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In December 1893, Sherlock Holmes-adoring Londoners eagerly opened their Strand magazines, anticipating the detective's next adventure, only to find the unthinkable: his creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, had killed their hero off. London spiraled into mourning -- crowds sported black armbands in grief -- and railed against Conan Doyle as his assassin.
Then in 1901, just as abruptly as Conan Doyle had "murdered" Holmes in "The Final Problem," he resurrected him. Though the writer kept detailed diaries of his days and work, Conan Doyle never explained this sudden change of heart. After his death, one of his journals from the interim period was discovered to be missing, and in the decades since, has never been found.
Or has it?
When literary researcher Harold White is inducted into the preeminent Sherlock Holmes enthusiast society, The Baker Street Irregulars, he never imagines he's about to be thrust onto the hunt for the holy grail of Holmes-ophiles: the missing diary. But when the world's leading Doylean scholar is found murdered in his hotel room, it is Harold - using wisdom and methods gleaned from countless detective stories - who takes up the search, both for the diary and for the killer.
Publishers Weekly Review
© Publishers Weekly
A well-written and compelling novel, worthy of its Holmesian roots. A great read for any Sherlock Holmes enthusiast.
I was so excited about this book after hearing about it on NPR. It's a great idea as historical fiction, a good notion for a mystery, and the jumping back-and-forth between past and present is a wonderful device. But throughout the book the characters are flat. I don't care about any of them, I don't believe their dialogue, and I often don't believe their actions. Towards the end, i had to stop myself from just skimming over the chapters. All the potential is there, but the writing can't stand up to it.
A Mystery Worthy Of Our Dear Sherlock!
To be brief, if you took the best parts of Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and added a modern setting... you would only have *half* of this tale of murder and mystery.
The other half that cuts in is Doyle himself trying to solve a mystery of man gone wrong in 1900. The books zips back and forth between then and 2010 in a way that is instantly nostalgic but endurably fresh.
It would be a shame to miss out on this book even if you are not a fan of the Great Detective.
Whip out your powers of deduction, the game's afoot!