Tag Archive: Mystery


The Accidental Alchemist

I’The Accidental Alchemistve always had a fascination with how people explain bumps in the night. It started when my (military) family moved to Rome, Italy, when I was nine. I spent three years in the Eternal City, where I was surrounded by references to mythology both Greek and Roman, Etruscan and Egyptian. It moved on to still other cultures, where I compared their beliefs and looked for commonalities. The fact that others had come to the same conclusions before me wasn’t a disappointment. It told me I wasn’t alone in this fascination.

A year into my stay, I had also gained a fascination for science, and the subjects of history, science, and mythology mixed around in my head as I also started reading more and more science fiction and fantasy. I loved it. So very many fun things, all of which could run into each other at different angles, combining to form new stories, yet with familiar elements. It was like playing new games with old friends.

That only deepened as I grew older, and I found myself looking at alchemy in that tripartite way. I looked at it as a mythology, bound up in how people thought the world worked. I studied it as the precursor to chemistry, and the crazy uncle of physics. I delighted in the way the exploration of alchemy was so tied up in historical events, yet not quite so obvious in its connection, and therefore requiring careful exploration. It was a mythology not as glamorous as the gods of Mount Olympus; it was embarrassing to many scientists; and it was dismissed as irrelevant by most historians. I thought it was fun.

So, when I spotted The Accidental Alchemist, by Gigi Pandian, and read a review that mentioned the detailed research the author had undergone to write it, I thought it worth a try. And boy, am I glad I did. Continue reading

All Hail Her Royal Spyness

cover_spyness_200In Her Royal Spyness, by Rhys Bowen, we meet one Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie Rannoch, daughter of the Duke of Glen Garry and Rannoch, cousin to George V, King of the United Kingdom and Emperor of India. Lady Georgiana has a few problems beyond a name and lineage too large for ordinary use. For example, she has . . .

  • . . . a rather nasty sister-in-law.
  • . . . a rather scandalous mother.
  • . . . a family that’s trying to set her up with fish-faced European princes.
  • . . . a responsibility to not get in the scandal pages.
  • . . . an interest in a somewhat inappropriate Irish nobleman.
  • . . . set of skills that includes French, walking while balancing a book on her head, how to seat a bishop at dinner, and absolutely no practical talents.
  • . . . absolutely no money.

That’s right. Lady Georgiana (you can call her Georgie) is flat broke. She might be 34th in line for the throne, but that and a shilling will get you a cup of tea. And sadly, even if she weren’t in the middle of the Great Depression, getting a job is simply out of the question. A royal working as a shop clerk? Imagine the scandal when the society papers found out! Continue reading

Addicted to Mystery

I’m in Minnesota visiting Elizabeth and Nathan (yesterday was, incidentally, the half-anniversary of their wedding). We’ve been plotting and scheming, sometimes even about books. But our series isn’t the subject of this blog post, no. See, last night, we watched the Veronica Mars movie.  Continue reading

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: