Book Review: “The Sherlockian” by Graham Moore

Title: The Sherlockian
Author: Graham Moore
Genre: historical fiction/mystery
Dates read: 19/03/18 – 24/03/18
Rating: ★★★

Review:

Having just recently listened to the audio book of Graham Moore’s The Last Days of Night, I mayeb went into this one with too-high expectations. It was enjoyable, but I never got quite into it.

In 2010, after the death of a Sherlock Holmes expert who has claimed to have discovered the the missing diary of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Harold White follows the clues left behind to finally solve the century-old mystery. At the same time, in 1900, Arthur Conan Doyle and his friend Bram Stoker investigate the deaths of several women in London with ties to the women’s suffrage movement.

Perhaps it’s just because I’m not the biggest Sherlock Holmes fan, but I just didn’t find the events of this book something to geek out about and get invested in. There were a couple of moments where something happened to give me a jolt, but for the most part, when I wasn’t reading, I wasn’t wishing I was, if that makes sense.

I think part of the issue was that it was structured in a very set alternating perspective: one chapter from Harold’s perspective, the next from Arthur’s. Sometimes something dramatic would happen at the end of a chapter, but then we would return to the other character, and I had to remind myself what had taken place two chapters ago. By the time we returned to the first one, the momentum had been lost.

I think also, while Harold was a well-written character, I just couldn’t really get into someone who honestly thought he could just waltz his way into a murder investigation because he thinks he’s Sherlock Holmes (okay, so he did solve the mystery, but it’s still pretty arrogant). I had the same issue with Doyle – while he is a well-rendered man of his time, there was little for me to identify with.

Still, if you’re interested in Sherlockiana (I believe this is the correct term), or historical fiction based on real-life mysteries, then this may be the book for you.


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