Book Review of The Disappearing Beaune: A Sherlock Holmes Christmas Story by J. Lawrence Matthews.

Review of The Case of the Disappearing Beaune. J. Lawrence Matthews Sherlock Holmes
Book cover of The Case of the Disappearing Beaune: A Sherlock Holmes Christmas Story by J. Lawrence Matthews.

Sherlock Holmes faces one of the most urgent and puzzling cases of his career. A Christmas gift for his old friend Dr. Watson has been tampered with and replaced with something most unusual. All under the sleeping nose of the great detective himself.

Is there a new Master of the Criminal Underworld in charge of London? Why the warning? And who is the warning about?

The Case of the Disappearing Beaune: A Sherlock Holmes Christmas Story by J. Lawrence Matthews captures the essence of the classic detective with language and writing harking back to the old master himself, Conan Doyle. But the writing is still his own. This is a Matthews story and the descriptive style easily draws the reader into the age and world being created.

Matthews puts his knowledge of Holmes and history to good use. This is not his first adventure with the world’s greatest detective. There is a good amount of detail given to the streets of London, allowing the reader to ride along with the investigative duo of Holmes and Watson as they race to save… well to save. Much loved characters from years gone by appear throughout the story.

The pace of the story matches the length. Clues pile up in quick measure with Sherlock grasping them seemingly out of thin air, but all leading to one conclusion.

The mystery itself is one that will shock the reader. The ending, something one would never expect of the great bee fanatic, Holmes.

This is a great short story for any age of reader. An excellent gift for the holidays.

Try to solve the mystery before Holmes does.

5 out of 5 Stars

(A rarity from me.)

Book Review of The Case of the Disappearing Beaune: A Sherlock Holmes Christmas Story. Author photo of J. Lawrence Matthews.
J. Lawrence Matthews. Author of The Case of the Disappearing Beaune: A Sherlock Holmes Christmas Story.

J. Lawrence Matthews has contributed fiction to the New York Times and NPR’s All Things Considered, and, as Jeff Matthews, is the author of three non-fiction books about Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway. One Must Tell the Bees: Abraham Lincoln and the Final Education of Sherlock Holmes is his first novel, the result of twin passions for the original Sherlock Holmes stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and American history as told on the battlefields of the Civil War. Matthews is now researching the sequel, which follows Sherlock Holmes a bit further afield—to Florence, Mecca and Tibet.

The wait is over-Pre-Order Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling. @PSBartlett & @RonovanWrites

The wait is over. My debut novel Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling, written with Award Winning Author PS Bartlett is available for Pre-Order Now! The Prequel to all of the The Razors Adventures Pirate Tales, of which there are currently 4 titles with another in the works if not already on the way.

Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling by PS Bartlett & Ronovan Hester

The autumn of 1705 brings Royal Navy Captain Gabriel Wallace to face off against an enemy within the ranks of the Admiralty itself that threatens his career, his reputation, his family, and something even more far-reaching in its plot.

Court-martialed and with Admiral Chambers, the mastermind fearfully known as the Chambers of Hell, out for his destruction, Wallace finds he has allies willing to face the might of the mightiest power on earth, with some allies in the most unlikely of places. The crew of his former command, the Majesty’s Venture, mutinies from the Royal Navy. With capture by his enemies close behind, Wallace agrees to become captain once again.

With a ship at his command, Captain Gabriel Wallace sets out to fulfill his mission, the completeness of which only he knows.

Now a pirate by situation, Wallace sets out for the Colonies and the Caribbean. Will his crew remain loyal as they leave a life the rule of the Royal Navy behind? Will  his lifelong friend Miles Jacobs follow Wallace’s lead without knowing the whole story? Finally, will  the young Lieutenant Maddox Carbonale remain a follower or try to become captain himself?

With these questions in his thoughts, Gabriel Wallace wages war on Chambers and goes after the largest haul in the history of the Spanish Main. Whom does Wallace meet along the way? To whom are his loyalties to: vengeance or something more powerful?

If you love tales of adventure, of the sea, of the struggles of men, and nods to history, this is your book. Read Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling and you’ll have a new appreciation for all of The Razor’s Adventures Pirate Tales.

It’s been a long year of nervous excitement on my part, waiting for this week.

My big goal in writing this book was to become a published author. Sounds like a duh type of thing, right? Well, it’s not for the reason you think.

I worked hard, even agonized over my creations, because I wanted my son to be proud of his daddy.

Two and a half years ago I suffered a fall in my home. As a result I ended up with a Grade 3 Concussion, and the discovery of multiple herniated discs in my spine beginning with my neck. There are a lot of other problems, but that’s enough of that story.

My son has been tough through it all. Considering he’s 11 now, it’s been difficult for him. Now he has something he can tell his friends that his daddy has done.

Now for the book, right now PS Bartlett and I have a good price set for the Pre-Order phase. She is even lowering the prices on her other books in the series for a short time. Of course those prices won’t always be that way.

Help us get to the top with my debut. That would put a surprise of an ending to this little story of mine. Not really an ending. I’m still writing. It will be one great thing though.

