Inventive and satirical, Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Missing American Culture is an influential work of modern fiction that compels readers to put in the open their own values and ponder American culture, and the roles its corporate and political entities have had upon it. With a welcome comeback of the celebrated detective and his trusted friend, Dr. Watson, the book is a literary tour de force seen through the eyes of Frawley with his perceptive and relevant assessment of American culture.
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Read an Excerpt
The day had started out like every other of the last eighty years, or thereabouts. I had risen at my usual hour of 8am, dressed
and had gone down to the dining room to devour the breakfast
that was always waiting for me by half past. And, as usual, it, and
the morning paper, were meticulously laid out on the Victorian
mahogany dining table I have had since the days of my first marriage.
Mrs. Gale, my housekeeper for the last thirty years was not only
the most efficient domestic I had ever employed, she was the most
cordial and considerate. It seemed an impossible task to replace
her. Yet that was exactly what had been occupying my mind for
the preceding fortnight. She had elected to retire from professional
life and settle in the Welsh seaside resort village of Tenby. Both she
and her husband Bryn had long thought of returning to Wales,
the land of their births, before they were too old to savor it and
their retirement. One could not argue against that. After all, I had
been enjoying my retirement immensely for the last eighty-five
years. Nevertheless, it was with great sorrow and reluctance that I
had accepted Mrs. Gale’s resignation.
As I consumed the usual breakfast of grapefruit, nine-grain
toast, tofu scramble, a pot of Russian Caravan tea and my pile of
vitamin, mineral and herbal supplements, I searched through the
classified ads in the Times. I knew the effort was an exercise in
futility, but the act seemed to help me cope with the impending
loss of my very good friend and housekeeper. Simultaneously, I
found myself recalling an adventure from my very early days at
Holmes’ side that I had yet to chronicle. Since Holmes and I had
been out of the game for some ninety years now, he no longer
minded if I penned detailed accounts of the cases he had believed
were too delicate to speak of in any form, at the time. After all, the
principal parties involved in them were long gone now.
BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM! Suddenly, my thoughts,
and my morning read, were uncharacteristically interrupted by a
strong, anxious pounding at the front door.
“Who could that be at this early hour? exclaimed Mrs. Gale as
she sprang into the room. “How unbelievably inconsiderate. You
haven’t finished your breakfast, or done your yoga and stretching
exercises yet,” she added.
“I’m afraid it’s my fault, Mrs. Gale,” I answered. “Though I
did not expect anyone at this early hour, I did agree to let the
employment agency send someone round today.”
“I’ll send them off and tell them to return at a more civilized
hour,” she offered.
“No, no. You’d better show them in. Let’s offer them a cup of
tea while I finish this most outstanding breakfast of yours.”
“Very well, Dr. Watson. Very well.”
And with that she nodded her fine featured, gray head, took a
deep sigh to help hold back the tongue-lashing she felt certain our
early arriving visitor deserved and darted for the door.
While Mrs. Gale fetched our visitor, I put down my paper and
concentrated on the food before me. However, I could only manage
a single bite before Mrs. Gale returned with our unexpected guest.
“Excuse me, Dr. Watson. A Mr. Moore to see you, sir,” she
I looked up to see a tall, very well tailored, man of about forty-
five-years of age standing before me. He was slender and appeared
very fit. His dark, finely manicured hair revealed scarcely a gray hair
and his clean-shaven face exposed a strong square jaw. Yet immediately
I could see an anxiousness about him that clearly contrasted the image
of the strong, confident man his physicality presented.
“Good morning, Mr. Moore. What can I do for you, sir? I
SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE CASE OF THE MISSING AMERICAN CULTURE
cooperatively asked. “I assume you have some people for me to
“Excuse me?” he responded with confusion and a refined, yet
unmistakable, southern American accent. “I don’t quite know what
you mean, sir.”
“Ah”, I shot back. “Clearly you are not from the employment
agency. Are you?”
“No, sir. I’m not. I’m from the U.S., sir.”
“Yes. Well then, what brings you all this way, Mr. Moore?”
“I’m awfully sorry to interrupt your breakfast, Dr. Watson. Please,
forgive me,” he stated with a slight tremble and a genuine regret.
“Come, come, young man. It’s quite all right. My ritualistic
mornings can do with some variation now and then. What is it
that inspires you to visit me this morning?”
“Well sir, to put it simply, I desperately need your help.” he
“What sort of assistance can I be to you, Mr. Moore?” I asked
with a slight pitch in my voice that gave away my intense curiosity.
“I have not practiced medicine in almost a century.”
“No, sir. I have not come to seek your medical counsel. Although
I am sure you are still quite—”
“You are very kind,” I eagerly jumped in. “But I still would
very much like to know the nature of your business.”
“Yes, sir. Well—,” he continued, trying to quickly swallow the
nervous lump in his throat.
