Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sherlock In Love Review

One of my interview question has to do with what another author most admires and detests in a Holmes story.  When I asked that question to Stephen Seitz, author of Sherlock Holmes and the Plague of Dracula, he didn't name a specific novel or story for 'most admired,' but he certainly had an opinion on the most despised.  Sherlock in Love, by Sena Jeter Naslund.

Intrigued by the title, I decided to investigate on everyone's favorite website for books and other miscellaneous items, Amazon.  It immediately came up, I read the description, and decided to order it.  It came on Monday, I finished it last night, and I wanted to write a review.

I do feel that she has a good grasp of how Watson would write.  It's (obviously) not Conan Doyle, but it is very Watsonian-sounding.  The first thing I noticed was the very first sentence.  "Holmes was dead: to begin with."  I'm sorry, but the grammatical perfectionist inside me cringed at that opening line.  Why the colon?  And I can't help feeling like Watson would say it as, "To begin with, Holmes was dead."

Anyway, I can't find them right now, but there were two spots in the beginning "Present" section that made me pause.  I was getting in the Victorian mood, and reading those two bits were like coming to a screeching halt when you're hurtling down the highway at 60 miles an hour.  It just threw me completely off for that bit of time.

I also didn't feel it was entirely "Holmes" with how the author decided to have Holmes writing in his journal.  Holmes is always hard to do in first person, (believe me, I know that much,) but while it did sound kind of Holmes-ish, I don't know.  There was also something off about it that kept it from being authentic.

All in all, honestly, I did like this book.  I didn't feel that there was so much of a mystery, at least not with the Victor Sigerson case that Watson reads back on.  However, the beginning drew me in and made me want to read more.

It's not the best Holmes pastiche out there, but honestly, I find I can't agree with Stephen Seitz's apparent hatred of this story.  I'd give it a 3 out of 5.  Not great, but there are many, many worse.


  1. I have to say, I'm with Mr. Seitz, lol! Of all the pastiches I've read, this has so far been the only one I couldn't stand. I had to give her credit for quality writing, but canon errors and that little twist really made my head explode.
    (Leah Guinn)

  2. Lol, I guess this is definitely a case of 'to each their own.' I suppose if I'd come from a Canon perspective first, then I would feel much the same way, but I come from seeing different movies and such first, and I only started reading the actual Conan Doyle material in 2007.