In which Sherlock Holmes is reinterpreted by a young, willful girl who might just be as brilliant as he is….
Sherlock Holmes was a good deal younger than Dr Watson (and their publisher, Arthur Conan Doyle) portrayed him as being, so that when he retired to the countryside to raise bees, he was still fit enough and bright enough to solve crimes and even take an apprentice in the art of deduction.
In the next cottage to him lives Mary Russell, a young Anglo/American orphan whose mind might be the great man’s equal. Slowly the two of them form an alliance until they become a crime fighting team of their own. Just in time, as there’s a new criminal mastermind on the scene.
What Hamilton does here is reimagine the Holmes character while keeping him the same. All the traits are present, the violin, the pipe, the air of condescension and even the opium. But seen through Mary’s eye, he becomes a more dashing figure. Obviously intelligent, but not some irritatingly cerebral. Whereas Watson was frequently left behind, only for Holmes to return later and tell him what he’d been up to and what he’d found out (see THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES), Mary is smart enough to accompany him and so here we see Holmes at the heart of the fray. We witness his brilliance not only in action, but being inspired by a mind just as marvelous as his.
Dr Watson does show up and it’s slightly to the book’s discredit that he’s in bumbling Nigel Bruce mode, but then compared to Mary Russell, the old man is going to seem a bit slow.
A spirited, entertaining read for all Holmes fans.
My debut novel, THE WANNABES – which has been out of print for a little while – is now available for free. A supernatural thriller of beautiful actresses and deadly ambition in London town, it’s well worth your time. You can get your copy here!