Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Sherlockian by Graham Moore

The Sherlockian
The Sherlockian. by Graham Moore

The blurb:
December 1893. Hungry for the latest Sherlock Holmes installment Londoners ripped open their Strand magazines, only to reel in horror.  Holmes's creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, had killed their hero off.  London spiraled into mourning, with crowds donning black armbands in grief, branding Conan Doyle an assassin, and demanding an explanation.  But the cryptic author said nothing.

Eight years later, however, just as abruptly as he had "murdered" Holmes in "The Final Problem,"  Conan Doyle brought him back for a new series of adventures.  Again, the author said nothing.  After his death, the diary that would have shed light on his mysterious reasons, chronicling this interim period in detail, went missing.  In the decades since it has never been found.

Or has it?

January 2010.  When Harold White is inducted into the preeminent Sherlock Holmes society, the Baker Street Irregulars, he never imagines he's about to embark on the hunt for the holy grail of Holmesophiles: the missing diary.  But when the world's leading Doylean scholar turns up dead in a hotel room, it is Harold - using wisdom gleaned from countless detective stories  - who must take up the search both for the diary and the killer. In a journey that hurtles from New York to London, and from the present day to the historical milieu of Conan Doyle,  Harold delves perilously into the history of Sherlock Holmes and his creator - discovering a secret that proves to be anything but "elementary."

The Sherlockian by Graham Moore will find an immediate audience in the fans of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes.  The novel is fun, fast-paced and wholly entertaining both in the present and in Conan Doyle's time.

The sections set in the past have Arthur Conan Doyle and Bram Stoker as the key figures just as Conan Doyle is deciding to get rid of his famous detective Sherlock Holmes.  We get a clear picture of Conan Doyle as a writer and an amateur detective as he finds himself drawn into solving an unusual mystery.  As Conan Doyle attempts to identify and capture a killer, he uses the same methods for which Holmes is well known.  As Conan Doyle attempts to decipher unlikely clues, we learn  that Holmes' methodology can stand on its own.

The sections with Harold White, the brilliant Sherlockian are surprisingly lively and absorbing.  White is a sympathetic and interesting character and a worthy heir of Sherlockian/Conan Doyle's mystery.  The Sherlockian is a fascinating read and highly recommended for fans of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the mystery genre.

ISBN-10: 0446572594  - Hardcover $24.99
Publisher: Twelve; First Edition edition (December 1, 2010), 368 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author:
Graham Moore is a twenty-eight-year old graduate of Columbia University, where he received his degree in Religious History. He is from Chicago and lives in Los Angeles.

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