Wednesday, March 6, 2019


Putting the twee in tweed this quasi-British fantasy novel features a chase scene with proper "Gentlemen" in suits with handlebar mustaches on bikes. I was surprised they didn't throw miniature poodles at each other. Take that, rapscallion! Get 'em Ruffles! Bite his leg...ok, ok, at least pull a single thread out of his bespoke suit! That'll show 'em. No play for Mr. Fray. 

This is a mystery urban fantasy novel set in an alternative Britain after a WWI- type thingy. Only the aristocrats are allowed to do magic and something awfully fishy is going on with these returning soldiers. Maybe our magical doctor can save the day...or can he? There are all kinds of things going in this book, a
LGBT love story, a magical system to set up, an oligarchy, family disputes, workplace issues, ghosts, dead guys and a world class typist. All in 318 pages. Whew. 
Witchmark made some people's best fantasy lists of 2018 but lets not go crazy. It's a perfectly fine fantasy and as a first novel it's good. Best....well...maybe if they put more references to men's capes, boater hats, various puddings, canaries, teas, antique snuff boxes and yes, even more bikes. I think this is just the first one in a series so there is hope yet. 

While it's freezing today I have hope that spring is around the corner. Read this with a bespoke Cucumber Basil Gimlet: Muddle a few basil leaves and two slices of cucumber in a shaker, add ice and 1&1/2 ounces of vodka (I think a nice neutral gin would work just fine too), add one ounce of lemonade and 1/4 ounce of lime juice. Shake and strain into a rocks glass over ice. Drink while picking invisible lint off your lapels.

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