Thursday, August 16, 2012

'The Sherlockian'

It never fails...

While picking up a reserved book from the library, I always take the time to check the stacks; see if I've missed something.  A hidden gem, perhaps.

And I usually find one, one that is better than the book I had originally reserved.

'The Sherlockian', by Graham Moore, is my newest 'find'.  I've always been intrigued by the Sherlock Holmes stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and now that Sherlock has moved into the 21st century (courtesy of Stephen Moffat, he of the wonderful 'Doctor Who' reboot), I have spent wonderful days rereading the adventures written so many years ago.

When I found 'The Sherlockian' on the shelf, I swear it was calling to me.  The cover art isn't that exceptional.  I had never heard of the author, and I hadn't heard any 'word-of-mouth', the best indication that a story is worth my perusal.  I just found a simple, buff-colored hard cover, beckoning to me with that one word:  Sherlockian.  The power of that simple word was enough to hook me.

The story begins in present day, and Harold White is being inducted into the prestigious Sherlock Holmes society, the Baker Street Irregulars.  A preeminent Holme's scholar claims to have found the missing grail of everything Sherlockian:  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's missing diary.  But before it's discoverer can reveal the diary to the society, he is found murdered in his hotel room.  And the game is afoot...with Harold leading the way.

Then the story takes a turn to the past.  We find that Doyle has killed off Sherlock Holmes, and the public outcry is enormous, some people even labeling Doyle an assassin.  Sir Arthur is tired of the detective, and wants to write something different. But when a tragic, bloody mystery surfaces, Doyle is pulled into it, kicking and screaming.  With the aid of his friend, Bram Stoker, they go about investigating the murder of three young suffragettes.

A treat of mystery, intrigue, and mistaken identities, each chapter switches from present to past, a useful device that kept me on my toes while I tried to solve both mysteries.  The wonderful swirl of both eras converge into a satisfying dénouement.

As Sherlock Holmes said, "There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact"

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