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Which of your devices has turned on you? (Hint: it’s not paranoia if it’s true…)

⇒REBLOG [My friend Carol Hedges has a hilarious blog post about being bullied by her laptop.] Once you’ve seen what a terrific, funny, brilliant writer she is, you should check out her books. I can’t just recommend one of them because they’re all fabulous, but my review of Desire and Deceit, Book 9 of her Victorian Detective series, follows below.

Why Is My Laptop Bullying Me?

(Reblog with permission from Carol Hedges)

About a year ago, my elderly and much loved eMac died on me. There was no warning. I woke up one morning, switched it on and nothing happened. It went on not happening for several days during which I attempted to extract stuff I hadn’t backed up (DON’T TELL ME!!!). It went on not happening even when Computer Expert Husband of Friend came round and performed the equivalent of CPR on it.

Eventually I had to face reality: the computer had died, taking with it 26 thousand words of the new book into some internet black hole. There was nothing I could do. There followed a short period of mourning. I missed my computer. I missed waking up to its elegant presence on the desk. I missed the response time that was so slow, it was quicker to walk. I missed the way it let me get on with the writing without bothering about silly things like punctuation or misspelled words. I missed seeing Thermidor, my red beanbag lobster glowering at me from the top.

The desk wasn’t the same. My writing wasn’t the same. And I was now 26 thousand words down with a 9 month deadline looming. Enter a small purple Acer laptop. And with its arrival, my literary life has moved to a new dimension. Not, alas, for the better. The original idea was to use the laptop purely as a writing tool, like its former incarnation. Therefore it was deliberately not connected to

the internet. Not that it could ever be connected to the internet, as there is no internet cable in the Writing Attic. But by some devious process of its own, the laptop has managed to loc

ate some internet. And it doesn’t like being separated from it.


Reply To Carol from Barb:

Dear Carol:

I SO feel your pain. For me it’s the watch (expensively) gifted by the Hub when my basic sports watch stopped counting steps for me. (I suspect it died of boredom.) Now this wrist-Nazi wants to take over my life.

My wrist dictator sucks in every random notification, tweet, text, phone call, or calendar event and vibrates with self-righteous zeal as it relays every nanobyte back to me. It interrupts with sanctimonious glee to order me to get up and exercise. To add insult to injury, if I do happen to get up BECAUSE I WANTED TO, it praises me as if I were a recalcitrant pet who finally demonstrated the finer points of housetraining. When it does deign to track my steps, it follows up with snide comments about how I did better the prior week/month/lifetime.

But I have an idea for a better smartwatch:


Book Review

Desire & Deceit (The Victorian Detectives Book 9 ) by Carol Hedges

It is 1868, and the body of a young man has gone missing from the police mortuary at Scotland Yard, an event that has never happened before. Who was the mysterious corpse, and why was he spirited away in the night? These are the questions baffling Detective Inspector Stride and Detective Sergeant Cully as they set out to uncover the truth.

Meanwhile, two greedy, unscrupulous, inheritance-seeking brothers, Arthur and Sherborne Harbinger, descend upon London and their very rich dying aunt, each determined to get whatever they can out of her, and prepared to use whatever methods they can to win her favour. And over in her newly rented rooms in Baker Street, Miss Lucy Landseer, consulting private detective, has been presented with her first ever proper case to investigate ~ and finds it is one that will defy even her imaginative and inventive mind.

Set against the hottest summer on record, Desire & Deceit, the ninth outing for this popular Victorian Detectives series, explores how the love of money really is the root of all evil. Once again, Victorian London is brought to life in all its sights, its sounds, its sordid and gas-lit splendour. Another must-read book, teeming with memorable Dickensian-style characters.

