I'm happy to have Liza O'Connor back as a guest. As I've mentioned before, I love her books, from her science fiction romances to her historical romantic suspense. I found this series last year and thoroughly enjoyed the main characters Xavier and Vic. Toxic Diamonds is the eighth book in the series. While it's always more interesting to read books in order, I haven't caught up with all of them yet, but I had no trouble reading this as a standalone. Without further ado, here's the lowdown on Toxic Diamonds.
Tubs tells a childhood story about himself: whenever his father was drunk, he’d try to drown Tubs by sticking his head in a bucket of water. Only Tubs could hold his breath for twenty minutes. Fortunately, his drunken father would lose interest and wander off for another drink long before twenty minutes were up.
So, can a person really hold their breath for twenty minutes? Certainly not everyone, but, some can. The current record is 24 minutes and 3 seconds.
Determining whom to trust is getting very hard, indeed. This may be the most trying cases imaginable. Director Stone has gone missing and it appears Ministers of Parliament are involved. Xavier is arrested and placed in a jail meant to kill him, while Vic, disguised as a woman, attempts to locate the Minister of External Affairs and ask for his help.
Everyone is called in to assist: Jacko, his wife Alice, their son, Pete, Samson, the Crime Lord, David and Claire, Tubs and his wife, Sara, the boys: Cannon and Ham, plus the bloodhound, Arroo.
The Wasp who escaped punishment for her attempts to murder her bigamist husband’s first wife last year is back. Vic discovers love letters between Ben, their terrible secretary and the Wasp. Worse yet, he shared Xavier’s financial advice with the Wasp, making her and her husband very wealthy.
With Stone missing, and Barns and Meyers stretched to their limits, Vic decides it’s time to train more of the Scotland Yard officers in intuitive and deductive reasoning. While only half the class makes it through her two-day course, everyone is pleased with her results.
Be warned, Vic’s sister, Claire, is becoming more difficult than ever. Gregory thinks she is going mad.
“Xavier! I think he snuck out and might be in the basement with the dead guy. Whatever this smell is could be killing him as we speak.”
Without waiting, she and Tubs took off. Gregory yelled for them to wait, but no one listened. In fact, Dr. Connors followed them.
When they got to the basement door, wet putty laid in strips at the bottom of the steps. Seeing the doctor behind Vic, Tubs focused on the doctor. “The door’s been open, so Xavier is probably inside. I can hold my breath a long time. Let me bring him upstairs. Otherwise, I’ll probably have to rescue both of you as well.”
Vic paused, but Dr. Connors just grabbed her arm and pulled her upstairs. The moment they closed the basement door, her heart wrenched. “What can knock a person out so quickly?”
“I’m not certain. But chemists have discovered several gases, some of which can be deadly.”
“Such as the gases that form from the sewer lines. That’s why the toilets should have a kink to hold water. It prevents the foul gases from entering into the bathroom and possibly killing the residents in their sleep.”
Vic began to pace. “Why has Tubs not returned?”
“Let me go down and see,” Dr. Connors suggested. “We cannot risk you.”
“Like you aren’t vital as well?” she yelled. She then ran to the door and opened it just as Tubs climbed up the steep stairs with Xavier hanging over his shoulder.
When he reached the first floor he handed an unconscious Xavier to Dr. Connors, took a deep breath and returned downstairs.
“Tubs, come back!”
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Liza O’Connor was raised badly by feral cats, left the South/Midwest and wandered off to find nicer people on the east coast. There she worked for the meanest man on Wall Street, while her psychotic husband tried to kill her three times. (So much for finding nicer people.) Then one day she declared enough, got a better job, divorced her husband, and fell in love with her new life where people behaved nicely. But all those bad behaviors has given her lots of fodder for her humorous books. Please buy these books, because otherwise, she’ll become grumpy and write troubled novels instead. They will likely traumatize you.
You have been warned.
The Adventures of Xavier & Vic Sleuth series: (Late Victorian/Mystery/Romance)
The Troublesome Apprentice — The greatest sleuth in Victorian England hires a young man who turns out to be a young woman.
The Missing Partner — Opps! The greatest sleuth in Victorian England goes missing, leaving Vic to rescue him, a suffragette, and about 100 servants. Not to mention an eviscerating cat. Yes, let’s not mention the cat.
A Right to Love — A romantic detour for Jacko. Want to see how amply rewarded Jacko was when he & Vic save an old woman from Bedlam?
The Mesmerist — The Mesmerist can control people from afar and make them murder for her. Worse yet, Xavier Thorn has fallen under her spell.
Well Kept Secrets — The problems with secrets is that they always come to light, no matter how you wish to silence them.
Pack of Trouble — Changes are a part of life, but these changes almost kill Vic.
The Darkest Days — Muddled cases make Vic very grumpy.
The CrimeLords’ War — Vic is almost killed twice as she tries to prevent a CrimeLords’ War, stop a female Russian spy, and locate Xavier.
Toxic Diamonds — The Queen’s Diamonds have been stolen, Director Stone of Scotland Yard is missing, and there is a toxic gas that may kill hundreds of Londoners.
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