The Sherlockian is a fairly quick read. It’s in the vein of the likes of Dan Brown, Sam Bourne & Jed Rubenfeld. One of those novels that takes a myth or small mystery and spins a larger yarn from it, delving into the history of said subject with a big reveal at the end.
It’s sprinkled with Holmes Pastiches throughout and is somewhat fun but there is nothing here for a Sherlockian. Unless you are still very fresh to Sherlock lore you aren’t going to be impressed by the reuse of famous quotes nor will the details of Holmes’ method, which is expanded upon by the main character of the story and applied to the modern day (Sherlock does it much better though.) Our protagonist, Harold, is a man with a high IQ, a devote Holmes fan who takes it upon himself to solve the murder of a fellow fan and find a missing diary. Harold as a character comes across as more of an obsessive fan, one that is painstakingly embarrassing to read, even more so when characters around him support his actions. Personally I wouldn’t trust him to use a garden rake.
The book is split into two parts with every second chapter taking us back to the days of Arther Conan Doyle after he has retired Sherlock Holmes for the first time. Upon receiving a letter bomb meant to get his attention he is thrust into a much bigger mystery and acquires the help of his friend Bram (yes, that Bram) to solve the mystery. The two plod along in a fairly uninteresting manner, some comedy moments are thrown in but the two characters had me yawning at times hoping they would just get on with it since they are fairly underwritten. I appreciate the attention to the details of the era but when the two characters talk about suffragettes or the death of “their friend” Oscar Wilde you never really get a sense that this is what the characters would really have said. There’s a 21st Century mentality keeping their outdated opinions in check at most times as if not to cause offense to the casual reader.
The biggest disappointment was that after all the twists and turning points on the adventure to finding who committed the Murders in the Conan/Bram part of the book the killer actually reveals himself! Not only does he reveal himself but he does so indirectly and the chapter finishes as he is about to explain his motives and method. It just feels like a lazy way to wrap things up and it seems like the Author didn’t know how to bring the plot to a fruitful conclusion. I actually had to re-read the same chapter thinking I must have missed something and that it couldn’t be what I had spent three hundred pages reading to get to. But, oh yes, it was.
Putting criticism aside it’s a fairly fun read but not one you really need your brain for. In the final notes of the book the Author gives us the inspiration behind the story which actually makes it fairly interesting in hindsight despite the poor execution. If you enjoy Sherlock Holmes in any form there will be something here for you in this. Personally I enjoyed the Arthur Conan Doyle parts more so until it fell flat on it’s face.