“Please, Mr. Moore, do have a seat. Mrs. Gale, would you
mind pouring our guest of cup of this marvelous tea of yours?”
“Certainly, Doctor.” she dutifully replied.
“Thank you, Dr. Watson,” said Moore humbly.
“Now sir, again, how can I be of service to you?” I asked.
“Well, Dr. Watson, I am an American.”
“Yes, I have observed that.”
“And, well, sir, I have been sent here on a matter of the utmost
importance and urgency.”
“Really?” I said with a slightly feigned impression.
“Yes, sir. It’s very, very serious, I’m afraid.”
“That may be, but what use can I, an elderly retired physician,
be to you in your time of need?”
“Sir, I am an employee of the United States government.”
His face quickly lit up and he sat erect in his chair.
“What, may I ask, could the United States government want
of me?” I asked.
“Sir, I am an attorney, specially appointed by the president
himself to act in his behalf on the matter.”
“I see. Well then, what is this urgent matter?”
“I cannot tell you, sir,” he said coldly.
“Well then,” I quickly countered, “how can I possibly assist
you if I do not know what you require assistance with? I’m afraid
you must enlighten me a bit more, young man.”
Moore quickly retrieved a wallet and passport from the inside
breast pocket of his jacket and tossed them onto the table before
“Excuse me, sir,” he said with much humility in his tone. “I
regret that I cannot.”
He followed this with another item from his jacket pocket. It
was a small identification card, complete with photograph, issued
by the United States government.
“These, sir, should confirm I am who I say I am, sir.”
“Very well, Mr. Moore. Let’s assume you are who you say you
are. I have no reason to doubt you. I only ask that you simply tell
me what it is you wish of me.”
“Yes, sir.” he happily replied.
“Excuse me, but did you not, just a minute ago, say you were
unable to explain to me the nature of the prob—”
“That is true, sir,” he said quickly. “I cannot discuss the nature
of the problem with you, Dr. Watson. However, I can share with
you what it is we desire of you, sir.”
“You perplex me, Mr. Moore. But, indeed, I am all ears.”
“Thank you, sir.”
SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE CASE OF THE MISSING AMERICAN CULTURE
His manner became slightly schoolboy-ishly giddy.
“Please, sir, let me start out by saying what a genuine pleasure
it is to meet you. In fact, while on the plane over, I reread several of
your accounts of the adventures you had experienced with Mr.
Sherlock Holmes. Outstanding! Simply outstanding!”
I was growing fairly tired of this drawn out plea for help that I
am certain I was less than polite when I lowered my brow and
firmly stated, “I appreciate that, Mr. Moore. But I do have other
business to tend to and—”
“Oh, yes, certainly. Do forgive me,” he groveled.
“Now please, may we get on with the nature of your business
“Yes, Dr. Watson, of course.”
He took another swallow.
“We, my government that is, has tried numerous times to
consult with your good friend, the great master himself, Mr.
Sherlock Holmes. But I am afraid we could not manage to get the
time of day from him, sir.”
“I should say not. Mr. Holmes has retired and is no longer
interested in pursuing criminals or coming to the aid of
governments, as he had done many a time during his great career.
Surely you are aware of this by now?”
“Of course, sir, we are very much aware of that fact. But this is
a matter of life and death.”
His voice broke with such emotion I expected the man to begin
“We, sir,” he continued, “we, the United States of America, are
a country very nearly on the brink of ruin. We sir, the world’s sole
remaining superpower, have reached the end of our rope. We, sir,
have exhausted every measure available to us, and then some, and
yet we can proclaim no success. Thus, the only recourse left to us,
we very much hope, is to throw our fate into the hands of your
good and wondrous friend, Mr. Sherlock Holmes.”
I sat breathless, struck by the audacity of this man, and the
government behind him. He looked squarely into my face as he sat
waiting for my response to such an appeal. But I thought long and
hard. He began to speak again, but I waved him off before he
could utter a single syllable. I took a sip of my Russian Caravan,
which, thanks to this very long-winded visitor, was now cold. That
was the topper! My mind was made up. Holmes was my dearest
friend. It is to him that I owe so much of what I am. It is he I place
before all others, superpowers included.
“So if I hear you correctly,” I began, “what you ask is for me to
arrange an audience with Mr. Holmes?”
“Yes, sir,” the nervy intruder answered with great enthusiasm.
“Yes, that is exactly what we wish, Doctor.”
Thinking for another second, I reached for my teacup. Feeling
the coolness of it in my hand, I thought to myself, “He shall swing
And just as I was about to speak, Mrs. Gale, who had astutely
observed the tea fiasco, quickly came to my aid with a fresh pot
and another cup, the perfect antidote. Nothing like a hot cup of
Russian Caravan coming to the rescue, his of course.
With myself now somewhat collected, I turned to the
government servant beside me and calmly began to state my position
on the matter.
