Two years after Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty disappeared at Reichenbach Falls, Dr. Watson receives a letter sent from Yokohama, Japan and a boat ticket that’ll take him halfway around the world. The situation goes from strange to deadly when Watson steps on the ship at Liverpool: his cabin mate is murdered in his bedroom and another passenger disappears. Will Watson make it to Japan alive? And is it possible that one of his shipmates is Sherlock Holmes back from the grave?
Modern Sherlock Holmes novels tend to use a contemporary narration style with action happening on the pages in front of the readers. Sherlock Holmes, The Missing Years utilized the same style as the original Sherlock Holmes short stories and novels. While I haven’t read Conan Doyle’s stories in years, I felt like this book captured their spirit.
That being said, it also mimicked the original Conan Doyle work by being more about the journey than the destination. I felt like the story took forever to get going and the characters were sidetracked every other chapter. While it made sense with the story’s style, it was a bit disappointing because the story lacked any significant tension.
I also really disliked that this book also fell into a trap that a lot of modern Sherlock Holmes story tend to fall into with Watson. Even though Watson served in Afghanistan as an Army doctor before moving back to England and starting his own medical practice, he’s portrayed as less than intelligent. Using Watson as a foil to show Holmes’s worldliness and intelligence really bothers me. As if Holmes didn’t fall into the same patterns of racism, sexism, and elitism prevalent seen in 19th century Brits. He might have possessed better observational skills, but that didn’t make him smarter.
If you’re looking for a Sherlock Holmes book that recreates the style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, this one might be for you.
Sherlock Holmes, The Missing Years: Japan by Vasudev Murthy will be published by Poisoned Pen Press as a hardcover on March 10, 2015.
**I received an advanced copy of this book in return for an unbiased review.