Thomas Turley reviews You Buy Bones

Posted by Steve Emecz on

“It is high time someone made real people of the Scotland Yard detectives, rather than mere foils to be outshone by Sherlock Holmes. Marcia Wilson accomplishes the task brilliantly in her novel You Buy Bones. Set at the beginning of the Canon, it creates backstories for Gregson, Bradstreet, and Lestrade that show them to be conscientious, caring men, faithfully performing an often thankless job despite their private troubles. Yet, the book’s lead character is not Lestrade or Holmes (who is around just long enough to set impossible deductive standards) but Dr. John H. Watson. Here is the Watson of A Study in Scarlet: physically shattered by his wounds at Maiwand, emotionally scarred by family woes that mirror those of Bradstreet and Lestrade, robbed of his profession as a soldier, but (for reasons central to the novel’s gruesome plot) unsure of his new calling as a doctor. It is Watson who provides the driving force as he and two of the Yarders pursue a mystery rooted in their pasts to a truly horrifying end. The novel’s payoff is a long time coming, but its thrilling conclusion rivals anything in Conan Doyle. Marcia Wilson offers atmospheric Edinburgh settings and commendable research, thoughtfully footnoting those niggling details I was too lazy to look up. She writes with empathy, a wicked sense of humor, and a style that—if perhaps too breezy to be authentically Victorian—moves the action at a lively pace. By its end, she has given us both a memorable tale and a deeper understanding of the characters we love. One can ask no more of a pastiche. Let’s hope that there are many more to come.” –Thomas A. Turley You Buy Bones is available from all good bookstores including The Strand Magazine,  Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Waterstones UK and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository .  In ebook format it is in Kindle, Kobo, Nook and Apple iBooks (iPad/iPhone). 9781780928098

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