The Sherlockian is a captivating read

“And so, reader, farewell to Sherlock Holmes! I thank you for your past constancy, and can hope that some return has been made in the shape of that distraction from the worries of life and stimulating change of thought which can only be found in the fairy kingdom of romance”.
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes

In the year 1893, the prime time for stories of England’s beloved fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, his creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, killed him off unexpectedly. In doing this he left the people of England outraged and segregated himself from British society as a whole. Doyle received hate mail and even had threats made on his life all by unhappy readers. Ten years later as unexpected as Holmes’ death, Doyle brought him back to life and began writing Holmes’ stories again thus returning to his previous status as England’s national treasure. For years the big questions about Doyle’s life have been why did he do it - why would Doyle kill Holmes off and why after ten years did Doyle bring him back?

This ten year period is part of what author Graham Moore investigates in his novel The Sherlockian. Doyle is tired of Holmes and is ready to write historical fiction pieces, his true passion. In order to do this he feels the need to kill off the people’s detective and is shocked by the pure hatred people have for him because of it. While trying to adapt to his new life as an ostracized member of society, he comes across as series of murders taking place to young suffragists in England. In order to separate himself from the character he created, he believes he needs to invoke Holmes’ methods and solve the murders himself. His mentality being - if I can create a character who can solve crimes by his ability to see/understand all that is going on around him, why can’t I?

Turn to the present day, and after years and years of searching for the diary written by Doyle during the ten year hiatus, it has been found by Sherlockian member and Doyle expert Alex Cale. The Sherlockians, are a group devoted to the study and expertise on Doyle and his detective. One most be invited by the leading experts in the field to join the group. However, on the eve prior to his presenting the diary and answering all the questions Sherlockians have had about Doyle’s ten year break, Cale is found in his hotel room murdered. Harold, the youngest and newest member to the group, believes that it is up to him and his expertise on Holmes’ methods of solving crimes to find the murderer and the missing diary.

First time author Graham Moore is able to captivate readers by intertwining the present day mystery that Harold is trying to solve while also telling the story of Doyle’s missing ten years. Moore incorporates many true facts about Doyle and England during the late 19th century as well as researching in depth the Sherlockian experts in order to write a relevant, accurate, and entertaining novel.  This novel is an amazing read for mystery lovers and lovers of fiction in general.

By the end of the story, Moore will have turned you too into a Sherlockian.

Katy Johns is a 25 year old English major from London, Ontario. After 3 months living in San Francisco following her love for Jack Kerouac and the beatniks, she is back in London working with hopes of returning to school for publishing.


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