The Sherlockian

The Sherlockian

by Graham Moore


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The Sherlockian by Graham Moore

Hurtling from present day New York to Victorian London, The Sherlockian weaves the history of Sherlock Holmes and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle into an inspired and entertaining double mystery that proves to be anything but "elementary."

In December 1893, Sherlock Holmes-adoring Londoners eagerly opened their Strand magazines, anticipating the detective's next adventure, only to find the unthinkable: his creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, had killed their hero off. London spiraled into mourning-crowds sported black armbands in grief-and railed against Conan Doyle as his assassin.

Then in 1901, just as abruptly as Conan Doyle had "murdered" Holmes in "The Final Problem," he resurrected him. Though the writer kept detailed diaries of his days and work, Conan Doyle never explained this sudden change of heart. After his death, one of his journals from the interim period was discovered to be missing, and in the decades since, has never been found.... Or has it?

When literary researcher Harold White is inducted into the preeminent Sherlock Holmes enthusiast society, The Baker Street Irregulars, he never imagines he's about to be thrust onto the hunt for the holy grail of Holmes-ophiles: the missing diary. But when the world's leading Doylean scholar is found murdered in his hotel room, it is Harold-using wisdom and methods gleaned from countless detective stories-who takes up the search, both for the diary and for the killer.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780446572583
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 11/21/2011
Pages: 356
Sales rank: 146,229
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Graham Moore is a 28-year-old graduate of Columbia University, where he received his degree in Religious History. He was born and raised in Chicago, the son of a criminal defense attorney and a political lawyer. He read his first Agatha Christie novel in second grade and has been obsessed with mystery fiction ever since. He currently lives in Los Angeles.

Read an Excerpt

The Sherlockian

By Moore, Graham


Copyright © 2010 Moore, Graham
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780446572590


The Reichenbach Falls

So please grip this fact with your cerebral tentacle The doll and its maker are never identical.

—Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, London Opinion, December 12, 1912

August 9, 1893

Arthur Conan Doyle curled his brow tightly and thought only of murder.

“I’m going to kill him,” Conan Doyle said as he folded his arms across his broad frame. High in the Swiss Alps, the air tickled Arthur’s inch-thick mustache and seemed to blow straight through his ears. Set far back on his head, Arthur’s ears always appeared to be perking up, listening to something else, something distant and behind him. For such a stocky man, he had a nose that was remarkably sharp. His hair had only recently begun to gray, a process that Arthur couldn’t help but wish along. Though he was but thirty-three years of age, he was already a celebrated author. An internationally acclaimed man of letters with light ocher hair would not do so well as a wizened one, now, would he?

Arthur’s two traveling companions ascended to the ledge on which he stood, the highest climbable point of the Reichenbach Falls. Silas Hocking was a cleric and novelist well known as far away as Arthur’s London. His recent offering of religious literature, Her Benny, was a work Arthur held in high regard. Edward Benson was an acquaintance of Hocking’s and was much quieter than his gregarious friend. Though Arthur had met the two men only this morning, over breakfast at the Rifel Alp Hotel in Zermatt, he felt that he could confide in them safely. He could tell them of his mind, and of his dark plans.

“The fact is, he has gotten to be a kind of ‘old man of the sea’ about my neck,” continued Arthur, “and I intend to make an end of him.” Hocking huffed as he stood beside Arthur, gazing at the vast expanse of the Alps before them. Tufts of snow melted yards beneath their feet into a mighty stream of water that had, millennia ago, driven a path through the mountain as it poured loudly into the frothing pool below. Benson silently pressed a mittenful of snow into a tight ball and dropped it whimsically into the chasm. The force of the wind tore bits off the snowball as it fell, until it disappeared in the air as a series of white puffs.

“If I don’t,” said Arthur, “he’ll make a death of me.”

“Don’t you think you’re being rather rough on an old friend?” asked Hocking. “He’s given you fame. Fortune. You two have made a handsome couple.”

