Daily Archives: September 27, 2015

Book Review: Sherlock Holmes The Missing Years: Japan


Sherlock Holmes The Missing Years: Japan

Vasudev Murthy

270 pages

Sherlock Holmes died at the hand of his arch nemesis Professor Moriarty. Much like Elvis, he is spotted in odd spots around the world afterwards, but his loyal friend and confidant Dr. John Watson has reconciled himself to the death of his dear friend and retired to the country with his wife. He has his papers and his memories as well as Holmes’ treasured Stradivarius, a thoughtful gift from Holmes’ brother Mycroft.

After two years he is comfortable with his life but a mysterious letter arrives beckoning him to Japan. It appears to be written by Holmes’ hand, in the brief style Holmes preferred. The entire message is as follows: “Watson, I need you. My violin, please. S. H.” . The envelop it arrived in also contains a first-class ticket aboard a merchant ship bound for Yokohama.

So begins Watson’s journey. Aboard the ship he encounters a deceptive bunch of characters. When his fellow passengers began dying, Watson jumps knee deep into the investigation, which unfortunately puts him on the murder’s radar.

After eluding total disaster, the very much alive Holmes and Watson begin a globetrotting race against time to get critical information to the Emperor of Japan to avoid disastrous events that may result in war. To compound the problem, Holmes can’t trust anyone because high ranking officials are colluding with Moriarty. The business of international drug smuggling is worth killing over, and the thugs involved are more than willing to execute anyone that gets in their way.

I love Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books. Written from 1887 – 1927, are a hard act to follow. Murthy did an admirable job. The first half of the book was fabulous. It took me back to all of the original stories by Conan Doyle that I have read. The fast paced, smartly written, intriguing plotline had me turning pages to see what happened next.

Then the plot seemed to deviate a bit by adding long letters from others around Holmes during the missing years. Watson received them to fill in information he did not have first-hand knowledge of. These tended to be long-winded and dragged the forward motion of the book to a crawl. The footnotes about the editor (Murthy’s notes) were just a distraction.

The pace picked up a bit during the final chase and conclusion, but by then I was not as drawn to the plot as I was in the beginning.

If you are a Holmes fan, by all means read this book. It is well written with a solid storyline. The characters are interesting and are not at all who they seem to be, much to my delight. Thinking back over the cleverly subtle clues, all of the information needed to know “who done it” was there. But the number of red herrings rivaled those written by Conan Doyle – I’m sure he would have approved.

Copyright © 2015 Laura Hartman

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

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Filed under Book Review, books, Japan, Mystery, Sherlock Holmes