Gail Carriger Interviews Alexis Hall About The Affair of the Mysterious Letter

My dear Gentle Reader, I am an unashamed admirer of Alexis Hall’s work. My particular favorite is For Real, and you can read my review on Goodreads.

So when I heard about The Affair of the Mysterious Letter I was thrilled.

I mean just look at that cover? It’s obviously something fab!

Alexis stopped by the blog for an interview and so here we go…

About you, the Author! Alexis Hall

Tea or coffee and how do you take it?

Tea please, lapsang for preference.

Please describe your personal style for author appearances.


If I were to observe the writer beast in its native environment, what surprising thing might I see? What does the environment look like?

I’m afraid I’m a walking cliché so very little in my immediate environment is remotely unexpected:

I mean, just looking at my desk right now, I’ve got a copy of Vampire the Masquerade 5th Edition, a Rider-Waite tarot deck, an empty teacup, an Xbox controller, and four rolls of electrical tape. I’m really not sure I could be a bigger nerd stereotype if I tried.

If you could travel in any type of conveyance, what would it be?

Does on a whale count? I mean, I know it wouldn’t be fun in practice — I’d probably drown, and parking would be a nightmare — but it sounds awesome.

No deviating: vanilla or chocolate ice cream on a plain or a sugar cone?
(Gail will use this to determine your level of sanity.)

Vanilla. Sugar cone.

(Almost but probably not quite sane.)

What’s most likely to make you laugh?

Right now? Watching my government trying to negotiate Brexit.

Since writers inevitably end up in the bar, what’s your poison?

A gentle suggestion we go to a coffee shop instead.

About Alexis

Alexis Hall is a pile of threadbare hats and used teacups given a semblance of life by forbidden sorcery. He has a degree in very hard sums from a university that should, by all rights, be fictional.

About your book!

What should readers eat while consuming your novel?

A 7% solution of cocaine. Or biscuits.

What form does evil take within its pages?

Bad manners and a lack of imagination.

Which one of your characters would you most want to kiss and why?

That’s a difficult question to answer. Wyndham would find it terribly improper and untoward, Shaharazad would probably laugh in my face, Ms Hive is a corpse inhabited by wasps (not judging if that’s what you’re into) and everyone else is either taken, wouldn’t be that into me, or in extreme cases, exists beyond time and space as a half-ruined remnant of a war against an enemy that never was.

What’s your favorite period in history and does it influence your world building?

I’m incredibly bad at having favourites. And I tend to take a kind of magpie approach to, well, everything, including history. Obviously, the major influence on The Affair of the Mysterious Letter is the Holmesverse which is sort of a very specific take on, when you think about it, quite a large chunk of British history (Holmes was canonically active between something like 1880 and 1915).

Which one of your characters would you most like to slap and why?

Much like the kissing question, this could go, very very wrong very very quickly.

Without spoilers, what’s the funnest (or funniest) part of the book?

I know everyone says this, but it’s spectacularly hard to make this sort of judgment about your own work. I do have to admit to having a certain fondness for shark punching though.

If your story smelled of something, what would that be?

Absinthe and gunpowder.

The Book Description

Upon returning to the city of Khelathra-Ven after five years fighting a war in another universe, Captain John Wyndham finds himself looking for somewhere to live, and expediency forces him to take lodgings at 221b Martyrs Walk. His new housemate is Ms. Shaharazad Haas, a consulting sorceress of mercurial temperament and dark reputation.

When Ms. Haas is enlisted to solve a case of blackmail against one of her former lovers, Miss Eirene Viola, Captain Wyndham is drawn into a mystery that leads him from the salons of the literary set to the drowned back-alleys of Ven and even to a prison cell in lost Carcosa. Along the way he is beset by criminals, menaced by pirates, molested by vampires, almost devoured by mad gods, and called upon to punch a shark.

But the further the companions go in pursuit of the elusive blackmailer, the more impossible the case appears. Then again, in Khelathra-Ven reality is flexible, and the impossible is Ms. Haas’ stock-in-trade.

Thank you Alexis, for stopping by!

Miss Gail’s Final Thoughts

I will add something I think prospective readers might want to know, this book is built on a Sherlock Holmes chassis.

Yours in interviewing madness,

Miss Gail


Gail talks about Alexis Hall’s other works in this blog post: 8 Book That Will Comfort Your Soul 

If you want to know whenever I post a review, follow me on BookBub or Goodreads.

Yours (destined to be killed by a tumbling TBR pile),

Miss Gail

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The 5th Gender (A Tinkered Stars Mystery as G. L. Carriger).

Amazon | Elsewhere | Direct from Gail
Audio is coming. 

Sci-fi queer romance meets cozy mystery in which a hot space station cop meets the most adorable purple alien ever (lavender, pulease!) from a race with 5 genders.


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Revue de la Mode 1880 Gazette de la famille

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

“I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect.”

~ Oscar Wilde

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

“The first chapter sells the book. The last chapter sells the next book.”

~ Mickey Spillane

Book News:

Purple Dress for 5th Gender in Denver

Quote of the Day:

“Receipt? Oh, no, no, thank you. I don’t want to be reminded how much I’ve spent on books.”

~ Borderlands Books’ hilarious “Overheard in the store” May News

Your Moment of Gail


“I suspect it may be like the difference between a drinker and an alcoholic; the one merely reads books, the other needs books to make it through the day.”

(Interview with The Booklovers blog, September 2010)” ~ Gail Carriger

Questions about Gail’s Parasolverse? Wiki that sheez!


Posted by Gail Carriger

2 Responses

  1. Becky aka The Chocolate Corset said:

    So if i choose chocolate ice cream in a cup am I insane? 🙂

    1. Gail Carriger said:

      It’s not an option. There is no deviating. You must pick a cone. If you’re GF it can be a GF cone, but you MUST pick one. My test. My rules.

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