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The Streets of Babylon, Carina Burman – review and giveaway

Euthanasia Bondeson is a Swedish author enticed to visit England by the spectacle known as the 1851 Great Exhibition, at least until her companion, Agnes, goes missing.  Euthanasia is by no means a detective, but she teams up with inspector Owain Evans to find her friend before it’s too late.

I found this book highly amusing, which I’m not sure I’m supposed to feel in a mystery.  I’m not sure – mysteries aren’t my genre, although historical fiction is.  It wasn’t harrowing at all, probably thanks to Euthanasia’s infectious way of shrugging off the worst of things until going off into the thick of them.  She does her share of spying and dressing up as a man to get into the seedy London underworld in an attempt to put the pieces together and find her missing friend.  There are a lot of pieces, as numerous crimes are going on at the same time!  In addition, the London underworld is depicted in some detail, which is definitely something that I enjoyed, and it’s easy to see why its denizens would shrug off the appearance of a woman dressed as a man.

Sometimes the wording in this novel is a bit awkward, but I think that’s due to the translation.  The characters are all viewed through Euthanasia’s sometimes rose-colored glasses, particularly her favorite, Professor Devindra (who has a very long last name that I keep thinking is that of one of my professors).  I think what this mystery best succeeds at is making a character out of Euthanasia.  It’s entirely her tale, and she may not be entirely realistic, but she’s great company.  As a minor note, I also love the way the chapter headings start with “In which”.  It just helps to give the whole book a quirky feel.

I do have some reservations with the book – the plot is all over the place and hard to keep track of and like I mentioned before, no one ever seems to be in danger, although they’re all supposed to be.  There’s very little suspense.  I would probably still recommend this book, though, just because it’s a good time and pure escapism.  Euthanasia is a great character and the plot is there, if a bit scattered.  All in all, an entertaining read. Buy this book on Amazon.

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And this leads me to the fun part (for you all) – the giveaway!  I’m giving away a free paperback copy of this book.   All you have to do is leave a comment on this post.  If you blog about my contest, I’ll give you another entry.  The contest will be open until midnight Eastern Time, July 31st.  This book is small, so I’m willing to ship international.  Good luck!

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