Thursday, January 20, 2011

Review -- The Sherlockian by Graham Moore

Graham Moore's debut novel, The Sherlockian, was good for so many reasons.  Since I was a child, I have loved Sherlock Holmes.  As an adult, I found the world of Sherlock Holmes scholars in which Sherlock Holmes was real and the inconsistencies in the stories provide endless fodder for scholarly articles and debates.  Half of Moore's novel is set in the world of these obsessive scholars.  At a society meeting, a long lost diary of Arthur Conan Doyle (the creator of Sherlock Holmes) is discovered.  The man who has spent years trying to locate the diary is suddenly found dead on the eve of presenting his findings to the society.  The newest member of the society begins a Sherlock Holmes worthy search for the murderer.

In parallel, Moore tells us the story of a murder investigation conducted by Doyle himself with his sidekick, Dracula's creator, Bram Stoker.  Moore expertly sets this narrative in late Victorian Britain. 

In 2004, the New Yorker published an article about the mysterious death of a Sherlockian scholar, Richard Lancelyn Green.  Moore used that basic story to create the first part of his narrative.  One of the enjoyable parts of this book is how fact and fiction meld, which is exactly what happens in the world of Sherlock Holmes today.

As a Sherlock Holmes fan, I loved the book.  Moore faithfully references the Sherlock Holmes stories (also known as "The Canon") without shmaltzing up the book with all of Holmes' catch phrases. 

The book has appeal to any lover of mysteries, not just Sherlock Holmes enthusiasts.  It has garnered several terrific reviews already.  I am looking forward to Moore's next work.

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