the only way it works at all is because it is told through Wyndham's eyes and Wyndham, much like a Dr. John Watson, writes in a charming, eyes-wide style that makes you accept what's happening because Wyndham accepts what's happening.It's fast and it's unabashedly LBGTQ-friendly. It's also funny as hell and actually made me laugh out loud on several occasions. I have only two complaints about it. One: the constant reference to future adventures got a little annoying after awhile. Two: I desperately want to read the future adventures and they're not here yet.
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  • Snooty1
    January 1, 1970
    "This cosmos which we inhabit is vast and indifferent. Every law, every teaching, and every tenet by which you might choose to live your life is a fiction that exists only so long as those around you agree upon it. In reality, you are entitled only to what you can take, duty bound to do only what you cannot avoid doing, and protected only by what power is in you to protect yourself" DAMMMMMNNNN that's good writing, and honestly a very hard statement to respond to (which in the novel is actually "This cosmos which we inhabit is vast and indifferent. Every law, every teaching, and every tenet by which you might choose to live your life is a fiction that exists only so long as those around you agree upon it. In reality, you are entitled only to what you can take, duty bound to do only what you cannot avoid doing, and protected only by what power is in you to protect yourself" DAMMMMMNNNN that's good writing, and honestly a very hard statement to respond to (which in the novel is actually followed by a rather good counterpoint!)Vastly entertaining, fantasy mystery!The stuffy and dare I say, Prudish, Mr. Wyndham and the scandalously salacious Ms. Haas are an absolutely perfectly imperfect pair. The style that the novel is told in adds so much to the world building and tone. All in all, a fun mystery with memorable characters and quite noticeably an opening for this to become a full mystery series!I received an ARC of this novel by Penguin Books in exchange for my honest review
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  • Karyn Silverman
    January 1, 1970
    What a strange, delightful remix of the Holmes cannon with a little of everything (I definitely spotted a bit of Cthulhu in the various deities (sometimes in form, sometimes in spirit), some Treasure Island, and many other references). The prose is prissy and touchy and slyly funny — if you like Brennan’s Lady Isabella books, this will be a nice fit tonally — and the world is an insane mishmash that makes perfect internal sense. I still have so many questions, and there’s so much here that decon What a strange, delightful remix of the Holmes cannon with a little of everything (I definitely spotted a bit of Cthulhu in the various deities (sometimes in form, sometimes in spirit), some Treasure Island, and many other references). The prose is prissy and touchy and slyly funny — if you like Brennan’s Lady Isabella books, this will be a nice fit tonally — and the world is an insane mishmash that makes perfect internal sense. I still have so many questions, and there’s so much here that deconstructs gender, sex, and race, but in such deft ways that it hardly registers as you race along. This is definitely not for everyone, but for those who will like it it’s perfection. Here’s hoping the rest of the Holmesian cannon gets the same treatment. (4.5 rounded up.)
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  • Karen Fan
    January 1, 1970
    This is, in Alexis Hall’s own words, a “queer fantasy novel” and “it’s probably best summed up as: bisexual lady Holmes and puritan trans Watson solve crimes in a weird fantasy city.”It totally was exactly that. And I expected to be so excited and enthralled with this, but I wasn’t. It was just too much thrown at me and I had a really hard time finishing this book. It was too convoluted and I was often perplexed for entire sections of the book. But, perhaps if you often read steampunk/sci-fi typ This is, in Alexis Hall’s own words, a “queer fantasy novel” and “it’s probably best summed up as: bisexual lady Holmes and puritan trans Watson solve crimes in a weird fantasy city.”It totally was exactly that. And I expected to be so excited and enthralled with this, but I wasn’t. It was just too much thrown at me and I had a really hard time finishing this book. It was too convoluted and I was often perplexed for entire sections of the book. But, perhaps if you often read steampunk/sci-fi type novels, you’ll do better than I.
