Arthur Conan Doyle is on the run from his own fame. Taking a much needed holiday, Doyle flees to a picturesque village in Switzerland nestled beneath the imposing Reichenbach Falls. There he hopes to find anonymity, but even in this beautiful rural setting, peace eludes him when he finds himself immediately recognized by a fan who pressures him into looking into the death of a fellow visitor.
All too soon, Doyle’s somewhat unwilling gentle probing into the case begins to cause the finger of suspicion to turn towards him. But can the creator of the famous detective actually do the sleuthing himself? Although able to pen the character of Sherlock, he soon begins to learn he does not share his leading creation’s characteristics, but rather Watson’s. Can the “sidekick” see enough of the picture to solve the case for once?
Sherlock Holmes has fascinated readers ever since he first burst into fiction, over one hundred years ago. In this novel, the first in a trilogy, we meet his author and discover the difficult relationship between them.
I was thrilled to get this book because here in our house we enjoy BBC television (what we can get on Netflix, anyway) and we enjoy the old black and white as well as the modern Sherlock Holmes shows, so needless to say I was thinking this was a book both my 11 year old and I could enjoy reading and talking about. I have never read any Sherlock Holmes books, I know, I’m a bibliophile and never read Sir Conan Doyle books before – so I was thinking oh, I’ll read this and get to know Doyle a little and jump into reading his books. This book begins with Conan Doyle on a train and doing some site seeing while his wife Touie is pregnant at home with their other child and he meets up with Holloway who, is to say the least very annoying.
The book started off very slow and I’m unhappy to report that it did not pick up at all – Doyle is way too much into himself in this book and I got tired of examining all his conversations with everyone in the hotel and some of the villagers – as well as his ever changing moods from happy, to sad, to just downright depressed – if I had to diagnose him I’d say he’s a manic-depressive. I just couldn’t relate to anyone or anything in this book. I had to look up information on Doyle as in the book he states he’s left his Catholic beliefs behind, and sure enough I found some information that he was, in part, active in the Spiritualism movement of his time (he participates in a seance in the book). This alone began setting off warning bells, then of course there had to be a homosexual to which Doyle himself doesn’t care one way or the other and he begins to lust after two women he had just met who live in the village.
After I got to within ten chapters of the book’s ending I skipped to the last two chapters just so I knew how it would end. The chapters were long and seemed to go on for an eternity. Now, lest it sound like I hated this book – I didn’t, I enjoyed the overall theme of it and the setting but there was too much in it for me to relate to the characters or feel connected in any way. I know there will be those out there who will enjoy this book, but for me it just wasn’t an enjoyable read. This is one that I won’t let my 11 year old.
(c) 2013, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws