With a case as confounding as any in the original Holmes canon and a tale so terrifying it lay hidden for more than a century in Dr. Watson's dispatch box, Sherlock Holmes and the Giant Rat of Sumatra begins familiarly enough. Elizabeth Trent, a bereft widow determined to clear her husband's name of both suicide and embezzlement, visits literature's most celebrated detective at his Baker Street flat. Within hours, though, Mrs. Trent herself is dead, and her curious suicide note draws Holmes and Watson into a ...
With a case as confounding as any in the original Holmes canon and a tale so terrifying it lay hidden for more than a century in Dr. Watson's dispatch box, Sherlock Holmes and the Giant Rat of Sumatra begins familiarly enough. Elizabeth Trent, a bereft widow determined to clear her husband's name of both suicide and embezzlement, visits literature's most celebrated detective at his Baker Street flat. Within hours, though, Mrs. Trent herself is dead, and her curious suicide note draws Holmes and Watson into a hunt for a brutal murderer that takes them from England to Egypt, to India, and finally to the city Mrs. Trent has fled—rich, mysterious Singapore. Throughout the course of their sea journey Holmes and Watson contend with a series of formidable foes, and continually the two travelers uncover connections between their enemies and the cunning, ruthless colonial master of Singapore, Lord Barington. They also find an ally in the captain of the Prophet, who tutors them in the mysteries of Bada—a nation of subhumans ruled by the gigantic rat Harat. And in the exquisite Widow Han, keeper of the secrets of Singapore, they find an ally and more, as her exotic charms threaten to undo even the inscrutable sleuth's defenses against the fair sex. "A rollicking adventure story ... [that] puts a superb spin on the intellectual byplay between Holmes and Watson.... Splendidly written homage."—Chicago Sun-Times
Sherlock Holmes travels to Asia to solve his most confounding case -- and thwart his most terrifying foe.
- Publisher's Weekly
This first novel fails to live up to its initial promise. A cousin of Dr. Watson's late wife travels to Baker Street from Singapore to consult Sherlock Holmes regarding her husband's mysterious suicide. That consultation leads to another death under seemingly impossible circumstances, and to Holmes's decision to journey to Singapore to investigate both crimes. At first, the author successfully emulates Doyle, and the portrayal of a Watson still grieving over his wife's loss adds welcome emotional depth. Unfortunately, once the world's greatest consulting detective and his Boswell start their voyage east, one false note after another enters, and the story not only goes off the tracks but stays there. Watson engages in a series of sexual encounters, often described with (perhaps unintentional) double entendres ("I lay on the couch beside her in blissful exhaustion, penetrated to my core"), which do nothing to advance the story or deepen the reader's understanding of the character. The plot quickly devolves into a bad episode of The X-Files, with action sequences substituting for any real investigation and deduction. Many of the secondary characters come across as little more than cliches. In a preface, Watson asserts that the incredible events that follow really happened, but the explanation for the mysterious deaths is so far-fetched and without any attempt at a convincing pseudo-scientific basis that the reader is left not in awe at the author's imaginative speculations but flabbergasted by his concoctions. (Jan. 4) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Guilt draws Holmes out of retirement in his latest resurrection, narrated by (who else?) faithful Dr. Watson, who arranges a meeting between Holmes and pretty Elizabeth Trent, recently returned from Singapore, where her husband, Raleigh, was accused of embezzlement and driven to suicide. Elizabeth alone believes that Raleigh was innocent and a murder victim; she's fighting for insurance money and the honor of his name. Holmes thinks there's little he can do to help-until later that evening, when Elizabeth dies in a suicide scene suspiciously similar to her husband's. But Holmes's reference to a ratlike intruder prompts nothing but bemused looks from Watson and Inspector Lestrade. While the master sleuth prepares for an excursion to Singapore, Watson quizzes Elizabeth's maid Mary O'Hara, who flirts outrageously. She's interested in Watson not as a doctor or man but as an author; she's written an explicit bodice-ripper (which figures prominently in Watson's fantasies henceforward) and hopes he can help her secure a publisher. Much of the story takes place on a numbingly slow boat to China helmed by yarn-spinning Captain MacDougall, a black Muslim with a thick Scottish burr. Meanwhile, clues surrounding several more violent deaths continue to implicate a ratlike creature as the culprit. The outlandish Singapore finale owes much to the film Young Sherlock Holmes.