New York, NY
When I learned that first time author, Graham Moore had written a novel entwining Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle with a modern setting I was definitely intrigued and I was certainly expecting something along the lines of "mystery reader balm" -- you know the type of novel where a mystery is set, but it's driven by additional mysteries contained within other mystery novels. In the end I quickly learned The Sherlockian is much more than that.
Read more about The Sherlockian plot here.
For the most part I enjoyed The Sherlockian. I thought the story was well written for a first novel, especially one from the 21st century. The plot was clever, interesting, and unique, which combined together will produce a definite page turner. Historically speaking Mr. Moore took quite a few liberties when he fictionalized his account of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but since that is a big part of historical fiction I didn't mind too much. I thought Moore's research was very thorough and although I did notice a few errors, they were very minor and not something that most readers will catch. Within the book the chapters mark the switching point between the past (Doyle's story) and the present (Harold's story). If not done right this can lead many readers to confusion, but Moore kept the chapters brief enough that there was no problem moving from one point of view to another.
My only complaint with the book is with some of the content. For starters, a few characters use some rather crass choice of words, particularly when describing women. Many conservative readers will find this objectionable. There were also some very brutal descriptions of death scenes. I didn't think the content was necessary and felt the author could have toned done both his choice of vocabulary and descriptions to a certain degree without losing any natural grittiness to the story.
In the end and in spite of my complaints, I did enjoy The Sherlockian. It was a fascinating read and I look forward to seeing what next Graham Moore produces.
For more information about The Sherlockian or to track Graham Moore's progress on his next book please check out the related links below.