*I received a free copy of this book, with thanks to the author. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: British sleuth Sherlock Holmes can solve any mystery from a small clue. American traveler Pollyanna Whittier can only see the good side of every situation. The only thing they have in common is their friendship with Dr. John Watson. When Pollyanna shows up in London with a mystery for Holmes to solve, she decides to teach the detective the Glad Game: a way of remaining optimistic no matter what. A dangerous – and hilarious – clash of minds, where these two characters of classic literature need to learn how to work together in order to catch a dangerous criminal.
This fascinating mashup of two very different literary characters and styles begins by capturing the essence of the original characters, then quickly evolves into something new as the sardonic logic of the British genius and saccharine morality of the American ingénue influence each other and the styles meld somewhere between the two.
Reading the story I strongly felt the influence, not just of Conan Doyle and Porter, but also of the crime fiction of Agatha Christie. The plot scenario involving eccentric inventors mysterious strangers and unsuccessful attempts at theft and murder reminded me of some classic Poirot plot set-ups.
Whilst in theory the story is set in Holmes’ period London, in fact the language, especially during the dialogue, does not stay true to period, but strays into modern linguistic territory; I was somewhat startled, for instance, when Watson told Pollyanna to ‘shut up’!
Likewise I was taken aback by some of the liberties Ferraz takes with little Miss Whittier’s character and the great detective’s reserve initially, but soon realised that for this fresh take to work all of the characters need to give a little. This isn’t exactly Pollyanna getting darker, or Holmes getting softer, but two new characters inspired by the originals. This also added to the plot intrigue as the actions of the characters were less predictable due to their development.
All-in-all, as a fan of both Pollyanna books and the whole of Conan Doyle’s oeuvre, I found this a fun tribute to the original characters and scenarios within a fresh story format. Purists may not be keen, but for more casual fans this is a pleasant visit to some familiar favourites.
I turned off the lights and shut the door on my way out. Mary was standing in the hallway, waiting for me. “How is she?” asked my wife.
“Glad as ever,” I said.
“Do you think she needs a hospital>”
“No,” I answered. “The bruises will take some time to disappear, but…”
“I mean an asylum, John,” corrected Mary. “This Glad Game is very nice, but not when a man tries to murder you in the street. I’m worried that Pollyanna is losing her mind, and that we’re watching it happen and finding it charming.”
She wasn’t totally wrong, but the idea of putting Pollyanna in an asylum didn’t please me. “I’ll talk to Holmes, and we’ll see.”
– Matt Ferraz, Sherlock Holmes and the Glad Game
Sherlock Holmes and The Glad Game is available on Amazon right now!