Of Hoaxes and Homicide
May 25, 2024

Book Review

Of Hoaxes and Homicide

reviewed by Warner Holme

Anastasia Hastings’ Of Hoaxes and Homicide is the sophomore entry in the author’s Dear Miss Hermione Mystery series. Given the slump that often occurs with the second book in any series, there is a lot riding on this volume.

In this case, a great deal of concern arises as Violet’s pseudonymous column leads her to investigate the case of a missing girl and a particularly odd little cult that has sprung up. The peculiarities of this cult and the individual who seems to be leading it (an author with the suitably dramatic name of Count Orland) leave both sisters concerned about just how deep into trouble they may have gotten.

There is a related secondary narrative in Hermione’s examination of the varied letters sent to her on a variety of subjects. She is extremely forward-thinking by the standards of the time, and expresses it in a way most amusing for those living in the current environment. Each of these letters relates tangentially at first to the overall narrative, but there is a delightful payoff with the final letter she receives. One certainly hopes to see this format continue as long as the series goes on, as it is a great way to get the lead involved in a case and also allows her to step out of the narrative.

A continued and solid read, this volume works quite well for those unfamiliar with the series and should be even more rewarding for individuals who have read the preceding volume. Characters are introduced in a way that makes things clear, and the only surprise that might take some getting used to is the tone and attitude of the lead. This is a matter of taste and has very little to do with actual concern for quality, but rather with knowing whether one will enjoy it.

As a result, fans of the series should definitely continue with this volume, and curious new readers can pick up either this or the original to find out what they think of the material. It is perhaps a bit more playful than a historical thriller and darker than a cozy historical, but it remains well aligned with the more general mystery genre. Readers should be eager to see where the series goes next.

Of Hoaxes and Homicide is available at:

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