Review: The Mystery of the Turkish Cipher by Deanna Baran

Deanna Baran has beaten me to the punch.

I’m a fanatic about honey, and quietly stockpile single-cut honey from all over the world because I too, believe in medicinal properties of honey taken from specific plants (and the flavors?  Don’t get me started on the flavors!!).  My official state’s flower is known for its infamous properties for specific effects which makes me leery of assuming anyone else’s honey is “a-ok.”

But it was only a temporary disappointment that Ms. Baran has written something I’ve toyed with; she does an incredible job of bringing out a lovely story.  The trick to a straightforward mystery is keeping its identity a secret until the very end.

In an era where open lines of communication were the norm, ciphered messages, letters and telegraph wires were rampant. Holmes enjoys ciphers and the way they hide the obvious.  His method of walking Watson through his demonstration of how he cracked the code of his client’s correspondence is true to form, for Holmes can be his most charming and reachable when he is showing another a new method of problem-solving. He loves learning, and we suspect he likes to give others the tools they need to learn for themselves.

Geeks can enjoy the long, gnarled threads of history, science, social politics, society’s norms, botany, and even aggravating family bonds in this smoothly written and all-too short short story.  I enjoyed every word.

We are quite lucky that David Marcum managed to pull this writer into the MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes stories.  I will be watching for this name in the future.



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