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  • Traci
    January 1, 1970
    Find this and other reviews at The Reader In IndigoShaharazad Haas, who is essentially the bastard love child of Sherlock Holmes and Johannes Cabal, is a consulting sorceress in the semi-drowned city of Ven. Captain John Wyndham, native to the land of Ey (which went a bit Puritanical after overthrowing their Witch-King), suffered a bizarre wound fighting the forces of the Empress of Nothing beyond the Unending Gate, and ended up rooming with Shaharazad in Ven; Ey being less than sympathetic to m Find this and other reviews at The Reader In IndigoShaharazad Haas, who is essentially the bastard love child of Sherlock Holmes and Johannes Cabal, is a consulting sorceress in the semi-drowned city of Ven. Captain John Wyndham, native to the land of Ey (which went a bit Puritanical after overthrowing their Witch-King), suffered a bizarre wound fighting the forces of the Empress of Nothing beyond the Unending Gate, and ended up rooming with Shaharazad in Ven; Ey being less than sympathetic to men like Wyndham, who began their lives as women. When an old frenemy/lover comes to Shaharazad seeking help with a blackmailer, a partnership for the ages is born.This is not the first Sherlock Holmes/cosmic horror mashup I’ve read, but it is by far the wittiest, cleverest, funniest, and most engaging. The characters are richly drawn, Wyndham’s deadpan narration mixing with Shaharazad’s batshit insanity across a series of well-fleshed-out Lovecraftian dreamscapes to create an engrossing narrative that I had trouble putting down.This better end up being a series, or I will be quite cross.If you love weird fiction, detective fiction, or any sort of fiction that finally elucidates what happened in Carcosa once the Revolution came for the King in Yellow, then this is definitely for you.A huge thanks to Penguin First to Read and the publisher for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Hollowspine
    January 1, 1970
    3.5Of the many interpretations of Sherlock Holmes, this is one of the strangest I've read. Also, very entertaining. It does rely heavily on familiarity, both with Arthur Conan Doyle's work, but also with the work of H.P. Lovecraft, and to some extent Agatha Christie. Doyle and Lovecraft's influences can be found on every page, and quite a few references might be confusing, especially to those unfamiliar with the Cthulhu mythos, so while it's definitely readable without knowing much about either, 3.5Of the many interpretations of Sherlock Holmes, this is one of the strangest I've read. Also, very entertaining. It does rely heavily on familiarity, both with Arthur Conan Doyle's work, but also with the work of H.P. Lovecraft, and to some extent Agatha Christie. Doyle and Lovecraft's influences can be found on every page, and quite a few references might be confusing, especially to those unfamiliar with the Cthulhu mythos, so while it's definitely readable without knowing much about either, I think it would be more difficult to enjoy.For fans of Doyle and Lovecraft, finally here is a story that brings them together in the perfect mix. I also loved the fact that the characters did not exist in the binary world H.P. Lovecraft would have preferred, but rather in a world where there is a lot of diversity and inclusivity. Characters are not bound to one identity or the a binary choice of gender. I think the added religious background of Wyndham (the Watson in this story) brought an interesting conversation to the work which added to the character and his storytelling.Overall, this was an exciting and original twist on the classics of detective and other-worldly horror fiction, one which fans of either would really enjoy. The first in what is certain to be a series, and a one not to be missed. The writing style, humor and mystery is sure to entertain and intrigue readers.
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  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed "The Affair of the Mysterious Letter" for a lot of reasons, the main one being it was just fun. Told through the recollections of Dr. John Wyndham, this Sherlockian novel follows the exploits of Shaharazad Haas, sorceress supreme, as she and her co-tenant Wyndham search for the blackmailer of Eirene Viola, a former partner/lover in crime of Haas. Alexis Hall does a splendid job of capturing the verbose style of Dr. John Watson in Doyle's stories, though I recommend having a thesaurus h I enjoyed "The Affair of the Mysterious Letter" for a lot of reasons, the main one being it was just fun. Told through the recollections of Dr. John Wyndham, this Sherlockian novel follows the exploits of Shaharazad Haas, sorceress supreme, as she and her co-tenant Wyndham search for the blackmailer of Eirene Viola, a former partner/lover in crime of Haas. Alexis Hall does a splendid job of capturing the verbose style of Dr. John Watson in Doyle's stories, though I recommend having a thesaurus handy while reading as there are quite a few words used that are uncommon outside of standardized tests (which is still in keeping with Doyle's original style).In addition to capturing the style of Doyle, Hall brings their own ideas and mythologies to the classic duo, including Cthulu-esque monsters, Dungeons and Dragons (shout out to Strahd), and a slew of other references and characters that nevertheless feel quite in keeping with the story Hall tells.Finally, I fully appreciated the representation in this novel. Hall has written other queer fiction, but while there are queer characters (including trans, pan, and bi) their sexuality simply is, rather than being a contentious part of the story, and for that especially I enjoyed this book.Possible spoiler below:My only complaint is that you never find out who the husband is. I have theories, but they are never confirmed. I hope that Hall writes more adventures of Haas and Wyndham because I really want to know!
