Review: Lord John and the Hand of Devils

Review: Lord John and the Hand of DevilsLord John and the Hand of Devils by Diana Gabaldon
Series: Lord John Grey #0.5, #1.5, #1.5, #2.5, #2.5
Published by Delta on November 25th 2008
Genres: Historical, Mystery
Pages: 336
Goodreads
three-half-stars

This is a collection of three novellas about Lord John which have all been previously published. The stories about Lord John are a spinoff of the Outlander series.

LORD JOHN AND THE HELLFIRE CLUB: Lord John is approached by a man who bears a resemblance to Jaime and agrees to meet with the man about a political problem. The man is soon murdered and Lord John investigates and is drawn into the Hellfire Club. This is a very short story (around 40 pages) which gives a glimpse into Lord John’s life and a quick investigation, but it didn’t really stick with me. Neither the mystery, nor the life glimpse seemed that grand. Okay story for fans, but not a necessary read. Rating 2.5 stars.

LORD JOHN AND THE SUCCUBUS: Lord John is in Prussia and encounters another murder. This time the suspect is a succubus (female demon). Lord John investigates the death. This is a longer story (about 100 pages) and has a bit of supernatural flare which won’t surprise readers of the Outlander series. The mystery was intriguing to be because of the supernatural possibilities mixed with possible prosaic answers. The closeness of the possibility of supernatural answers feels really time appropriate. The story was enjoyable and I liked the resolution. Rating: 3.5 stars.

LORD JOHN AND THE HAUNTED SOLDIER: Lord John is engaged in an inquiry as to the explosion of a cannon during battle. Through a series of events, Lord John ends up with the only evidence that the cannon was poorly constructed, perhaps even criminally so. The novellas in this series have so far not interested me as much as the previous novel. I was interested in the investigation but perhaps the parts of this novella that overlap with the Outlander series was the most interesting part to me. Rating: 3.5 stars.

three-half-stars

Review: Lord John and the Private Matter

Review: Lord John and the Private MatterLord John and the Private Matter (Lord John Grey, #1) by Diana Gabaldon
Series: Lord John Grey #1
Published by Delta on October 26th 2004
Genres: Historical, Mystery
Pages: 334
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION: A dense and intriguing political and social mystery. The tone of this book is different from the Outlander books because it is focused on the mystery, but there is plenty of historical doings. And I love the character of Lord John Grey.

THE STORY: Lord John Grey has got a family matter on his mind (he’s concerned that his cousin might be betrothed to a man with the pox) when he is tasked with investigating the murder of a comrade who might have been a traitor. He can’t turn away from either so he works on finding the truth on both matters.

OPINION: For readers looking for another OUTLANDER, it will not be found here. However, some of the same elements from that series — a sense of historical presence, intriguing tidbits from history and compelling characters.

This book also is simply fun in many ways with Lord John investigating a murder and also investigating his cousins betrothed. I really liked his character here as we are treated to seeing his cleverness, his determination and his essential kindness.

We get to see how Lord John struggles with his homosexuality — not who his is, but how he has to hide himself where society will destroy him because of who he is. We see him dealing with how to live his life when he has to live his truth in the shadows.

But mostly this book is about Lord John’s investigation, the political intrigue and murder. Lord John travels the underbelly of society in order to talk with people. The books feels like the genre of mysteries of Agatha Christie based very much on the talking and personalities of the people with a few physical clues dropped in. I have a fondness for these types of mysteries and liked this one.

WORTH MENTIONING: Jamie doesn’t appear in this book but is mentioned.

CONNECTED BOOKS: LORD JOHN AND THE PRIVATE MATTER is the first novel in the Lord John Grey series. This is a spinoff of the Outlander series. It is not necessary, however, to read the Outlander series to enjoy this one and the genre and tone of this series is very different as the books focus on mysteries/crimes to be solved.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars