Whether you’re a fan of Sherlock Holmes stories, reimagined history, or a good mystery, The Sherlockian by Graham Moore is a fun and fulfilling read. In the novel, Moore brings together a blend of fictionalized literary history and contemporary Sherlock enthusiasm to create an indelible story of past and present.
The story jumps from present to past as the reader is led deeper into the two mysteries. There is the tale of Harold White, obsessed with the study of Sherlock Holmes. He is the youngest member of the renowned Baker Street Irregulars, an exclusive group of Sherlockians. Harold is determined to solve a mystery and bring to light the long missing diary of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. As his search intensifies, Harold discovers that he must call upon everything he’s ever learned from Sherlock Holmes not just to solve the mystery but to stay alive.
The second mystery happened over a hundred years before Harold White ever became a Sherlockian. It takes place in the year 1900 and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself is entrenched within his own mystery. Seven years after he’s killed his greatest character, a letter bomb delivered to his home carries a clue leading him to the case of an unfortunate, nameless woman killed in London’s eastend. Together with Bram Stoker, Doyle seeks the bomber and the killer. One and the same in Doyle’s mind. Doyle is determined to prove himself far superior in deductive reasoning than his own creation, Sherlock Holmes.
The Sherlockian is a mystery that reads well. Moore’s contemporary story tends to dither in synch with Harold Whites’ character, where as his Doyle character is crisp and succinct like the time period Doyle inhabits in the story. The different styles of narration prevent any confusion with the jumps from present to past and back.
Moore’s Doyle is so entertaining that it is almost disappointing when returning to the contemporary mystery. However the mysteries through both narrations continue to draw one in through to the end of the novel. If you like a good mystery blended with a bit of literary history, Graham Moore’s The Sherlockian is sure to please.
Nina Longfield is a writer living in Oregon’s fertile wine country. When she is not reading or writing in her spare time, Nina enjoys hiking in the hills surrounding her cabin.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Twelve Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.