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Doyle After Death
John Shirley

Witness Impulse
10/22/13 / ISBN: 9780062304995
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Fantasy

Reviewed by Linda Morelli

Nicholas Fogg awakens from his accidental death to find himself at Garden Rest. He's greeted by Fiona, who assures Nicholas he chose the place as his afterlife home. Definitely feeling lost, he wanders until he meets several characters and learns there are some differences between his new home and Earth, and even more similarities. People are still alive, only in a different kind of body. They can have many of the pleasures of the past, including sex, but residents in Garden Rest are not immune to murder.

After Nicholas finds a place to stay, he's introduced to the town council representative and unofficial constable, the famous author, Arthur Conan Doyle. Upon learning that Nicholas was a private investigator in his "Before" life, Doyle asks Nicholas to help him solve a murder. That murder leads to the discovery of a second body. Then, the frantic hunt for an elusive killer.

Doyle After Death is a wonderful who-done-it, a delightfully unusual mystery set in a surrealistic world, vividly sketched by an author who knows how to create a believable environment where anything can happen - and often does. I enjoyed Nicholas, the gritty detective who has no qualms about the failures of his past and who finds a salvation of sorts in the afterlife. John Shirley's rendering of Arthur Conan Doyle is excellent, as Doyle was an avid "Spiritualist" who believed in the existence of a soul and searched for proof of the afterlife.

What I loved most about this novel are the main characters, Nicholas and Doyle, who are expertly drawn and have emotions that make them almost real. Excellent dialogue, sparked with wonderful touches of wry humor, and a solid mystery plot made this mystery highly enjoyable.

Reviewed 2013