- Published by : Alibi (May 19, 2015)
- Pages: 385
In the start of a charmingly imaginative cozy series sure to delight fans of Carolyn Hart and Diane Mott Davidson, Diane Stingley introduces a blundering detective who believes herself to be the great-great-granddaughter of the legendary Sherlock Holmes.
After failing to launch her career as a Hollywood actress, Tammy Norman returns home to North Carolina, desperate for a regular paycheck and a new lease on life. So she accepts a position assisting Shirley Homes, an exceptionally odd personage who styles herself after her celebrated “ancestor”–right down to the ridiculous hat. Tammy isn’t sure how long she can go on indulging the delusional Shirley (who honestly believes Sherlock Holmes was a real person!), but with the prospect of unemployment looming, she decides to give it a shot.
Tammy’s impression of her eccentric boss does not improve when their first case involves midnight romps through strangers’ yards in pursuit of a phantom dog—that only their client can hear. But when the case takes a sudden and sinister turn, Tammy has to admit that Shirley Homes might actually be on to something. . . .
Buy, read, and discuss The Case of the Invisible Dog
About the author, Diane Stingley
Diane Stingley is the author of Dress You Up in My Love and I’m With Cupid. She was also a columnist for The Charlotte Observer and received e-mails from around the country in response to her columns. She currently resides in North Carolina and is hard at work on the next Shirley Homes mystery.
I’ve been a Sherlock Holmes fan almost as long as I’ve been able to read, and unlike some purists, I’m happy to discover new takes on the character. I’ve read – for review as well as just for pleasure – the works of Laurie R. King and Stephanie Osborn, for example, and loved them to bits, even though each woman writes a radically different version of Holmes. I also love the BBC series Sherlock, but, I confess, I’ve never been able to get into Elementary.
The practical upshot of all this is that when I was invited to review The Case of the Invisible Dog, I was really excited to do so. Diane Stingley also has a fresh perspective on Holmes – her detective, Shirley Homes (no-l), likes waffles with extra butter syrup on the side, and is a little more of a psychopath than even Benedict Cumberbatch’s Holmes at his most…idiosyncratic. She also uses the name of her famous ‘ancestor’ (because in this universe he’s a real person – or at least Shirley believes he is), to help build her business.
Her Watson, who is our point of view character, is Tammy, failed actress, successful purveyor of bon mots. She’s maybe not as book-smart as previous Watsons we have known, but she’s street smart and snarky – two things I always enjoy in a character. It’s her voice that narrates this story, and everything we see is filtered through her eyes and perceptions.
Author Diane Stingley has done a great job of creating a slightly kooky, absolutely cozy version of the Great Detective, or rather, the Great Detective’s Descendant, and I found this novel to be engaging and interesting, especially once things got a little bit twistier and darker near the end.
If you’re looking for a female detective who is basically Sherlock Holmes in drag and a contemporary setting, this novel is NOT for you, but if you want something fun, fresh, a little bit fluffy (but in a good way), give The Case of the Invisible Dog a shot. Worst case: you’ll crave a trip to your local diner, at the end.
Goes well with Waffles with extra butter and syrup (warm, organic, maple), a side of crispy bacon, and coffee with cream.
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