Title: The Mysteries of the Curiosities(Snow and Winter #2)
Author: C.S. Poe
Publisher: DSP Publications
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Page Count: 200
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Life has been pretty great for Sebastian Snow. The Emporium is thriving and his relationship with NYPD homicide detective, Calvin Winter, is everything he’s ever wanted. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, Sebastian’s only cause for concern is whether Calvin should be taken on a romantic date. It’s only when an unknown assailant smashes the Emporium’s window and leaves a peculiar note behind, that all plans get pushed aside in favor of another mystery.
Sebastian is quickly swept up in a series of grisly yet seemingly unrelated murders. The only connection tying the deaths together are curiosities from the lost museum of P.T. Barnum. Despite Calvin’s attempts to keep Sebastian out of the investigation, someone is forcing his hand, and it becomes apparent that the entire charade exists for Sebastian to solve. With each clue that’ll bring him closer to the killer, he’s led deeper into Calvin’s official cases.
It’s more than just Sebastian’s livelihood and relationship on the line—it’s his very life.
This could be read as a standalone, but I recommend reading the first in the series to establish the characters backgrounds.
Nevermore (Book 1) and Curiosities (Book 2) are classic mystery ‘cozies’, fitting the format of owner of [insert quaint small store here] is threatened and they start sleuthing on their own much to the chagrin of the local sheriff/detective.
Despite the formulaic plot, I LOVE these books! Honestly, I enjoy Snow and Winter so much more than about 98% of the cozies out there. It’s probably because of Sebastian and Calvin’s romance that this series totally works for me.
Yes, there are issues with the book – I’ve already mentioned it’s formulaic, the ‘mystery’ was a bit over the top, the big reveal at the end left me more perplexed than anything, and the ending was a bit too similar to “Nevermore” for my tastes. I would have liked to have seen something other than what happened (trying to avoid spoilers).
And yet, as I said above, I absolutely ADORE the interaction between Sebastian and Calvin, Sebastian and his Dad, Sebastian and Max. The supporting characters are just that, supporting. The additional sub-characters (Snow land lord, Quinn, even Neil) add just enough tension to prevent things from sliding into sweetness overkill.
I’d also like to add that Sebastian’s inability to see color – in my humble opinion – is a brilliant plot devise and so well integrated into the story. The carnations Calvin gives Seb is a great example:
”It was at least two dozen carnations, all wrapped carefully in heavy plastic to hold them in place and tied with a big bow. The shades of gray varied, so I assumed they were quite colorful.”
So, yeah… I could gush some more about Sebastian and Calvin, Seb’s Dad, Max’s unwavering support and enthusiasm, Neil being conflicted, and more. I could pick apart the whole “mystery/who-done-it”. But come the last page, bottom line is, I adore these books.