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  • Meghan
    January 1, 1970
    This book was received as an ARC from Berkley Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.I was super excited to read this book because Historical mysteries are very popular in our library and I knew our patrons will be ecstatic to know that one is about to be released. The Affair of the Mysterious Letter tells the story of Captain John Wyndham post-war looking for a place to live. While searching for a home he comes acr This book was received as an ARC from Berkley Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.I was super excited to read this book because Historical mysteries are very popular in our library and I knew our patrons will be ecstatic to know that one is about to be released. The Affair of the Mysterious Letter tells the story of Captain John Wyndham post-war looking for a place to live. While searching for a home he comes across this letter that was addressing an affair of one of the former lovers of his housemate. This letter leads to witchcraft, pirates, and even encounters with sharks that now Capt. Wyndham is involved with. Each page was a new twist that was a huge shocker to the plot. Each chapter kept you invested and wanting to know who this mystery blackmailer is and will Captain Wyndham catch him once and for all.We will consider adding this title to our mystery collection at the library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.
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  • Brooke Banks
    January 1, 1970
    Gods, I fucking loved this book.I devoured it while reading. When I had to pause, my mind kept straying back, itching to find out what happens next. It's so...gay and different. I didn't know what to expecting going in, just that I had to read it. It's better than I could've imagined. The best way I've thought to describe it is thus: Futurama meets Soulless where everyone is queer with less Beavis & Butthead humor, narrated by Victor Melling from Miss Congeniality but instead of an FBI agent Gods, I fucking loved this book.I devoured it while reading. When I had to pause, my mind kept straying back, itching to find out what happens next. It's so...gay and different. I didn't know what to expecting going in, just that I had to read it. It's better than I could've imagined. The best way I've thought to describe it is thus: Futurama meets Soulless where everyone is queer with less Beavis & Butthead humor, narrated by Victor Melling from Miss Congeniality but instead of an FBI agent in a beauty pageant, he's got a rogue sorceress addicted to opium who can't go undercover to save her life. Have I mentioned how much I fucking loved this book? All of it. Just...GAH. Also, is this what straight white guys felt about Holmes and Watson this whole time??? A-fucking-mazing. Also, NEED A MILLION SEQUELS!!!I'll try doing a more coherent review in a bit.
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  • Soup
    January 1, 1970
    Absolutely delightful (and often laugh-out-loud funny) adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes series. Highly LGBTQ friendly and delightfully Lovecraftian, this novel explores the first case of Captain John Wyndham (Watson) and the consulting sorceress Ms. Shaharazad Haas (Holmes). I dearly hope this book is the start of the series!
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  • nikkia neil
    January 1, 1970
    Out of control, this world, and on fire. Loved this unique mystery. I was provided a ARC in exchange for honest review by First to Read.
  • Tina
    January 1, 1970
    A delightful romp written with Alexis Hall’s customary finesse and wit. I can only hope that this is the start of a new series — and for the further adventures of Ms. Haas and Mr. Wyndham.
  • Jill Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    I don't understand at all why this one didn't work for me, but it didn't. The description was vastly intriguing, and I tend to love Sherlock Holmes re-imaginings, particularly in the quirky and unusual vein. I love original worlds and original characters, and this book certainly was ripe with both. But for some reason I just never got into it the way I wanted to... Wyndham's retelling of their Adventures - and believe me, they deserve the capitalization - felt overly prim and staid, even for the I don't understand at all why this one didn't work for me, but it didn't. The description was vastly intriguing, and I tend to love Sherlock Holmes re-imaginings, particularly in the quirky and unusual vein. I love original worlds and original characters, and this book certainly was ripe with both. But for some reason I just never got into it the way I wanted to... Wyndham's retelling of their Adventures - and believe me, they deserve the capitalization - felt overly prim and staid, even for the character, and just never resonated with the spirit of intrigue and dangerous excitement that they should have for me. I must just not be the right audience for this one...Thank you to Penguin First to Read for my review copy.
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