Book Title: Desire & Deceit (The Victorian Detectives Book 9)
 Carol Hedges
Victorian Detective
Length: 222 pages
Publisher: Little G Books; 1 edition (23 July, 2021)

Bits of Carol’s writing life can be viewed on her blog: http://carolhedges.blogspot.com
Visit her unusual Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/thecuriousVictorian/
Find her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/caroljhedges

gold starMy Review: 5 stars out of 5

In Desire & Deceit, author Carol Hedges decides to introduce Charles Dickens’ tropes to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s. Picture David Copperfield meets The Adventure of the Speckled Band—except everyone’s gender is switched, the narrator is decidedly snarky, and the adorable child is a girl who already has a middle class family, but desperately wants to be an orphan. In homage to Doyle, there’s a consulting detective who even sets up shop on Baker Street (except at Number 122A instead of Sherlock’s famous 221B). 

In typical Dickensian fashion, there are several stories happening at once, with their main characters wandering around London and intersecting at semi-random points. It’s  one of the hottest summers on record in London, and as usual the city itself becomes a main character.

Trees in the great parks droop, the swans on the river are stunned. The city swelters and suffers in the unforgiving heat. London was not made for this: it was built for rain ~ its grey stone buildings suit short days and cold nights.

But, even in the sweltering unbearable heat, some find beauty as the eternal mists around St Paul’s turn to a glittering haze and the darkest alleys flash golden glimpses in the spendthrift of sunshine.

We meet again with old Scotland Yard friends, Inspector Stride and Sergeant Cully along with their new protege, constable Williams. They are summoned by latin-quoting police surgeon Dr. Robinson with the news that, “Nos non habeas corpus.” In other words, we don’t have the body. While the police search for a missing corpse, we meet the other actors in this Dickensian-sized cast.

‘Come, Watson, come!’ he cried. ‘The game is afoot. Not a word! Into your clothes and come!’ Sherlock Holmes Quote —The Adventure of the The Abbey Grange Image credit: [Cast of "The Game's Afoot" The Telegraph] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/theatre/what-to-see/the-games-afoot-is-a-thrilling-sherlock-holmes-romp--review/

‘Come, Watson, come!’ he cried. ‘The game is afoot. Not a word! Into your clothes and come!’ —Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure of the The Abbey Grange
Image credit: [Cast of “The Game’s Afoot” The Telegraph]

There is the Replacement, a clerk so self-effacing nobody remembers his name, but who is so concerned about a missing friend, he decides to take on his job working for a slick Member of Parliament. There are two despicable brothers whose loathing for each other is only topped by their determination to become their wealthy aunt’s heirs at the expense of the sister they’ve already abandoned once before. One brother is businessman who draws a careful distinction between himself and a criminal by observing that, “…the businessman has imagination.” The other brother has a son he’s raising in his image, and a daughter who so desperately wants to be free of her family, she fantasizes about a pirate career.

Then we meet (again) the irresistible Miss Lucy Landseer, writer and newly-minted consulting detective. Instead of a celibate, borderline-sociopath, and very peculiarly-dressed amateur detective with a less intelligent Dr. Watson sidekick, brilliant sibling Mycroft, and university professor Moriarty as arch-enemy, Lucy is a self-reliant, decidedly non-celibate, detective who solves crimes by asking questions and writing down clues in her notebook, all with only the occasional help from her compliant, supportive lover—a university professor who isn’t anybody’s nemesis. Instead of insisting the plot thickens, the game’s afoot, or even “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth,” the eminently practical Lucy shares her philosophy: “the investigating mind works better when it can see the actual places in which events occurred.” 

If you like your mysteries in multiples, your tropes both visible and upside down, your settings both historically exact and contemporaneously delightful, and your characters varied, funny, and heart-tugging, then this series is for you.

If you haven’t seen this series before, I strongly urge you to start from the beginning. If the cast are old friends and new acquaintances, then sit back for a wild trip through Victorian London as only Carol Hedges can take you.  Either way, you’re the lucky one!

Before you go… please let me know which of your electronic devices has made it their mission to wreck your life?