Title: A Singular and Whimsical Problem
Author: Rachel McMillan
Publisher: Harvest House
Published: December 2015
Series: Herringford and Watts Mysteries
Genre: Historical Mystery
About the Book:
Christmas, 1910. Merinda Herringford and Jem Watts would be enjoying the season a lot more if they weren’t forced to do their own laundry and cooking. Just as they are adapting to their trusty housekeeper’s ill-timed vacation, they are confronted by the strangest mystery they’ve encountered since they started their private investigation firm.
In this bonus e-only novella, what begins as the search for a missing cat leads to a rabble-rousing suffragette and the disappearance of several young women from St. Jerome’s Reformatory for Incorrigible Females. From the women’s courts of City Hall to Toronto’s seedy docks and into the cold heart of the underground shipping industry, this will be the most exciting Christmas the girls have had yet…if they can stay alive long enough to enjoy it.
This story? These characters? Brilliant!
It’s been a while, but back when I was in high school, I read every Sherlock Holmes story I could get my hands on. In this novella-length introduction to the new Herringford and Watts mystery series, Rachel McMillan does an amazing job evoking the tone and style of Doyle’s famous detective series, while making the story and characters her own.
Merinda and Jem are lively and engaging characters I look forward to revisiting again and again. I love the bits of wit interjected, even in less-than-whimsical situations. I love the way the various plot threads come together and blend into a single cohesive story. And my favorite scene by far is the one with the snow, with its hints of romance to come.
Being both short and intricate, the story feels told at something of a brisk clip, relying on summary at points to whisk us from one important moment to another, much as Doyle’s stories do. But the details included are well-chosen and evocative, resulting in a beautifully told story.
After reading A Singular and Whimsical Problem, I can’t wait to read The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder when it releases in March. And maybe I’ll have to go back and revisit some of my favorite Sherlock Holmes stories in the meantime….
Highly recommended for fans of cozy mysteries in general and Sherlock Holmes stories in particular.