The Adventures of Isabel

An Epitome Apartments Mystery

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Pub Date 20 Oct 2020 | Archive Date 14 Oct 2020

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Book one in a mystery series featuring a queer, nameless amateur detective is ambisexual Kinsey Millhone meets Canadian Lisbeth Salander

Rescued from torpor and poverty by the need to help a good friend deal with the murder of her beloved granddaughter, our downsized-social-worker protagonist and her cat, Bunnywit, are jolted into a harsh, street-wise world of sex, lies, and betrayal, to which they respond with irony, wit, intelligence (except for the cat), and tenacity. With judicious use of the Oxford comma, pop culture trivia, common mystery tropes, and a keen eye for deceit, our protagonist swaggers through the mean streets of — yes, a Canadian city! —  and discovers that what seems at first to be just a grotty little street killing is actually the surface of a grandiose and glittering set of criminal schemes.

Book one in a mystery series featuring a queer, nameless amateur detective is ambisexual Kinsey Millhone meets Canadian Lisbeth Salander

Rescued from torpor and poverty by the need to help a good...

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ISBN 9781770415553

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Average rating from 36 members

Featured Reviews

"The Adventures of Isabel" was an amusing book. The story deals with some heavy subjects -- murder, assault, drugs, fraud, harassment and physical attacks on LGBTQ individuals -- and the author treats these issues seriously. However, some of the characters, especially the main character, Isabel, are rather irreverent in how they talk about their experiences. This is in part a defense or coping mechanism, but Isabel is also just somewhat snarky. As a result, it makes for some rather amusing dialogue. The main character, Isabel, is an ambisexual former social worker who lives in an apartment with her cat, Bunnywit, and, unable to find another social work position, is considering making a business of the other thing she does well (if you catch her innuendo), when she receives a phone call from her very gay best friend Denis, who wants her to accompany his neighbor, Maddy Pritchard, otherwise known as Hep (due to her striking resemblance to Katherine Hepburn), to the morgue to check out a dead body that is likely her granddaughter, also named Maddy. Hep and Denis convince Isabel to try to solve Maddy's murder, knowing that a dead prostitute is not exactly going to be high priority for the police. The efforts to solve the murder result in Isabel making some new friends, making some dangerous enemies, becoming reacquainted with some former associates, and having some rather interesting (and at times very unpleasant) experiences.

I don't want to say anything more about the storyline because a lot of what makes the story so enjoyable is finding out what happens next and how the characters react to the new revelations or events. The characters are creative and well-developed and there is some rather good dialogue. There is also some significant personal growth/reevaluation of past beliefs with some of the characters, which proves critical in solving the murder and preventing additional crimes. The author includes some pretty good surprise twists in the story. I would certainly recommend this book.

I received a copy of the e-book via NetGalley in exchange for a review.

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I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review of the story.


The entire book made me fell I was sharing a rich, mellow red wine while a friend kept me on the edge of my seat as she recounted her day.

If you like strong narrative, strong characters who blindly keep pushing through to find answers, THIS book is for you.

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What I loved about this novel was the inclusion of a diverse group of fully developed characters and how their varied identities have an impact on their lives without referring to the character's choices in life. Neither didthe genre consume the book, but instead allowed for the social commentary from the nightlife of an urban Canadian city; It's up to you if you view it as seedy or not.

Is that the key to postmodernism? Well-written and realistic dialogue and not letting the reader in on every single movement of the daily minutiae of the narrator's everyday life gave the plot a good pace. In particular, the descriptions of pain were accurate and devoid of the usual cliches, and I'm grateful to Candas for using such explicit creativity to put a voice on the pain I sometimes experience.

The realities of detective work give the story some realism, and I loved the red boots, the use of the list and how they acted as a developed presence throughout the story; an excellent shortcut for pain too! I felt that the author dealt with heavy subjects and combined them with a realistic view and dialogue of a feisty and irreverent narrator to ensure it was palatable. I recognised lots of myself in the narrator; mostly frustrated by systemic gender inequalities and a savagely sweary womxn in their 30's.

I loved everything from the witty chapter titles, the non-conformity of genre stereotypes and increasingly the nascent, unnamed detective who is so quirky and fun that I can't wait to read the next instalment.

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