Jacobite Book Review
This is an unusual book to be reviewed in The Jacobite.
It is a collection of Sherlock Holmes stories, which all involve the inclusion of real historical characters. This is an enjoyable story. Each story has an afterword with an illustration to update the reader on the actual historical (as opposed to the fictional) situation of its theme. There are all the usual fictional characters you would expect in Sherlock Holmes stories.
With these five short stories the author masterfully captures the distinctive voices of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original characters. Each story anchors the reader in a historical event and gives a creative spin on how the World's Greatest Consulting Detective could have played a part in it.
As a major history nerd, I loved that the facts described in the stories are meticulously researched and accurate. I enjoyed learning obscure tidbits of English history within the context of a Sherlock Holmes mystery. However, the more detailed facts sometimes felt a little shoehorned into the action of the story instead of being woven in more seamlessly. Although very informative some portions of the narrative felt more like an encyclopedia than a mystery novel.
My favorite stories have to be The Poet and his Muse and M Harris Smith because they not only describe a fascinating event in history but they also add color to Holmes' character and life. In the first story, we get a rare glimpse into Sherlock's life as a boy as well as why he decided to become a consulting detective. This story is a macabre delight to read and also gives a hint as to why Holmes never married or found love.
In M Harris Smith, we learn a little about how Sherlock earned "his bread and cheese" because as the author points out it is implausible that Scotland Yard Inspectors like Lestrade and Gregson were in a position to pay him compensation for his help on their cases. I have to admit that as an avid fan of Holmes, the source of his income has always been a puzzle for me. The author here gives a very plausible and satisfying explanation for Holmes' source of steady income.
Although not perfect, this author accomplishes the most difficult task before anyone attempting to add to the stories of beloved characters like Holmes and Watson- recreating the voice and style of the original story. Dr. Watson's amused and sometimes self deprecating style is captured in these stories and Holmes acerbic but witty tone is brought back to life.
If you love history and lament that there are no more Sherlock Holmes stories... this is the perfect book for you.
The Redacted Sherlock Holmes Volume VII is available from this site with a share to our good causes, and also from:
and is part of The Redacted Sherlock Holmes series