Oh Boy! Oh Bailey! You’re just trying to make something of yourself. You’ve got the grit and the gumption. Now you just need a some luck, and a little love wouldn’t hurt either. When your horoscope says the man of your dreams is going to knock on your door, you’re ready. But the one that shows up isn’t the man you want. Still, he might just be the man you need.
Beautiful Monsters, a novel by Brian Anthony & Bill Walker, with illustrations by Rick Geary
In London, in the year 1916, an ailing Sherlock Holmes is attended by his old friend and colleague Dr. John Watson. Sensing that time is short, Holmes relays one final, remarkable story to his biographer, that of Holmes’s own mentor, Professor Harry Nelson Beadle.
In 1874 thirty-year-old Professor Beadle, laureate at Cambridge University with degrees in biology, anthropology, and sociology, is widely respected by faculty and students alike. But the Professor’s obsession with his theories concerning the cross-evolution of humans and insects–beautiful monsters—proves to be his undoing. Based on a spurious piece of evidence, the Professor spends years researching and writing a tome, which is eventually published to some acclaim. But the price is high; his obsession costs the Professor his position at the University, his wife, and his young daughter.
Jim Beam, an American, a former student, and an unwitting participant in the deceit, belatedly reveals the terrible truth to the Professor: that the empirical evidence was fake! Thus, begins a forty-year odyssey in which Professor Beadle, aided and abetted by his former student, searches the world for the thousand printed copies of his book, Beautiful Monsters—buying, begging, and sometimes stealing them, with the goal of eventually destroying every last copy.
Early in their journey, Beam meets a lovely young woman, Mabel, and the couple wed. Mabel is initially sympathetic to the Professor’s plight, but as the obsession with tracking down the book grows and takes hold of her husband, their marriage begins to suffer. The impending tragedy is completely lost on Beam, but not on the Professor, who sees an eerie similarity to his own failed marriage. Could the book—with its terrible invocation of insect-men—be cursed?
In his quest to erase “this published monument to my own stupidity,” the Professor and Beam cross paths with an odd assortment of characters, including Thomas Edison, a giant, George Méliès, and on the final leg of their bizarre journey, Sherlock Holmes himself.
Summertime, and the living is… not as easy as Mina had hoped. But, she finally has a full-time job, working alongside her new boyfriend, Jack (that is, Chef Jacque, when they’re at Squirrel Run Acres.) That’s good, right? Except that poor Mina and Jack have been working together a lot lately–specifically fourteen hour shifts in a sizzling kitchen–for months.
When tempers flare hotter than fat on a fire, Jack steps up and splurges for a romantic get-away to Cape May Point, New Jersey. All is forgiven and soon sunset beaches wink from the distance, until Mina’s stuck with dog sitting duties for Jim, her buddy Bauser’s three-legged dog. Complicating the canine conundrum is Bauser’s last minute plea to deliver Jim to a client location, in Bumville, New Jersey. No biggie, except that Bumville lies in the polar opposite direction from Cape May. And Vito and Miriam also happen to be visiting the client–who is none other than Vito’s niece, Helena Pryzchntchynzski. Oy.
Further jeopardizing their journey through Jersey is Jim’s discovery of Babette Bernstein. Her murder launches a connect-the-dots of corpses that ripples dangerously around Mina and Jack. Oh–and the kidnappings, plural–are a little scary, too.
Will Mina and Jack escape the bad guys? Will they survive their first vacation together? More importantly, will they finally have one?
If you’re in the mood for funny fiction, a cast of chatty pets, and unsolved murders–read on. Juicy Jersey packs a roller coaster ride of murders, mayhem and mojitos. Come root for Mina, boo the bad guys and nibble a nosh, courtesy of the author’s recipes in the back of the book, vetted by Lund’s real-life favorite chef, her husband, Chef Andrew.