Sherlock Book Reviews - Sherlock Holmes Five Miles of Country

Posted by Steve Emecz on

Sherlock Holmes Magazine

In 1896, Holmes meets Edison at the dawn of moving pictures. Murder, ghosts and mystery intertwine as Holmes and Watson navigate New York's diverse landscape alongside police chief Theodore Roosevelt.


The novel offers a fresh take on so many stock Holmes elements that could have been stale; for fans and others it is a pleasurable read.


Orlando Pearson

The oh-so familiar figure of Sherlock Holmes and the world created by Arthur Conan Doyle would at first sight be a constraint on a 21st century writer.

Do you write about that world as though nothing had changed since the Dartmoor wilds of The Hound of the Baskervilles or the London fog of The Bruce Partington Plans?

Or do you blast the model to smithereens and have Holmes as a beneficiary of chance or in outer space?

Miss Altabef’s solution is all her own.

We have Holmes and Watson plus expanded roles for Mrs Hudson and Holmes’s wife, Irene Adler, as well as Murray, who not everyone will remember was the hero who rescued Dr Watson at the Battle of Maiwand.

And Miss Altabef triumphantly goes further as she brings in new characters such as Rachel Holmes, an adopted daughter of Italian extraction, and the real life Thomas Edison, whose character, as Miss Altebef points out in her detailed and fascinating notes, recent historians have chosen to traduce.

There is a great sense of period in London and on an ocean liner from Liverpool to New Jersey and the whole narrative is anchored with well-chosen quotes from the Canon and elsewhere. Gilbert and Sullivan, in whose light opera, The Pirate of Penzance, Miss Adler is performing, also features.

In her acknowledgements Miss Altabef discloses her debt to Mattias Boström’s. To quote Gretchen, his  “Shake up Sherlock has been cheering me on throughout my growth as an author of Sherlock Holmes pastiche. From one author to another, his valiant statement has been the touchstone for the creation of my novels and stories.”

And there is an intriguing murder plot located on the world’s first film set and its twists has the reader eager to turn the page and find out what happens next

Five Miles of Country is the fourth Holmesian novel by Miss Altabef and I hope there are more to come.

Orlando Pearson is the creator of The Redacted Sherlock Holmes. Volume VIII of the series is currently available on Kickstarter and will be published in October.



The third in the Rachel Holmes Series available from this site and also:

Amazon USA    Barnes and Noble   Amazon UK

The year is 1896. Sherlock Holmes meets Thomas Edison. At the dawn of Cinema, a beautiful Broadway danseuse is murdered in Edison’s New Jersey Laboratory. Irene Adler encounters ghosts on Broadway. Harry Houdini mystifies the New York Vaudeville circuit. Holmes and Watson go hunting in New York City’s Badlands with Police Commissioner, Theodore Roosevelt. Meanwhile, Rachel Holmes journeys to the Pine Barrens to film the Jersey Devil and the denizens of Poughkeepsie reel in Kipsy the Hudson River Monster.


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