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Author: Graham Moore
Authors create characters and literally control their lives, whereabouts and lifespan. Deciding where they go with whom they come in contact and how they carry out their jobs and daily lives is strictly in the mind and imagination of the author. Arthur Conan Doyle created one of the most read, renowned and respected characters in literature in the 1890’s, Sherlock Holmes. Holmes had the ability and insight to solve murders where the police failed. With the aid of his trusty assistant, Watson, they got the job done. But, what happens when an author decides he no longer wants to write about this one character, the world does not recognize his accomplishments, only that of the character he created; he does what any good writer would do: Kills off the main character and hopes the world will accept it. NOT SO! As readers opened their Strand Magazine to read the next story or episode in the Holmes series they never expected to read The Final Problem. The death of Holmes brought on a chain reaction stronger than a nuclear blast and more powerful than a million-bomb explosion. Doyle was booed, shunned, sent a mail bomb and literally ostracized for what he had done. But, there is much more.
Let’s go to the present as Author Graham Moore created his own modern day Sherlock Holmes in the form of Harry White. Harry is the newest member of an organization called the Baker Street Irregulars. These people live and breath Holmes and spend many evenings and meetings discussing his life, stories and trying to best each other in a game of quotes as I will call it. One member gives a quote and the next person has to state where it came from and so on and so on.
Alex Cale is a prominent member of this group and found a missing diary written by Arthur Conan Doyle 1900. This missing diary is worth millions and Cale plans to unveil it and read passages at their meeting. However, it took him over twenty years to find this diary and now, he hopes to share it. But, as Holmes learned you are never really safe from those who want what you have and as guests are waiting for him to take the podium Harry and Sarah, an uninvited reporter find out along with two others that Alex has been murdered.
What would you do? Probably not what Harold is about to do. Using all the knowledge and skill of the late Sherlock Holmes he will forge ahead and try and solve the case the same way Holmes did. Enter Sebastian Conan Doyle the great-grandson of the author. Enraged by the theft and stating that the diary belongs to his family, he enlists the help of Harold and Sarah (as his Watson) to solve the case and find the diary. Harold, taking on the role of the famous author, accepts.
Revisiting the past we learn that in the mail bomb was a newspaper article about the murder of a bride. Conan Doyle upon going to Scotland Yard becomes enraged with the attitude of the Inspector and decides to solve the case himself and find out who was behind the bomb. Doyle and White are both challenged and want to solve their cases the way Holmes would have. Which one does or what happens when Holmes comes back from the dead is in the mind of our creative and ingenious author. Reading this book might help you find out the answers to the questions that I just posed and more.
Let’s continue on: Arthur Conan Doyle enlists the aide of Bram Stoker and Harold White that of a woman named Sarah, in their quest to find the murderers of the victims laid before them. Doyle learns that the women murdered were suffragettes and each sported similar tattoos. Harold and Sarah encounter the person quite different as they are led on a cab and car chase to find safety from those following them. Added to that Sebastian Doyle wants this solved and hopefully get the diary back. But, all of the information gotten by Harold including a flash drive refers to Doyle’s life but nothing about the lost diary or what they are looking for.
Each man, different time periods, on the same quest to find answers. Both men trying to solve the case in the footsteps of Sherlock Holmes. Will they? Wait and see!
Harold and Sarah are in England trying to solve Alex Cale’s apparent suicide when he recreates the murder in his mind, remembers a quote that Holmes would say and the entire situation is almost solved but definitely illuminated. The truth behind his death will definitely give the reader pause for thought. Harold and Sarah might have found out what really might have happened to the diary and who took it, but they have yet to learn who is following them, why and many other questions that still needed to be solved. One very important one is why Alex did what he did and the end result he hoped to gain.
Back in 1900 Sherlock Holmes with the help of Bram Stoker discovers who is behind the letter bomb, the reason for the tattoos on four women and their roles as suffragettes. As Holmes meets with Inspector Miller of Scotland Yard, he learns that the person who was behind his attempted murder and the information he is revealing about her and her whereabouts have come too late, she is now another victim. Who is murdering these women and why? It seems elementary dear reader? Each of these women belonged to a group called the Morrigan.
As Doyle becomes more involved in the murder of the next suffragette, he butts head with the new CID of Scotland Yard when he accuses him of the murder. Sherlock Holmes-Doyle arrested and in handcuffs? Would you believe that the new CID had the gall to arrest him?
In the present Sarah and Harold encounter their own mystery and puzzles. Learning that the diary was not ever recovered by Alex and that it is still out there, they realize that he had no intention of presenting it at the meeting. Inside a book they find in the British Library is a letter from the deceased, Alex Cale. The contents I will not reveal but the author does. You will not believe where the next clue takes them and how it relates to the past. Past and present collide and many murders are solved. From America to England the past to the present each one trying to walk in the footsteps of Holmes and solve their own murders.
Bram Stoker, Conan Doyle, Alex Cale and Harold White: What is the link that binds all four? How did Stoker help Doyle in the past to solve murders and what part will he play in the solution in the present? What happened to the diary? Was there ever one to find? What links all of these four together? Who murdered Alex Cale? Why? You will not believe it? Truths be told, lies revealed and deceits are unfolded, this book will make the reader want to read all of Holmes stories, novels and more and learn about his life. If you were not a Sherlockian before you will be after reading this informative, interesting and great novel filled with twists, turns and surprises and not quite that Elementary to figure out dear reader! What really does happen and who is behind the deceit is right in front of you? Who is Sarah and what is her real motive for wanting to help Harold? Don’t believe everything you think is true? Find out for yourself and learn if Conan Doyle is as clever as Holmes and solves the murders of the girls and more. Is Harold White the next Sherlock Holmes? This author definitely has a new series starring Harold and the Baker Street Irregulars to solve many more cases.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer
Go to www.davidsbooktalk.com to hear David’s interview with this author.