“And in plastering his name across every penny dreadful in London, I’ve given him a reputation which far exceeds my own. You know I get letters. ‘My beloved cat has vanished into South Hampstead. Her name is Sherry-Ann. Can you find her?’ Or, ‘My mum had her purse snatched exiting a hansom in Piccadilly. Can you deduce the culprit?’ But the thing of it is, the letters aren’t addressed to me—they’re addressed to him. They think he’s real.”

“Yes, your poor, admiring readers,” pleaded Hocking. “Have you thought of them? People seem so terribly fond of the fellow.”

“More fond of him than of me! Do you know I received a letter from my own Mam? She asked—knowing I would of course do anything she ever required—she asked that I sign the name Sherlock Holmes to a book for her neighbor Beattie. Can you imagine? Sign his name rather than my own. My Mam speaks as if she’s Holmes’s mother, not mine. Gah!” Arthur tried to contain his sudden burst of anger.

“My greater work is ignored,” he continued. “Micah Clarke? The White Company? That charming little play I concocted with Mr. Barrie? Overlooked for a few morbid yarns. Worse still, he has become a waste of my time. If I have to concoct another of those tortuous plots—the bedroom door always locked from the inside, the dead man’s indecipherable final message, the whole thing told wrong end first so that no one can guess the obvious solution—it is a drain.” Arthur looked to his boots, showing his weariness in his bowed head. “To put it frankly, I hate him. And for my own sanity, I will soon see him dead.”

“How will you do it, then?” teased Hocking. “How does one go about killing the great Sherlock Holmes? Stab him in the heart? Slit his throat? Hang him by the neck?”

“A hanging! My, are those words a balm upon my mind. But no, no, it should be something grand—he is a hero, after all. I’ll give him one final case. And a villain. He’ll be in need of a proper villain this time around. A gentlemanly fight to the death; he sacrifices himself for the greater good, and both men perish. Something along those lines.” Benson pounded another snowball into being and lobbed it gently into the air. Arthur and Hocking watched its open-ended arc as it vanished into the sky.

“If you want to save on funeral expenses,” Hocking said with a chuckle, “you could always toss him off a cliff.” He looked to Arthur for a reaction but found no smile on his face. Instead Arthur curled his brow in the tight-faced frown he wore when he was in the midst of his deepest thinking.

He gazed at the jaws of the chasm below. He could hear the roar of the falling water and the violent crush it made at the mouth of the rock-speckled river. Arthur felt himself suddenly terrified. He imagined his own death on those stones. Being a medical man, Arthur was more than familiar with the frailty of the human body. A fall of this height… His corpse banging, slapping against the rocks all the way down… The dreadful cry caught in his mouth… Torn limb from limb on the crust of the earth, the wisps of grass stained with his blood… And now, in his thoughts, his own body vanished, replaced by someone leaner. Taller. A thin, underfed ribbon of a man, in a deerstalker cap and long coat. His hard face obliterated, once and for all, on a spike of gunmetal stone.



Excerpted from The Sherlockian by Moore, Graham Copyright © 2010 by Moore, Graham. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

S. Krishnas Books

I enjoyed The Sherlockian immensely. I couldn't put it down because it was so compelling and the mystery was so well done. Whether you are a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes, or, like me, don't know much about him, if you enjoy mysteries, you must pick up this book.

Janet Maslin

Sly self-awareness keeps THE SHERLOCKIAN smart and agile, [and] it's possible to enjoy this book's laughable affectations and still be seduced by them... it is anchored by Mr. Moore's self-evident love of the rules that shape good mystery fiction and the promises on which it must deliver.

New York Times

David Wolpe

A truly terrific mystery ... Witty and breezy, yet [it]manages to explore the toll taken on Doyle by having created a character so beloved that the creation obscures the creator ... For a first book - actually, for any book - this is impressive. Among its virtues is a feel for the gas-lamp Victorian world. As we read, we understand Doyle's impatience with his world as well as [Harold] White's yearning to return to it ... The Escher like patterning of real life on fictional reconstruction, complete with murder, related rissoles and tentative love story all come off without a hitch. For mystery lovers, this book is a treat. For Sherlock Holmes lovers, it is indispensible.

