Saturday, April 06, 2013

Review: The Death and Life of Sherlock Homes

Title: The Death and Life of Sherlock Holmes
Author: Grace Best-Page
Genre: Adventure/Romance
Price: $14.95 ($8.95 ebook)
Publisher: Createspace
ASIN: 978-1468149869
Point of Sale: Amazon
Reviewed by: Emily Veinglory

(I would note that “The Death and Life of Sherlock Holmes” is also a play by Susan L Zeder [1993]. This review is not about that play.)

In this story a modern woman, Jackie Bowman, somehow ends up transported through time to meet Sherlock Holmes shortly after he stages his death at the Reichenbach Falls. For most of the book Sherlock and Jackie meander through foreign countries, most notably Tibet, during the three year period referred to Sherlockians as 'the great hiatus' (between the when Sherlock ostensibly died at Reichenbach and the first story dated after his return to London).

On one hand the narrative seems to lack much in the way of happenings: mysteries, fights, overt romance etc.  One the other hand it is the first book in quite a while that I intended to put down, and never did. It had that ineffable “unputdownable” quality for me. To my taste I would have dropped the first and last sections as I think the core story from first meeting to full commitment would stand better on its own.

There were some affectations I found annoying, running jokes, excessive cultural references and the sudden importance of getting a pet cat at the end of the story.  But in general this is not the Mary Sue or wish fulfillment kind of “fan” story you might expect.  Nor is it in anyway comparable to the Laurie R King stories in which Holmes is also paired with a female protagonist. Nor is it a Sherlockian pastiche designed to resolve ambiguities in Conan Doyle’s stories, although the author seems at least passable familiar with canon (I am an enthusiast rather than an expert myself).

The Death and Life of Sherlock Holmes is a Sherlock Holmes pastiche, time-travel story, and slow burn romance. It has elements of all three of these genres but basically has its own identity as a story. I know that I read it, and I enjoyed it, and that is the most important thing as far as I am concerned.


Lindsay said...

Laurie R King writes (exceptional, IMHO) Holmes Pastiche, as well as modern detective novels.

Laurell K Hamilton does NOT. She doesn't write about Holmes at all; she writes paranormal thriller-romance.

Really, REALLY different people.

Emily Veinglory said...

You are quite right, I had a crossed neuron and will correct this.