Review of "The Sherlockian"

The Sherlockian is the story of new "Irregular" Harold and his quest to find answers about the death of famous Sherlockian Alex Cale and to locate Arthur Conan Doyle's lost diary. In parallel we head into the past and follow Conan Doyle and Bram Stoker as they investigate the murder of a number of women in London's East End.

I have to confess that during the first few chapters my eyebrows were almost permanently raised as the author Graham Moore re-wrote the history of Conan Doyle in order to make his story work. Conan Doyle not only gains an extra son, Roger, but also a grandson, Sebastian, and lives out his final years at Undershaw rather than Windlesham.

Initially these changes worried me as I wondered where Moore intended to go with them but as the story moved on his changes began to make sense and my worries evaporated.

Various characters throughout the book are based on actual Sherlockians. Moore confesses to some of these at the end of the book but not all which suggests that he himself is unaware of how similar some of his characters are to real people.

I had to smile when, towards the book's end, the hero (if he can be so called) arrives at Undershaw and Moore describes the battle between developers and preservationist groups to determine the building's future. I am personally involved with "The Undershaw Preservation Trust" and visited the house quite recently so I felt a real connection to this section of the book and understood Harold's feelings as he visited the site.

The chapters alternate between Harold's quest and Conan Doyle's investigation  and, at first, you wonder if this constant switching will work. Rest assured that it does although it is very often the case that a chapter set in 1900 ends on cliff-hanger and you want to rush through the next contemporary chapter in order to see where Conan Doyle's story is going next.

The depiction of Conan Doyle is occasionally hard to swallow especially when  Moore has him and Stoker dressing up as women to attend a suffragette meeting  but a little suspension of disbelief is all you need to get past this and see  the humour in the situation.

The Sherlockian is a fun story which keeps you hooked. The way the story ends  can be seen coming but the enjoyment does not suffer as a result. If you have enjoyed Gyles Brandreth's Oscar Wilde murder mysteries you will enjoy this and I very much hope that Graham Moore puts his pen to paper (or finger to key) again
and writes more in this field.

1 comment:

  1. I certainly love the sound of this one and yes I had to giggle when you mentioned how Moore describes the battle between developers and preservationist groups. I must have this book!