Book Review: The Sherlockian – Graham Moore

Title: The Sherlockian
Author: Graham Moore
ISBN: 9780446572590
Pages: 368
Release Date: December 1, 2010
Publisher: Twelve
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary:

Harold White is the newest inductee to The Sherlockians, a society of people who are experts on Sherlock Holmes.  When Alex Cale, a fellow Sherlockian, announces that he has found the lost diary of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, one that scholars have been searching for since it was discovered missing after Doyle’s death, the Sherlockian community is understandably surprised.  But what is even more shocking is that Cale is found dead the day he is supposed to make a speech about the diary, and Harold takes it upon himself to figure out the mystery.

Review:

Sherlock Holmes is experiencing a bit of a renaissance right now.  Though he has always been well loved and discussed in Sherlockian circles, the mainstream public has started to take notice of him once again.  From the wonderful and widely watched BBC series updating Holmes and transporting him to the modern era to the Robert Downey Jr. movie with a sequel on the way, people are interested in Sherlock Holmes right now.  It makes sense, then, that he’d experience a renaissance in literature as well, which is where Graham Moore’s The Sherlockian comes in.  Though I’ve read some of the Holmes stories, I don’t know a lot about the author (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) or character, so I was intrigued by the prospect of this book because I am always looking for a good mystery.

I was very, very impressed with The Sherlockian.  There are two mysteries within its pages, one set in modern day with Harold as the detective, and the other set in the past with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as the (reluctant) detective.  As the book progresses, it becomes increasingly clear that the two mysteries are somehow related.  The narratives alternates chapter by chapter, jumping from present to past.  This sounds like it would be choppy and disrupt the story, but it really doesn’t.  It serves to heighten suspense and underscore the importance of what Harold is doing.  Additionally, the stories in both time periods are gripping and equally interesting, which is incredibly rare for this format.

Harold was a wonderful main character; he bumbled a bit, and was frustratingly naïve at the beginning of the story, but it’s wonderful to watch him grow and take control of the situations he finds himself in.  I really enjoyed getting to know him, and I loved how clever he was.

Moore includes some great information on Sherlockians and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in this book.  I was fascinated by the relationship between Doyle and Holmes, which is one of the centerpieces of the storyline set in the past.  Additionally, I found the information on Holmes after his resurrection (Doyle killed off the character and then brought him back years later, claiming Holmes faked his own death) and how he had changed very interesting.  What makes this book even more appealing is that it is based on a real-life murder mystery, which Moore expounds upon in the Author’s Note at the back of the book.

I enjoyed The Sherlockian immensely.  I couldn’t put it down because it was so compelling and the mystery was so well done.  Whether you are a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes, or, like me, don’t know much about him, if you enjoy mysteries, you must pick up this book.

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Comments

  1. I have this book, and admit that I knew very little about it. It sounds like something I could really get into, though my knowledge of Sherlock Holmes is very sketchy. I am going to have to pull this one out of the pile and give it a chance. It sounds really intriguing and interesting. Thanks for the very well written and thoughtful review!

  2. I have this book, and admit that I knew very little about it. It sounds like something I could really get into, though my knowledge of Sherlock Holmes is very sketchy. I am going to have to pull this one out of the pile and give it a chance. It sounds really intriguing and interesting. Thanks for the very well written and thoughtful review!

  3. I can’t wait to read this book. I love a good biblio-mystery. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it so much.

  4. I can’t wait to read this book. I love a good biblio-mystery. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it so much.

  5. Sounds great! Thanks for the heads-up! I’m also going to have to look for that UK series on BBC America.

  6. Sounds great! Thanks for the heads-up! I’m also going to have to look for that UK series on BBC America.

  7. When I recently told my mother that I’ve never read any Sherlock Holmes, she was shocked. You’ve piqued my interest in this book – I bet my mother would love it too.

  8. When I recently told my mother that I’ve never read any Sherlock Holmes, she was shocked. You’ve piqued my interest in this book – I bet my mother would love it too.

  9. Great review! I loved this book, and I was so excited to get to talk with Graham yesterday. I’m hoping to go and see him at a book signing next week.

  10. Great review! I loved this book, and I was so excited to get to talk with Graham yesterday. I’m hoping to go and see him at a book signing next week.

  11. I. WANT.

    That is all.

  12. I. WANT.

    That is all.

  13. I am a big Sherlock Holmes fan and was disappointed after reading all of Doyle’s works – now there will be no more – I thought. But recently I stumbled on the ‘Mandala of Sherlock Holmes’ and it is good. There’s one more ‘Holmes of the Raj’, both of them bring Holmes to India 🙂 And now ‘Sherlockian’ seems to be an intriguing read. Looking forward to reading it. Thanks for the review 🙂

  14. I am a big Sherlock Holmes fan and was disappointed after reading all of Doyle’s works – now there will be no more – I thought. But recently I stumbled on the ‘Mandala of Sherlock Holmes’ and it is good. There’s one more ‘Holmes of the Raj’, both of them bring Holmes to India 🙂 And now ‘Sherlockian’ seems to be an intriguing read. Looking forward to reading it. Thanks for the review 🙂

  15. I’m a huge fan of the Sherlock Holmes tales. There is so much about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that people don’t realize! I’ve discovered a few juicy details over the years, but I have to say it doesn’t sway my opinion of the author.

    That said, I’m aching to read this book! It’s been quite a while since I got a good Holmes “fix!”

  16. I’m a huge fan of the Sherlock Holmes tales. There is so much about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that people don’t realize! I’ve discovered a few juicy details over the years, but I have to say it doesn’t sway my opinion of the author.

    That said, I’m aching to read this book! It’s been quite a while since I got a good Holmes “fix!”

  17. Great review. I had requested this through my library for many the same reasons it intrigued you. It just arrived and I hope I can have time to read it this month.

  18. Great review. I had requested this through my library for many the same reasons it intrigued you. It just arrived and I hope I can have time to read it this month.

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