The Case of the Mahjong Dragon: And Other Russell Holmes Stories by James McEwan

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The Case of the Mahjong Dragon: And Other Russell Holmes Stories by James McEwan
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (145 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

“A brisk walk in the Botanic gardens before breakfast stimulates the mind for a good murder.”

The Case of the Mahjong Dragon and other stories, takes us into the world of criminal investigations by the Victorian private detective, Russell Holmes.

Murder, assassinations and the rescue of a woman incarcerated in an asylum are some of the challenges Russell Holmes must resolve. During his investigations he shows contempt for the judicial processes that conflicts with his sense of moral justice.

This collection was inspired by a Shortbread Story competition based on the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

In the mood for a good mystery?

A brisk walk in the Botanic Gardens before breakfast always stimulates the mind for a good murder…” The moment I read the opening line of this collection of short stories, I had a feeling I was in for a treat. Inspired by the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Mr. McEwan has created Russell Holmes and a rather entertaining cast of characters who work together to solve a diverse assortment of mysteries.

Mr. McEwan did an excellent job of gradually drawing out the details of Russell’s personality and the origins of his friendship with Major Wilson through their dialog and actions rather than simply “telling” about it. As I read, each story added a bit more detail and made the characters seem more realistic. I grew to like Russell, Major Wilson, and Mrs. Fergus. They are an eclectic bunch, but they are perfectly suited to each other.

I do wish that some of the cases Russell works on had been expanded in greater detail. All the cases are interesting and different. However, there is no real opportunity for the reader to solve the mysteries on their own. The focus of this collection seems to be more about Russell and the methods he uses to solve the cases. While I liked watching Russell work, I must admit that I thought several of the stories ended rather abruptly.

Despite this issue, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Russell Holmes and his adventures. The stories are well paced, and Russell and his friends are very entertaining. Fans of a good mystery would do well to pick up a copy of this book.

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