Title: The Mystery of the Moving Image (Snow and Winter #3)
Author: C.S. Poe
Publisher: DSP Publications
Release Date: September 11, 2018
Page Count: 214
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
It’s summer in New York City, and antique shop owner Sebastian Snow is taking the next big step in his relationship with NYPD homicide detective, Calvin Winter: they’re moving in together. What should have been a wonderful week of playing house and celebrating Calvin’s birthday comes to an abrupt end when a mysterious package arrives at the Emporium.
Inside is a Thomas Edison Kinetoscope, a movie viewer from the nineteenth century, invented by the grandfather of modern cinema, W. K. L. Dickson. And along with it, footage of a murder that took place over a hundred years ago.
Sebastian resists the urge to start sleuthing, even if the culprit is long dead and there’s no apparent danger. But break-ins at the Emporium, a robbery, and dead bodies aren’t as easy to ignore, and Sebastian soon realizes that the century-old murder will lead him to a modern-day killer.
However, even with Sebastian’s vast knowledge of Victorian America and his unrelenting perseverance in the face of danger, this may be the one mystery he won’t survive.
It’s just been six months since the Mystery of the Curiosities, and Sebastian’s world is about to go topsy-turvy again. Sebastian is trying to settle into a new apartment with Calvin, Calvin is getting therapy for his PTSD, and they’re looking forward to some much-needed downtime. But that’s not in the cards. A mystery box arrives at the Emporium containing lost footage and a century old murder at the end. This raises more questions than answers and that’s one mystery Sebastian isn’t going to walk away from.
This should NOT be read as a stand-alone. The first two books establish the background, characters and setting for book three, which are integral to the ending for Mystery of the Moving Image.
I will start with my (small) issues: I found this mystery to be overly convoluted and, this is totally my quirk, it wasn’t grabbing me. I was having a hard time finding the historical aspect of movies and film interesting. So the first/middle part of the book was not as interesting (for me) as I would have hoped. Entirely my quirk.
On top of that, I was struggling with Calvin’s character. Calvin was there, he was supportive, he was indulgent and tolerant of Sebastian’s often poor behavior and Calvin was mostly…meh. Like egg-shell white paint meh. Sebastian’s ex-boyfriend Neil was far more interesting and engaging. The dialog between Neil and Sebastian was witty, snarky, and fun to read. Heck, the dialog between Max and Sebastian was more engaging than Calvin was in this installment.
So those are my points of contention with the plot and characters.
The flip side is, I really did enjoy this latest installment. I liked the addition of Neil. I loved Max. Lest I seem overly harsh on Calvin, I did enjoy the small sweet moments (and a couple hot ones) between Calvin and Sebastian that showed just how much they cared for each other despite a slew of insecurities. I liked seeing a more vulnerable side of Sebastian, especially when he opened up to his Dad.
And what totally cinched the book for me was the ending. I had to go and read it a second time. So frikin’ SWEET!!
I am SO looking forward to the next installment!