With the international bestseller The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, Nicholas Meyer brought to light a previously unpublished case of Sherlock Holmes, as recorded by Dr. John H. Watson. Now Meyer returns with a shocking discovery—an unknown case drawn from a recently unearthed Watson journal.
January 1905: Holmes and Watson are summoned by Holmes' brother Mycroft to undertake a clandestine investigation. An agent of the British Secret Service has been found floating in the Thames, carrying a manuscript smuggled into England at the cost of her life. The pages purport to be the minutes of a meeting of a secret group intent on nothing less than taking over the world.
Based on real events, the adventure takes the famed duo—in the company of a bewitching woman—aboard the Orient Express from Paris into the heart of Tsarist Russia, where Holmes and Watson attempt to trace the origins of this explosive document. On their heels are desperate men of unknown allegiance, determined to prevent them from achieving their task. And what they uncover is a conspiracy so vast as to challenge Sherlock Holmes as never before.
Set in 1905, Meyer's memorable fourth Sherlock Holmes novel, his first since 1993's The Canary Trainer, convincingly mimics Conan Doyle's writing style and characterizations. After the murder of British operative Manya Lippman, Holmes's brother, Mycroft, the dead woman's employer, asks for help in tracing the origins of the papers found on her corpse. Lippman apparently paid with her life for somehow obtaining a French version of the anti-Semitic tract known as The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, which describe a Jewish plot for world domination. Mycroft is concerned about a possible connection between the documents, the annual meetings of Jews committed to the establishment of a Jewish homeland, and the untimely death of Zionist leader Theodor Herzl, who apparently suffered a heart attack right before he could be interviewed by one of Mycroft's agents. Holmes and Watson's pursuit of the truth takes them to France and Russia, where their ethics face a severe test. Meyer cleverly plays with his audience's expectations, noting at the outset that the case was one of Holmes's rare failures. Sherlockians will hope for a shorter wait for his next pastiche. Author tour.
Sherlock Holmes is back
The Adventure of the Peculiar Protocols by Nicholas Meyer
Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Dr. Watson are back in this recently discovered diary entry from the early 1900s. The detective that made Arthur Conan Doyle famous is now in new hands but just as logical and insightful as always. The story has all the elements we have come to know and love, political intrigue, exotic locales, and a cast of fascinating characters.
What I Liked
Tone, pace, and content closely resemble my memory of the original stories. Fans will enjoy that the novel stays true to the original on many essential aspects. This similarity also enables the reader to suspend disbelief easily and even question at times if this is a real diary discovered by the author.
There is a bit more depth to the characters than in the stories by Arthur Conan Doyle. Sherlock achieves a more three-dimensional persona with his possible err in judgment concerning an extramarital affair, and Watson is not the fool that Doyle created. He provides a human element to the story, which works as a foil to Holmes’ logic in many situations.
The fake news angle of the story is relatable to readers today. Using a current topic in the historical context of the novel makes it easier for today’s readers to connect to and enjoy more fully. I think this is an ingenious plot angle for the story to utilize.
What I Wish
The novel had a faster pace. Though Doyle’s stories are paced similarly, the modern reader needs a quicker pace to stay invested in the story. In our on-demand world, attention-spans have changed to expect it and thus, have little patience for the slow build.
To Read or Not to Read
If you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes in any incarnation, you will enjoy this story and the approach it takes to a well-known character.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
A major proof reading fail
I don’t know if the print version was so badly proofread, but this version has an error on EVERY page! Despite this the book is enjoyable.