by Theodora Goss
Narrator: Kate Reading
Length: 13 hours and 39 minutes
Genres: Fantasy, Mystery, Historical
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Narration: 4 cups
Based on some of literature’s horror and science fiction classics, this is the story of a remarkable group of women who come together to solve the mystery of a series of gruesome murders—and the bigger mystery of their own origins.
Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about the secrets of her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her father’s former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a reward for information leading to his capture… a reward that would solve all of her immediate financial woes.
But her hunt leads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, a feral child left to be raised by nuns. With the assistance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for the elusive Hyde, and soon befriends more women, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherin Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.
When their investigations lead them to the discovery of a secret society of immoral and power-crazed scientists, the horrors of their past return. Now it is up to the monsters to finally triumph over the monstrous.
THE STRANGE CASE OF THE ALCHEMIST’S DAUGHTER written by Theodora Goss and narrated by Kate Reading was an addictive story featuring the daughters of some of Literature’s most famous science fiction and horror characters. Mystery, humor, and twists aplenty make this a worthy listen.
THE STRANGE CASE OF THE ALCHEMIST’S DAUGHTER was a delightful mash-up involving characters from The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Sherlock Holmes, Rappacini’s Daughter, The Island of Dr. Moreau, Frankenstein, and Dracula. It was clever from its delivery to the author’s reinvention of events that occurred. While I have read all of the fore mentioned classics, it is not necessary to have read them. I think most have a vague knowledge of them.
Mary Jekyll’s mother has past leaving her in a financial pickle. A request from their solicitor leads her to discover she has a sister. Notes found in her mother’s desk suggest that the mysterious Mr. Hyde may be alive and in the area. Thinking she might be able to collect the reward money offered she sets out to find him and thus begins our adventure.
Mary enlists the aid of Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Dr. Watson. Gruesome murders in the Chapel Hill area and her father’s notes soon have her hunting down more clues. Along the way, Mary encounters Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherin Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein. She, of course, offers these women an escape from their circumstances and before you know it, they are aiding her in the investigation. Her once empty home is becoming quite full, much to the chagrin of her housekeeper. As she learns their stories, she discovers a secret organization performing ghastly deeds in the name of scientific discovery.
This motley crew of ladies or as they refer to themselves, “monsters” were delightful. First, we have Diana Hyde a boisterous fourteen-year-old who is sure to eat Mary out of house and home. Then there is Beatrice Rappaccini whose breath and touch are deadly. Catherine Moreau is a female with unusual cat-like characteristics and Justine Frankenstein an unusually tall woman with a gentle quality rounds out the group. I loved their conversations and how each contributed to the investigation. It was delightful watching them form a sort of family. They eventually name themselves the Athena Club. I for one am hoping for more adventures with them.
The stories delivery was brilliant. Mary is writing a book, and each contributes their story. Mary reads to them what she has written, and they add comments or make suggestions. Instead of editing, she writes these in as footnotes and sometimes they are hilarious. I was worried at first that this might be too much for audio, but it worked splendidly. Often the pages are directly related to their investigation.
I feel Goss captured each of these characters and her take on the classics from which they came felt genuine, lending an air of authenticity to the tale. Through Mary, she even advises the reader of certain misconceptions or misinformation found in the classic stories themselves. For example, Dr. Frankstein did not kill the bride of Frankenstein before breathing life into her, as is evident by Justine herself. All of these tidbits of information were fascinating.
The tale is a mix of macabre, mystery and delightful humor that comes from the ladies banter amongst themselves. More than once I burst out laughing. Their voices felt genuine, and Kate Reading captured each of their unique personalities. As I listened, each character was easily recognizable from Sherlock to Diana.
From its interactive style to its quirky characters and suspenseful mystery THE STRANGE CASE OF THE ALCHEMIST’S DAUGHTER was a memorable tale that fed my inner nerd.THE STRANGE CASE OF THE ALCHEMIST'S DAUGHTER was a brilliant tale that fed my inner nerd. Click To Tweet