Visit Amazon to Pre-Order. Here are a few to click to now.

Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling on

Amber Wake; Gabriel Falling on

Amber Wake; Gabriel Falling on

Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling on

And wish my son good luck with his baseball tryouts in Little League coming up Saturday. Maybe he’ll have someone who can catch better than I can. This past Saturday I suffered my first black eye ever. I might resort to an eyepatch if any photos are needed for guest spots during book promotion.

To connect with me:
Amazon Author Page: Ronovan Hester
Amazon UK Author Page: Ronovan Hester
Personal Blog:
Author Site:
Book Review Site:
Twitter: @RonovanWrites
Goodreads: Ronovan Hester
Facebook: Ronovan Writes
Google+: Ronovan Writes
LinkedIn: Ronovan Hester Ronovan
Pinterest: RonovanWrites

#BookReview The astonishing return of Norah Wells by Virginia Macgregor (@virginiawrites). The Queen of Unconventional Extended Families

Hi all:

If you remember I promised last week I’d bring you the review of a book, and here it is:

The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells by Victoria Macgregor
The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells by Victoria Macgregor

Title:   The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells
Author:   Victoria Macgregor
Published:  14th January 2016
Pages:  426
Genre:  Family life/Women’s Fiction

Body of review:

The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells by Virginia Macgregor. The Queen of Unconventional Extended Families

Thanks to Net Galley and to the publishers for providing me a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

I read Virginia Macgregor’s first novel What Milo Saw a few months back and loved it. I loved the warmth of it, the wonderful characters, the sense of community, the quirky story, and the wonderful boy at the centre of it, Milo. When I published the review in my blog, it was very well received, and in fact one of my followers not only loved the novel too, but discovered a personal connection to the author. Of course I could not resist getting this book when I saw it in Net Galley.

And boy, am I pleased I got it. I’ve loved it possibly even more than the first one. Willa, the little girl who is the heart and soul of this story, is wonderful. She is not as prescient as Milo was, but she is all heart. She loves animals, Louie, the dog, the foxes only she seems to see (she’s obsessed with Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox and the movie of the same title), her parents (although she later discovers that Mummy Fay is not her real mother), her sister Ella, the twin ladies who live opposite, with their Chihuahuas, and everybody else. Her birthday is coming up and she knows Mrs Fox is due to have baby foxes and she’s excited. What nobody is prepared for is the return of Norah, her biological mother who up and went six years ago, and the maelstrom this causes. Norah’s best friend, Fay, and her complete opposite, stepped in when she left and took care of her family, becoming the mother (although Ella always resented her and started a campaign to find her mother, believing she’d been abducted). Norah’s return upsets the new family the ones left behind had created in her absence, and the secrets and lies threaten to break the hearts of all involved.

The novel made me think of an author I’ve read a few books by, Hans Hirschi, who wears with pride the accolade one of his reviewers gave him of ‘the queen of unconventional happy endings’. After reading this novel, I feel Virginia Macgregor deserves to be known as the queen of unconventional extended families. This novel is more insular than the previous one, and although the outside world intrudes (sometimes very forcefully) into the story, this is mostly incidental, and the action takes place around the family, and those adopted into it, like the neighbours, Ella’s Twitter followers, Fay, the members of the family Norah unveils, Sai (Ella’s boyfriend) and his wonderful mother. Willa wants everybody to be happy and live in the same house, and eventually, tolerance, understanding and love spreads to all who come into contact with her and her family.

Macgregor writes beautifully, perfectly capturing the thoughts and voices (the story is told in third person but from the point of view of the different characters) of younger and older characters, and even the dog (that Willa feels a particular connection to). [Although Louie is completely different, the use of the pet as one of the consciousness and narrators of the story reminded me of another great novel, Atonement, Tennessee by Teagan Geneviene, where Lilith, the cat, observes and sees things the rest of the characters don’t.] We might agree or not with the actions and reactions of the people in the novel, but they all feel real, and we come to care deeply for all of them. The plot deals with themes such as abandonment, family relationships, prejudice, creativity, spirituality, cancer, grief and death, subjectively and sensitively. Yes, I did cry at times and laughed at times. And I thoroughly enjoyed it.

If the roof of the house is in need of repair throughout the novel and storms keep threatening the house (illustrating in a very plastic and visual way the emotions of those living inside) the ending is heart-warming and hopeful.

This is a novel that will pull at your heartstrings and will make you fall in love with stories and reading. Although it’s very early in the year, I suspect this will remain one of my favourite novels of 2016. Go and read it!

Ah and if you want to check my review for Virginia Macgregor’s previous book What Milo Saw you can do that, here.

Realistic Characterization: 4.5/5
Made Me Think: 4.5/5
Overall enjoyment: 5/5
Readability: 5/5
Recommended: 5/5
Overall Rating: 5/5

Buy it at:  

Hardcover: $12.14 

Paperback: $19.29 

Audiobook: Available only in preorder. No price fixed yet. 

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to share if you’ve enjoyed it.

Olga Núñez Miret



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