Review: The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal by K. J. Charles

I figure it’s good for everyone if I branch out into occasional book reviews, and I have recently read a book worth reviewing, so here we are: The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal by K. J. Charles.

I went into this book knowing absolutely nothing about it, except that I had bought it as part of a bundle and as such was damned well going to read it no matter what: which, as it turns out, was a good thing, because otherwise I doubt I would ever have picked it up. Here is a quick run-through of my impressions:

First impression: “I honestly can’t tell if this is erotica written with an eye to character, world-building, and humour, or if it’s speculative mystery with a lot of gratuitously explicit sex in…?”

Second impression: “All right, so this is basically Sherlock Holmes, if Sherlock Holmes were about ghosts and sex and, on occasion, sexy ghosts (try not to think about the incestual implications of ghostly sex scenes involving dead relatives).”

Third impression: “Haha this is awesome actually”

Fourth impression: “Right, having now read the entire book, I think I can safely put it down as a romance novel.”

Romance isn’t really my cup of tea, which is why I doubt I would have read it on my own, and this makes it difficult to compare it to its fellows. I suspect that most of the things I liked least about it (it was awfully sexy, a bit sappy, and ran slightly towards wish-fulfillment) are in fact staples of the genre. What is, however, my precise cup of tea is low-brow humour wrapped up in elevated Victorian diction, and if that’s what you’re into The Secret Casebook is a veritable goldmine. Large portions of the book pretty much feel like you’re sitting beside a Victorian man in a waistcoat who is nudging you in the ribs with his elbow, winking heavily, and going, “Eh? Eh??”

It’s also quite well-written overall, but the humour is why I’d recommend this book even to those who aren’t usually fans of romance as a genre.

Avoid if: you are a child or easily embarrassed by sex scenes.

Definitely read if: you enjoy some combination of Victorian diction, paranormal mystery, and/or romance; you’re interested in historical ghost stories; and/or you have always wanted for Holmes and Watson to hook up.

You can find a description and buy links here.


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