Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Sherlockian

The Sherlockian by Graham Moore

At the turn of the 20th century Arthur Conan Doyle committed murder. He threw a man loved by everyone in England, but whom Doyle had come to despise, off of a cliff in Switzerland - Sherlock Holmes. Now, with his literary creation dead, he's ready to begin  writing again for enjoyment. That all changes when a package arrives at his estate. It contains a bomb and it nearly ends Doyle's life.

His near assassination prompts Doyle, along with his close friend Bram Stoker, to see if he can use the powers of deduction he gave to Holmes to discover the real-life mystery of who wants him dead. Is one of his fans really angry enough with him to try to kill him?

One hundred and ten years later, a similar mystery is unfolding. Harold White is attending the annual convention for The Baker Street Irregulars, the premier society of Holmes devotees known as "Sherlockians". Harold has just become the society's newest inductee and is anxiously awaiting the convention's key-note speaker, Alex Cale. Cale announced months ago that he had finally found one of Doyle's missing diaries, the diary that covered the period of time in between when Doyle killed off Holmes and when he inexplicably resurrected him again for The Hound of the Baskervilles. The night before Cale was to make the contents of that diary public, his body is found in his hotel room, strangled by one of his own shoelaces, with the word ELEMENTARY written on the wall in his own blood.

I really enjoyed The Sherlockian. It's Moore's first book, but it reads like a book written by a seasoned writer. The chapters alternate between Doyle's investigation and Harold White's. Moore does an excellent job of taking real mysteries from Doyle's life - what happened to the missing diary? and does that diary explain why he would decide to resurrect the character of Holmes seven years after his death at the hands of Moriarty? - and incorporating them into a work of fiction. It's a book that will be enjoyed by people who have read the Sherlock Holmes stories and one that will make those who haven't, want to give them a try.

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

No comments:

Post a Comment