“I am afraid that even I will not be able to persuade Mr. Holmes
to meet with you. For as I have stated, Mr. Holmes has retired.
Today he is a simple beekeeper, keeping quietly to his own. And
he is vehemently opposed to any unwanted intrusion.”
“But, sir, the matter is most grave!”
“I am truly sorry. However, my friendship with Mr. Holmes is
far too valuable to risk on a matter I am certain he will have not the
slightest interest in. Furthermore, I simply cannot allow you to
invade his privacy in this manner.”
Mr. Moore’s face began to sag like a child’s face that fails to
persuade its parent to purchase for it that impulse candy at the
supermarket checkout. It was rather pathetic for a man of his
position and physicality.
“Dr. Watson,” he said with an extreme seriousness, such as a
man walking the plank might, “I implore you—No, I beg you sir,
to reconsider. This is our only option.”
SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE CASE OF THE MISSING AMERICAN CULTURE
He took another swallow.
“Mr. Holmes is our only hope.”
“Surely you greatly dramatize the need for his assistance,” I
“Not by any measure, sir. Not by any measure. Why, if we
cannot enlist Mr. Holmes’ assistance, then, I’m afraid, we are done
for and we must place the very existence of our great country entirely
in the hands of God and pray for a miracle.”
He spoke those words with such passion, such despair, I thought
to myself, only the great Olivier himself could have given a more
convincing, more moving delivery. And this man was no thespian.
Clearly he must speak the truth. But was the United States really
on the brink of disaster? Could such a thing really be? I read the
newspapers. I found nothing alluding to any threat to the U.S.
But, still his plea began to affect me. So much so, I was almost
“Mr. Moore,” I started, “tell me something.”
“Anything,” he replied.
“How is it that you have concluded that Mr. Holmes, and
only Mr. Holmes, can rescue your very powerful nation? It has
every possible weapon, every conceivable arsenal at its disposal,
manpower, technology, even forensics. What can a man of his age,
a man long out of the game, do what such a powerful entity
“That Dr. Watson, is a mystery to me,” he replied. “I only
know that he is the only human on the planet that is capable of
seeing into, and right through, the very heart of evil. All one need
do is read your accounts of his accomplishments to be certain of
that. Surely, there is no other, only he.”
“How can I assist you?” the words rocketing out of my mouth
before I knew it. “Shall I ring him?”
“Heavens no, Doctor. He is certain to refuse us.”
“Then what do you prefer I do?”
“I have a car outside. We could drop in on him together
I stepped away from the table, ignored the disapproving look
on Mrs. Gale’s face and started for the Georgian hat rack in the
foyer to grab my hat and coat.
“He will be extremely angry with me when he discovers my
“He will understand, I’m sure,” offered Mr. Moore.
“I suggest we take my Range Rover. He’ll recognize it
immediately. Thus, effecting your audience with Holmes more
easily,” I said with great trepidation as I steered my very excited
and relieved American visitor to the door.
“After you, Doctor.”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book was a real eye opener. This novel was a funny account of the American Culture or lack of it. I am going to suggest my family and friends read this. I laughed out loud to many parts of the novel. I loved it and hope the author comes out with more novels. I will definitely read anything by this author.
This book is a real eye opener. The book is a funny but accurate account of our American culture or should I say lack of it. I loved this book and laughed out loud several times. I will suggest all my family and friends read this book. The author is a very excellent and humorous writer. The author's work is brilliant!
The only time I put this book down, was to laugh or seriously ponder the authors insight of American culture. The book has everything - humor, mystery, intrigue. I read the book a month ago and it still stays in my head.
Agonizing recycled diatribes stitched together in a novel that should have been no more than a short story. Each page was more tiring than the last. I returned my copy. Dreadful, plodding and pompous. Based on the timing of the previous reviews, I suspect his friends and family are responsible for the unwarranted raves.
I was simply knocked out by this book. It made me think, it made me angry, it made me laugh and it kept me intrigued. I also could not believe it was making me rethink certain behaviors and ideas. I went right out and removed my alumni-license-plate-frame.
Kenneth Frawley's debut novel in my humble opinion is the quintessential read this year. It's good advise delivered with page-turning rumor. I found the idea for the book to be smart, original and very much needed. I found myself laughing out loud and unable to put it down.
This novel is an exciting page-turning mystery. The author shared a thought provoking view of American culture, with a sense of humor and wit. This is truly a creative work of literature and forced me to think about American culture, politics, business, education and my role in society. Interwoven within the cultural review is an interesting fun fast-paced mystery. I truly enjoyed reading this book.
Skillfully blends the classic Holmes characters with modern day life. Listening to Holmes and Watson interpret 21st century American life made me laugh out loud several times. The book also fits into our current day political culture where the traditional lines are blurred, with government and corporate monopolies running the country. It¿s a biting satire!!!