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The Affair of the Incognito Tenant: A Mystery With Sherlock Holmes    by Lora Roberts order for
Affair of the Incognito Tenant
by Lora Roberts
Order:  USA  Can
Perseverance Press, 2004 (2004)
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

While Lora Roberts claims on the back inside cover of The Affair of the Incognito Tenant to lead an uneventful and quiet life, the story she has contrived is as eventful and worthy as those written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. While reading, I kept envisioning Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce on the big screen playing the roles of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. I'm of a different generation than those who remember Jeremy Bret as the great detective. I'm not sure who would play Charlotte Dodson. Possibly Paulette Goddard or Joan Fontaine.

It's 1903 in the small Sussex of village of Stafford, where Charlotte Dodson is housekeeper at a manor leased by a mysterious stranger. That alone is enough to whet the appetite for what comes next. There's murder, burglary, threats of a vampire in the area, the search for the Orb of Kezir, the cook's 'Spasms', the maid's hysterics, the lawyer with a voracious appetite, and the certainty that an old adversary of Holmes (the mysterious stranger) has escaped prison and is in the vicinity. All are woven into the fabric of a rip roaringly good book.

What is pure delight about the mystery is that Charlotte Dodson proves a match for Holmes' detecting skills. At the same time, she runs a proper Edwardian household while short on staff. Bonuses in this book are the glimpse the reader gets into Edwardian life at the turn of twentieth century England, as well as the delicious use of language in that period. The ending is as breathtaking as any of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's work, the anticlimax even more so. The Affair of the Incognito Tenant is a page-turner of the first degree.

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