The Huffington Post

Customer Reviews

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The Sherlockian 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 132 reviews.
TheCrowdedLeaf More than 1 year ago
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.
NovelChatter More than 1 year ago
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.
Booklover87 More than 1 year ago
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.
Ronrose More than 1 year ago
The world's love affair with Sherlock Holmes and his creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, continues unabated. With more motion pictures and television shows devoted to Holmes, we can only assume that even more readers will be drawn to the original stories as well as the myriad of offshoots penned by writers paying homage to the legend and his creator. The Sherlockian, by Graham Moore, is an excellent addition to the Holmes collection. Moore gives us a very detailed portrait of Arthur Conan Doyle at a crucial time in the writer's life. Doyle feels he is being overshadowed by his own creation. He kills off his hero, but is still daily faced with reminders of Holmes' presence. In order to prove his superiority, Doyle becomes involved in solving the mystery of a slain girl. As a counterpoint, Moore intersperses a storyline set in the present wherein a Sherlockian devotee, Harold, is totally involved in the legend and lore of Sherlock Holmes. He becomes involved in the search for a missing diary which Conan Doyle supposedly penned between the time he killed off Holmes and the detective's eventual resurrection. The past and present are artfully counterbalanced to present a blend of action and romance that takes the reader deep into Conan Doyle's life to delve into the last remaining mystery of a master of mystery. Provided for review by the well read folks at Twelve Books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A must read for fans of mystery books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is addictive, I had a hard time putting it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's my first mystery other than the original Sherlock series, definitely lived up to the standards. I would recommend this for everyone other than a few curse words, so not for the kids. Very suspenseful!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Goes back and forth a bit but worth it
Serenity123 More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down... i even took it to work and read it there while on my breaks... Graham Moore creates a story that will have you trying to figure out everything that happens just like Holmes does. Its a great story that leaves you one step behind the hero and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle! A must read for all sherlock holmes fans!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If youknow a Sherlock fan, i recommend this book!
Lisa Wilken More than 1 year ago
This book was fantastic. It had a great pace and scintillating imagery. It was not hard to follow, even if you have not read any Sherlock Holmes stories. If you had, you find yourself trying to deduce along with the characters and solve the mystery with them. The interesting format the author uses by alternating each chapter from the point of view of Arthur Conan Doyle to Harold, the protagonist, is entertaining and keeps you from being able to stop reading. The end of each chapter is cliffhanger enough that you simply must continue reading. You find yourself immersed and trying to make the same deductions and conclusions you would if you were reading a S.H. novel or short story. Of course, this is simply my opinion, but I can't wait to reread it, now with the omniscient perspective. ....all this and the author was only twenty eight. Wonderful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am about three-quarters of the way done with The Sherlockian, and so far, I absolutely love it! It was one of the first books I bought for my Nook, and I can't put my Nook down! It's absolutely amazing! The concept is so creative, and the characters capture you from the beginning. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good mystery, or just a good book in general!
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
What ever mystery hunter would love that is a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes would be to solve a mystery of their own! Well in fact that is just what newcomer, Harold White, discovers as he attends his first official meeting of the Backstreet Irregulars, a private membership of those individuals who have an deep interest in all things involving Sherlock Holmes. The holy grail of all the members is the elusive diary of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle which has been missing for years. Only when a member by the name of Alex Cale announces he has discovered it, does the mystery truly begin. When Alex is found murdered, Harold White takes it upon himself to solve the mystery much like his nemesis, Sherlock Holmes would have. In the novel, The Sherlockian by Graham Moore, the reader is immersed from the first page into two different time periods, one dealing with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle the famous author of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries and a modern day mystery involving solving the murder of Alex Cale who purportedly had the original diary of Mr. Doyle's in his possession. For those of you that love following clues, and unraveling the unknown mysteries in a great novel by fireside, this one is a must for you. I received this wonderful book compliments of Hachette Book Groups for my honest review and uncovered a 5 out of 5 stars! This book is available in hardcover, audio and eBook formats.