Saturday, February 12, 2011

Review: The Sherlockian

Author: Graham Moore
Publisher/Format: Twelve (2010), Hardcover, 368 pages  
Characters: Arthur Conan Doyle, Bram Stoker, Harold White, Alex Cale
Subject: Missing diaries of Arthur Conan Doyle
Setting: London, New York, Switzerland
Genre: Historical fiction
Source: ARC from the publisher

The author claims this is a book of historical fiction. It is certainly heavy on the fiction. I am nowhere close to being an expert on Sherlock Holmes and Arthur Conan Doyle so I'm unable to judge whether the history is accurately portrayed.  I didn't have to read the author's notes to decide that he probably took a lot of liberty with history, and  I had to suspend a lot of belief to get through this double layered story.

The reader is presented a mystery - ala Sherlock Holmes- with many quotes from the venerable clue solver, about events that took place between 1890 and the early 1900's in England, and events that took place in the US in 2010.  The 2010 story involves a young member of the Baker Street Irregulars--Harold  White --who sets out to solve the murder of one of the other members --Alex Kale.  Alex claimed to have been in possession of Arthur Conan Doyle's missing diaries covering a crucial period in his history.  In the meantime, the other story gives us the details of the events as they "actually happened" during the missing diary period.  How the two tie together is revealed at the end.  The stories galloped along, and were fun to long as you are not interested in total historic accuracy.  The device of the two stories running parallel was well done and held my interest.   I'd really be interested in reactions from Sherlock Holmes fans in that Sherlock himself played only a minor role in the story.

Many thanks to Hachette Book Group for providing a review copy.

1 comment:

  1. I don't know if you saw the Masterpiece Theater series of a young Sherlock Holmes in present-day London, but I hope I wasn't alone in disliking it. Sherlock was portrayed as a smart-a.. bore, rude, uncaring, and a just plain awful person. I don't remember the original Sherlock character being so despicable.


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