The Mystery of the Curiosities (Crabbypatty’s Review)

Title: The Mystery of the Curiosities (Snow and Winter #2)
Author: C.S. Poe
Publisher: DSP Publications
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Genre(s): Mystery / Suspense, Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 200
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
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.

The Mystery of the Curiosities is the second book in the Snow and Winter series. Yeah, I suppose it could be read as a standalone, but you’ll definitely want to read The Mystery of Nevermore to learn how Seb and Calvin met.

“When writing my obituary, just be sure it says, ‘Sebastian was the death of him.’” He [Calvin] turned and walked to the exit.
“Ha, ha,” I said loudly, following. “Heart disease is more believable.”
Calvin turned as he held the door open for Quinn and I. “Not once people meet you, Seb.”

It’s only been a matter of weeks since Seb and Calvin officially started dating and now they are immersed in another mystery, this one involving P.T. Barnum’s famous museum of curiosities that burned to the ground in 1865. Someone is tempting Seb with clues (“I know you like mysteries” and “He lost the whales but not the mermaid”) and murders to solve. Of course, Calvin demands that Seb let the police do their job, but knowing Seb, yeah, that’s not gonna happpen.

When I stood up, he put a firm hand on my shoulder and pushed me back into the seat. “Not you. Stay.” “I’m not a dog.” “Dogs take better direction.”

I absolutely love the dynamic between Calvin and Sebastian. Sure the sexual chemistry between the two is sizzling (with a side of dominance), but the bottom line is Sebastian makes Calvin happy. And Sebastian? He worries about Calvin and his PTSD and his stress:

“But I want to help him. I want to help him sleep through the night without dreaming about the dead children in Afghanistan he’s convinced died because he wasn’t a good enough soldier. I want him to stop crying, to stop being afraid. He’s the bravest and strongest man I know, and he thinks the exact opposite of himself.”

I am in awe of C.S. Poe’s writing skills and admire the deftness with which she crafts a mystery while building this weird, touching, supportive, deeply sensual, quirky relationship between Sebastian and Calvin that somehow just plains works for them. My only niggle about the book is the pacing of the story. After a brilliant misdirect about the killer (is it someone very familiar to Seb?), the answers finally start coming around 90% into the story and the resolution felt somewhat rushed. I highly recommend this book and anxiously await the next book in the series!

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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of The Mystery of the Curiosities provided by DSP Publications in exchange of an honest review.


Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.  Frederick Douglas I distinctly remember that day in school when, all of a sudden, those squiggles on the page made sense and I could read. It has changed my life in ways I still cannot comprehend. My favorite M/M tropes are friends-to-lovers, murder/mysteries, amnesia, hurt/healing and historicals. Shifters, vampires, paranormal? Meh ... not in my wheelhouse, but I'm a sucker for a well-written well-plotted book, no matter the genre. Favorite authors includes Brandon Witt, Rick R. Reed, Abigail Roux, Jay Northcote, JL Merrow, KJ Charles, Lane Hayes, Marshall Thornton and so many more. A few "badges" from NetGalley: 100 Book Reviews Reviews Published Professional Reader