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In the 2010 annual Baker Street Irregular convention, newby "Irregular" Harold investigates the murder of renowned Sherlock Holmes scholar Alex Cale. The homicide occurred just after Cale boasted he found the lost volume of Conan Doyle's diary. The valuable entry was not found in the hotel room where Cale was killed. In 1893, Arthur Conan Doyle is bone weary of Holmes as he has no life seemingly without the famous literary sleuth. However, he never anticipated the uproar and anger when he solved his dilemma at Reichenbach Falls. In 1900 he has a bigger concern to deal with since someone sent him a letter bomb perhaps because of what he did to his "alter-ego". He turns to his friend Bram Stoker, who understands what it means to write a novel with a character that takes on a life of its own, to help him ferret out who wants Doyle as dead as Holmes. This is a superb Sherlockian thriller with the focuses on why Doyle killed and later resurrected his hero. Readers see the same questions analyzed through the characters in the present day and over a century ago. The parallel subplots are rotated, which can be a bit overwhelming. The murder subplots though well conceived while enhancing the tale take a back seat to the overarching historiographical theme. Graham Moore proves modern day intelligent people unintended and unwittingly bring their imprint to Doyle and Holmes. Harriet Klausner
Carstairs38 More than 1 year ago
Dualing mysteries about the missing months of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his missing diary from that time. Both were interesting, but I thought the ending was darker in tone than the rest of the novel had been.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fun book!
BeesKneesBookishKorner More than 1 year ago
It took me 15 days to read this book. It wasn’t bad, it just didn’t have a flow that kept me from putting the book down. Moore wrote this book from the perspective of Harold, a Sherlock enthusiast/scholar/fan/ and from Arthur Conan Doyle’s perspective; alternating chapters from 1900 to 2010. Just when I started getting into the story, the chapter would end and I would have to switch times and characters. Oftentimes, I would forget where the one time had left off and would have to go back two chapters to refresh my memory. Considering the story that Moore was trying to tell here, I can’t imagine another way that he could have written it and maybe other readers have an easier time staying with the flow of a book like this than I did. Harold’s story involved trying to solve the murder of a fellow Sherlockian and recover a missing volume of Conan Doyle’s diary. Harold is by no means a detective, but he figures that he would have as much of a chance as anyone else at solving the murder with all of his Holmes knowledge. Arthur Conan Doyle’s part of the story is Moore’s speculation as to what is in the missing diary. Since nobody knows what’s actually in the missing diary, Moore’s story is as good a guess as any. This book is almost a retelling of the events that actually occurred surrounding Conan Doyle’s diary and Moore does an excellent job of it. I considered dnf’ing this book a couple different times, mostly because I was frustrated with myself and not the book. However, considering how much I enjoyed Moore’s The Last Days of Night I was convinced that it would be worth it to finish the book, so I did, and it was. I liked the ending and Moore’s author’s notes made the entire journey worthwhile. I think that somebody with Harold’s enthusiasm for all things Sherlock Holmes would have enjoyed this book more than I did and they wouldn’t have struggled with it quite the same way that I did either. That being said, I would recommend this book to people who like to read books about books and authors, historical fiction, and those who imagine themselves to be sleuths.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One type of story sold and unless he wanted to go broke he had to keep on writing some managed by writing under several different pen names one english author had about ten a popular author might try another genre and actually do well with it under a new name. just common sense.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This would not have been a book I would have normally picked to read but was the monthly read for a book club. I was pleasantly surprised and actually really enjoyed the book. It was a very quick and easy read. I would recommend for someone looking for a good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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