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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Review: Winter at Death's Hotel by Kenneth M. Cameron

Title: Winter at Death's Hotel
Author: Kenneth M. Cameron
Format: ARC
Publisher: Orion
Publish Date: 2011
Source: I received a copy from the author; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a historical-fiction fan.
  • You're a mystery fan.
What's the Story?:

From "New York, January 1896. Arthur Conan Doyle, the renowned creator of Sherlock Holmes, arrives at the Britannic Hotel with his wife, Louisa, ready to begin his first American tour. While he prepares his lectures, Louisa becomes mesmerised by this brash, vibrant, dangerous city, especially when a woman's brutally butchered corpse is found in a Bowery alley and Louisa is convinced from the artist's sketch in the paper that she'd seen the victim at the hotel. Arthur is patronisingly skeptical about her womanly 'fantasies' but when she sprains her ankle and is forced to remain at the hotel while Arthur goes on tour, Louisa cannot resist pursuing her intuitions. And when more bodies start appearing, she's convinced that she holds the key to the killings. With the help of the hotel's hard-bitten detective and an ambitious female news reporter, Louisa starts to piece together a story of madness, murder and depravity - a story that leads inexorably back to the hotel itself, the strange story of its unique construction and a madman who is watching her every move."

My Two Cents:

Arthur Conan Doyle is still very well known for his Sherlock Holmes books. "Winter at Death's Hotel" takes place during Doyle's first American tour. He brings along his wife and when she hurts her ankle, she's forced to stay behind although it seems adventure and intrigue stay with her in NYC. This gritty historical-fiction thriller is filled with mystery and will excite fans of Doyle's books who want to know more about Doyle's family life.

I was intrigued that this story focused on Louisa, Arthur Conan Doyle's wife. I knew nothing about her before I read this book. I really enjoyed reading about her. For a woman of her time, she's quite adventurous. She starts off almost a little spoiled in the book but as the book goes on, she really comes into her own as the book goes on.

The mystery in the book was good. I don't want to say too much as I don't want to give anything away but I definitely didn't see the twist coming. Oh how I love being surprised by twists! Be warned that there are a couple parts of this book that are pretty hard to take. The Bowery Butcher is incredibly brutal (think Jack the Ripper type murders).

The book started out a little bit slowly for me but picked up as we begin to find more out about the Bowery Butcher. The ending was a little abrupt. I wanted more of a conclusion. Why does the Bowery Butcher do what he does? What was his motivation? What happens when Arthur comes back to New York? I really just wanted more closure.



  1. I like mysteries but historical fiction isn't my thing, so I'll have to think about this book.

  2. This sounds interesting. While I'm not a huge mystery fan, I am a big fan of historical fiction!

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  3. Despite the slow pace, I think I would enjoy this one, lovely review Meg. I am a huge SH fan, both in books and in movies.


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