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The Sherlockian

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

The game's afoot!

The Sherlockian opens in 1893 during the "Great Hiatus," which to all non-Sherlockians is the period of time when Arthur Conan Doyle had "killed off" the legendary dearstalker-wearing sleuth Sherlock Holmes and the fans were deprived of any new Holmes mysteries. Conan D...
The Sherlockian opens in 1893 during the "Great Hiatus," which to all non-Sherlockians is the period of time when Arthur Conan Doyle had "killed off" the legendary dearstalker-wearing sleuth Sherlock Holmes and the fans were deprived of any new Holmes mysteries. Conan Doyle has made quick work of the great Sherlock by sending him over the falls, and he was presumed dead for several years. Any soap opera watcher knows that unless the body is found, there's no dead character. And so it was with Holmes when Conan Doyle slyly resurrected Holmes to the thrill of his fans worldwide.


We then fast forward to 2010 New York, to the bastion of all-things-literary, The Algonquin Hotel. It's there that the most ardent of Doyle/Sherlock fans, The Baker Street Irregulars, are holding their private induction meeting to welcome their new member Harold White. All of the members were excited with news Alex Cale had finally located the long lost diary of Conan Doyle. Alex had arrived at the Algonquin on "a dark and stormy night", announcing to Harold that he was being followed and feared for his life. A well founded fear, as it happens.


In The Sherlockian, author Graham Moore sets two clearly defined stages, telling two stories, both using Sherlock Holmes as a main character. While in the past, Doyle is aided by his real life friend, Dracula author Bram Stoker, as they try to solve a mystery surrounding the deaths of young women by using the techniques that Conan Doyle employed while scripting Holmes. A very clever and fun aspect of the story that first time author Moore uses brilliantly.


Moore easily slips us back and forth between the end of the 19th century with Conan Doyle and then forward into 2010 with Harold and his "Watson" freelance reporter, Sarah Lindsey as they search for the long lost Conan Doyle diary.


Being a mystery lover, I enjoyed the plotting and twists that Moore brings to the story. The Sherlockian is a work of historical fiction, and many of the situations and happenings in the book are events in Conan Doyle's life. Moore writes an enjoyable book, encompassing the telling of two gripping tales within the single book. The Sherlockian is the kind of book that I read quickly, rapidly turning the page in anticipation, only to realize I had almost finished the book and slow down to enjoy the end. I enjoyed this so much I'd pay hard-earned money to buy and give as a gift.


I look forward to what comes next from Mr. Moore.


Source: I received this book from the publisher at my request and in no way did this affect my review.

posted by NovelChatter on December 1, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Too much of the author's hand involved.

Graham Moore's debut novel has all the ingredients to be a delicious mystery. it opens with Arthur Conan Doyle and his dear friend Bram Stoker as Arthur debates the pros and cons of killing off his famed character, Sherlock Holmes. Filled with a bitter hatred for his ch...
Graham Moore's debut novel has all the ingredients to be a delicious mystery. it opens with Arthur Conan Doyle and his dear friend Bram Stoker as Arthur debates the pros and cons of killing off his famed character, Sherlock Holmes. Filled with a bitter hatred for his character because all of London believes Holmes to be real, and Arthur to be his literary agent, he sets about to destroy Sherlock and falls into a real life Holmes mystery along the way when murdered young women start appearing across his path. In the present, newly inducted Sherlockian Harold White celebrates his membership into the exclusive Holmes fan club, the Baker Street Irregulars. On the morning of the most important Irregular meeting in history, the presentation of the missing diary of Arthur Conan Doyle, Harold is pulled into his own Sherlock novel when the man who found the diary is murdered and the diary goes missing. Alternating between these two mysteries, The Sherlockian flows along quite nicely in the beginning. The plots are intriguing and, like a good mystery, keep you turning the page. But about a third of the way in a shift in the writing can be felt, a twist in the flow. No longer was I reading a mystery whose words carried the story. Suddenly I could feel the presence of the author, his hand in the way things were turning out, his decisions in making a clue appear here or there. It caused me to step back from the book and view it as a piece of the author's work, not a natural thing of its own. I know a good book because the writing works for itself, the characters carry me along, not the author. When I can sense an author at work, I am removed and the book feels clumsy and even contrived. Sadly, The Sherlockian became that for me. The writing was still decent, but Harold became an annoying, weak character instead of a charming Holmes enthusiast, and Arthur Conan Doyle became a silly, bumbling detective instead of the writer of great mysteries. Overall I became underwhelmed by The Sherlockian about half-way through. I persisted out of curiosity to see how Moore would solve the mystery of the diary, but in hindsight, I've already forgotten what kept me turning the page, and I only finished reading last night.

posted by TheCrowdedLeaf on December 10, 2010

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  • Posted December 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Too much of the author's hand involved.

    Graham Moore's debut novel has all the ingredients to be a delicious mystery. it opens with Arthur Conan Doyle and his dear friend Bram Stoker as Arthur debates the pros and cons of killing off his famed character, Sherlock Holmes. Filled with a bitter hatred for his character because all of London believes Holmes to be real, and Arthur to be his literary agent, he sets about to destroy Sherlock and falls into a real life Holmes mystery along the way when murdered young women start appearing across his path. In the present, newly inducted Sherlockian Harold White celebrates his membership into the exclusive Holmes fan club, the Baker Street Irregulars. On the morning of the most important Irregular meeting in history, the presentation of the missing diary of Arthur Conan Doyle, Harold is pulled into his own Sherlock novel when the man who found the diary is murdered and the diary goes missing. Alternating between these two mysteries, The Sherlockian flows along quite nicely in the beginning. The plots are intriguing and, like a good mystery, keep you turning the page. But about a third of the way in a shift in the writing can be felt, a twist in the flow. No longer was I reading a mystery whose words carried the story. Suddenly I could feel the presence of the author, his hand in the way things were turning out, his decisions in making a clue appear here or there. It caused me to step back from the book and view it as a piece of the author's work, not a natural thing of its own. I know a good book because the writing works for itself, the characters carry me along, not the author. When I can sense an author at work, I am removed and the book feels clumsy and even contrived. Sadly, The Sherlockian became that for me. The writing was still decent, but Harold became an annoying, weak character instead of a charming Holmes enthusiast, and Arthur Conan Doyle became a silly, bumbling detective instead of the writer of great mysteries. Overall I became underwhelmed by The Sherlockian about half-way through. I persisted out of curiosity to see how Moore would solve the mystery of the diary, but in hindsight, I've already forgotten what kept me turning the page, and I only finished reading last night.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    So Much Fun!

    I love Sherlock Holmes stories and picked this up last week thinking it would be fun to read and I was not disappointed. It was very entertaining because of the parallel story lines of a modern day Sherlockian and Arthur Conan Doyle after he decided to kill Holmes. Anyone who's a fan of mysteries and/or Sherlock Holmes will enjoy this new novel from a promising new author.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 20, 2011

    Decent book.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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