Monday, December 1, 2014

Review: The Spiritglass Charade (Stoker & Holmes #2) by Colleen Gleason

After the Affair of the Clockwork Scarab, Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes are eager to help Princess Alix with a new case. Seventeen-year-old Willa Aston is obsessed with spiritual mediums, convinced she is speaking with her mother from beyond the grave. What seems like a case of spiritualist fraud quickly devolves into something far more menacing: someone is trying to make Willa "appear lunatic," using an innocent-looking spiritglass to control her. The list of clues piles up: an unexpected murder, a gang of pickpockets, and the return of vampires to London. But are these events connected? As Uncle Sherlock would say, "there are no coincidences." It will take all of Mina's wit and Evaline's muscle to keep London's sinister underground at bay.
If you've read my blog before, you'll notice that I like reading books featuring or related in some way to Sherlock Holmes.

In The Spiritglass Charade, it's Sherlock Holmes' niece Mina Holmes and her reluctant partner Evaline Stoker who are the center of the tale. Princess Alix presents a case to Mina, Evaline, Mina's mentor Irene Adler, and Dylan, a teenager from the future who unintentionally traveled to their time. The daughter of one of her closest friends has taken to wasting her money on seances, convinced that she is speaking to her dead mother who insists that Willa must find her missing brother. At first, Mina is convinced that the spiritualist is a fraud, but as the case unravels, it becomes clear that there is more here than meets the eye.

As you would expect from a book narrated by the niece of Sherlock Holmes and a vampire hunter, the descriptions in the book were quite vivid. This was quite invaluable as the London in the book, as well as the fashions in the book, are quite different from those most of us are used to, especially if you don't read a lot of steampunk novels. I quite like the world that the characters inhabit. I mean, I wouldn't want to live there or anything, but it would be a nice place to visit for a short while.

I hadn't read the first book before reading this one, but as it turned out, it wasn't really necessary. There were some references to events in the first book, of course, but otherwise, it didn't play a huge part in this book.

The book started with Mina and Evaline investigating the situation with Willa before their paths diverged and then eventually converged again in an unexpected way. Although I'm more used to Sherlock-related novels relying on scientific reasoning for solutions, I didn't really mind the solution to the mystery in the book. I actually liked the fact that it makes a great future plot point. That is, aside from the bomb of a revelation that goes off in the final pages of the book.

Mina and Evaline were quite interesting characters. Mina reminds me of Hermione Granger in the first Harry Potter book. She's kind of a bossy, know-it-all sometimes. Evaline, on the other hand, is impulsive and tough. Think Buffy the Vampire Slayer in steampunk London.

Mina and Evaline both have love interests in the book that, thankfully, do not distract too much from the story. In fact, they help propel it in some places. The chemistry between Evaline and Pix is quite obvious and they make an interesting pair. My favorite potential couple in the book, though, is Mina and Inspector Grayling. They're meant for each other, I just know it.

Thanks to Edelweiss and Chronicle Books for the e-ARC.


  1. The plot twists are interesting.
  2. The potential romances are quite hot.
  3. The world-building is exquisite.


  1. I would have liked a bit more clues for the reader so I can be a bit more clued in to some of Mina's revelations.


  1. You like strong female heroines.
  2. You like unresolved romantic tension.
  3. You like mysteries with supernatural elements.



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