The Strange Return of Sherlock Holmes

The Strange Return of Sherlock Holmes

4.5 2
by Barry Grant

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The original super-sleuth, Sherlock Holmes, is back on the case - When James Wilson retires from journalism, he decides to settle down in Herefordshire with a room-mate, a Mr Cedric Coombes, and at first thinks little of his new friend’s eccentric behaviour. But he can’t shake the feeling that he knows him from somewhere else. As

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The original super-sleuth, Sherlock Holmes, is back on the case - When James Wilson retires from journalism, he decides to settle down in Herefordshire with a room-mate, a Mr Cedric Coombes, and at first thinks little of his new friend’s eccentric behaviour. But he can’t shake the feeling that he knows him from somewhere else. As Coombes displays his magnificent deductive prowess, and becomes embroiled in the police investigation of the apparent murder of a man in bathtub, Wilson, or should we say Watson, begins to wonder just who this Coombes really is . . .

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The pseudonymous Grant takes a fantastic premise—that a frozen Sherlock Holmes is miraculously revived in the 21st century—and puts it to effective use in this first in a projected series of pastiches. In a career parallel to the original Dr. Watson’s, middle-aged British journalist James Wilson returns, wounded, from the current war in Afghanistan, and finds himself in need of a roommate. A chance meeting with an acquaintance leads him to share a cottage in the Welsh village of Hay-on-Wye with one Cedric Coombes, who has a particular interest in history from 1914 on. The action-heavy backstory, involving a mission to avert WWI, is the weakest point, but the present-day murder mystery, with connections to American abuses of prisoners in Iraq, is solid and makes the prospect of further books welcome. Grant gets some details wrong (Doyle’s Holmes often quoted from Shakespeare, for example), but Sherlockians will be pleasantly surprised. (June)
After an embedded tour in Afghanistan, journalist James Wilson returns to England, intending to settle into a quiet life in a small town. Looking to share the rental on a cottage, he is introduced to Cedric Coombes, a tall, thin man in his 60s. Coombes, who instantly reminds Wilson of someone, turns out to be a curious fellow: a cocaine user and amateur violin player possessed of the most astonishing deductive powers. No, this isn't a spoof of the Holmes stories; it's played straight. Coombes really is who you think he is, and there's a perfectly logical (although inherently fantastical) explanation as to how he comes to be living here in the twenty-first century. Grant devises an engaging mystery for our returning hero to solve, a thoroughly modern case involving murder, an American veteran of the Iraq War, torture, and (a more traditional Holmesian element) eerie spectral sightings. Grant adopts a variant of Conan Doyle's style that seems neither artificial nor forced. Readers will settle in and feel right at home in this first of a projected series. A genuine treat.

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Product Details

Severn House Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.90(d)

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Strange Return of Sherlock Holmes 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Philip_K_Jones More than 1 year ago
This book is the first of a series of novels which feature Sherlock Holmes, who was lost on a mission for the King in 1914 in Switzerland. He has apparently been recovered, resuscitated and is recuperating as Cedric Coombes in 21st Century Wales. James Wilson, a retired newspaper correspondent who was wounded in Afghanistan, meets an old friend who tells him that Coombes is looking for a roommate, as is Wilson, and so begins a tale. The 'facts' about Coombes come to Wilson slowly. He is skeptical and fascinated. Holmes seems very much Holmes, attempting to sop up ninety years and more of details and marvels. Meanwhile, Holmes is asked to help the local police with a puzzling little mystery. It seems that a chief Inspector Lestrade, of Scotland Yard was assigned by the Bureau to aid in Holmes' recovery. His grandfather (yes, rat-face) was involved with Holmes many years before and seems to have passed along some tips for making use of him. There seems to be a large Government presence involved in the matter, which argues against the 'simple' explanation nominally provided. The mechanics of Holmes' disappearance and revival are sketchy and bear the marks of a government cover-up, besides being almost impossible to believe as presented. The key word here is 'almost.' The story is crisp and well-written and the writer has a real gift for catching characters. His scenes are lively, his comments are few, but well-chosen and the situations seem to develop naturally. Wilson remarks at one point that Holmes seems to exhibit many of the symptoms of 'Bi-Polar disorder.' This is not a Physician speaking, but it does seem to catch the essence of the Holmes of The Canon. This Holmes is a bit more human than Dr. Watson's version, but is also quite believable. The mystery proceeds apace and Holmes and Wilson, together, manage to muddle through. The clean, sharp answers of The Canonical tales are not in evidence, but this Holmes and Watson (oops, Wilson!) are much more believable and likeable. They relate to one another and they actually compliment each other. It makes for a very interesting book. This edition is new and, possibly, revised from the original 2007 version. It is well-edited and imaginative. Reviewed by: Philip K. Jones, March, 2011
ApexReviews More than 1 year ago
After being wounded in the war in Afghanistan, British journalist James Wilson returns home in search of a peaceful, settled, small town life - little does he know, though, he's about to get anything but that... When James is introduced to the tall, thin, unassuming Cedric Coombes, he soon discovers that Coombes is actually the one and only Sherlock Holmes - recently unfrozen and miraculously revived in the 21st Century - and though a bit rusty, Holmes soon puts his legendary powers of deduction to work in an effort to solve a mysterious case involving murder and military torture. With Wilson playing his modern-day Watson, Holmes doesn't disappoint as he displays his trademark deductive flare in a fantastical tale rife with old-school suspense played out on a contemporary stage. Taut and engaging, The Strange Return Of Sherlock Holmes is a well crafted literary treat. In it, author Barry Grant adds an imaginative, updated twist to an already legendary classic character, thrusting the formidable sleuth in the midst of a global, interconnected society much different than the Victorian microcosm to which he had grown accustomed - yet Holmes nonetheless shines in the strange new environment, bolstered by his unyielding intellect, not to mention his trademark wit. Furthermore, by enveloping his indelible characters within the confines of a genuinely compelling murder mystery, Grant ensures that readers are not only enthralled by the ultimate outcome of Holmes' fate, but also by the resolution of what proves to be quite the multi-layered crime. With riveting action, vivid dialogue, and catchy turns of phrase, The Strange Return Of Sherlock Holmes is the thrilling debut of what promises to be an exciting new mystery/suspense series. A thoroughly entertaining read. Renee Washburn Apex Reviews