Sherlock Holmes adventure by Bonnie MacBird. Released 22nd Oct 2019 by HarperCollins, it's 384 pages and available in hardcover, paperback, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. Presumably that feature will carry through to the release version of the ebook.
There are so many (SO many) Holmes and Watson pastiches/homages/alternate worlds, timelines, alternate interpretations, that it is difficult to sort the good stuff from the dross. I am a die-hard canon fan and have read the originals so many times I've worn out copies. That being said, there is a fair bit of good fiction being written today, and this series (and author) are consistently excellent, verging on superlative.
The writing, plotting, tension arc, characterizations, and descriptions are all well done; the author is adept at her craft. The tone of the book and the dialogue manage to feel like it could have been written contemporaneously with the canon; no mean feat. I was a little disappointed with the foreshadowing; it seemed a little heavy handed. I read the book thinking that the major plot twist which I expected couldn't be so obvious. Honestly, the book was so well written and entertaining otherwise that I didn't really mind much.
Holmes & Watson's foil, Billings, is suitably dense, objectionably racist, and obstructive enough to engender heartfelt boos and hisses whenever he shows up. Holmes' encounters and abuse at the hands of the media are evident in this adventure as well, so he and Watson find themselves up against an array of more or less active foes.
I enjoyed this story and I suspect that most Holmesians will find enough here to keep them entertained. The story is also written around a framework of real historical occurrences and the author provides a link in the book to annotations and historical notes which are well worth a read.
Five stars. Delightful to see Holmes and Watson in fighting form.
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
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