*I received a free copy of this book with thanks to the author and Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources blog tours. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: Before Baker Street, there was Montague.
Before partnership with a former army doctor recently returned from Afghanistan, Sherlock Holmes had but the quiet company of his own great intellect. Solitary he might be but, living as he did for the thrill of the chase, it was enough.
For a little while, at the least, it was enough.
That is, until a client arrives at his door with a desperate plea and an invitation into a world of societal scandal and stage door dandies. Thrust deep in an all-consuming role and charged with the safe-keeping of another, Holmes must own to his limits or risk danger to others besides himself in this the case of the aluminium crutch.
In this book, M. K. Wiseman has created a prequel to Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, featuring the great detective in his twenties, pre-Watson.
Those familiar with the originals will spot multiple nods to the source materials in this homage, including a brief cameo from Lestrade and mention of Mycroft, plus the recognisable and familiar tropes of his abilities with street-fighting and disguise, as well as his more cerebral talents.
In fact, the style, plot and characters blend exceptionally well into the established canon – perhaps due to the author’s obvious familiarity with and respect for the subject – and I found it easy to forget that I wasn’t reading a previously undiscovered original tale. And yet the story also felt fresh, as it was narrated by Sherlock directly rather than via Watson’s point of view, and depicted his younger self, who felt authentic but not identical.
There is plenty of action in the plot, as a case of confused identity turns into violence, criminal gangs, gold claims and a string of brutal murders. I really enjoyed the novelty of seeing it all direct from Holmes’s viewpoint and getting to see some of his thought processes and felt the author found a nice balance between that aspect and keeping enough back from the reader to retain the mystery for the reveal.
As a keen fan of the classical mystery genre, and of the Sherlock stories in particular, I thoroughly enjoyed this new outing and would definitely read more from this series and author.
Let me first say, most emphatically, that curiosity does not a case make. In my experience, however, it may function much the same as hard evidence or fact. The human mind is particularly attuned to pattern, to its recognition and, thus, discernment of when said pattern is broken.– M. K.Wiseman, Sherlock Holmes & the Singular Affair
The source of Miss Clarke’s troubling disparity as to the true identity of Mr. Price was likely not a large crime. It was, quite possibly, not a crime at all. But it was not nothing, and thus the very idea of the thing had awakened in my imagination a series of questions, and it was wholly within my powers to discover the answers. And though no particular threat had been levelled at Miss Clarke, the menace of harm hung over her, and I should very much like to put that consideration to rest.
Purchase Link: Sherlock Holmes & the Singular affair on Amazon
About the Author
M. K. Wiseman has degrees in Interarts & Technology and Library & Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her office, therefore, is a curious mix of storyboards and reference materials. Both help immensely in the writing of historical novels. She currently resides in Cedarburg, Wisconsin.
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Nifty ‘magnifying glass’ bookmark
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