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#318 ~ The Sherlockian

The Sherlockian by Graham Moore

Published by: Twelve Books, an imprint of Hachette

Published on: December 2010

Page Count: 368

Genre: Fiction/Mystery

My Reading Format: Audiobook purchased with a credit from Audible.com

Audiobook Published by: Hachette Audio

Narrator: James Langton

Audiobook Length: 11 hours 37 minutes

Available Formats: Hardcover, eBook, and audiobook


My Review

When Jen from Devourer of Books raves about something, I take notice. I may not always act upon it, but I always pay attention. Her love for The Sherlockian just so happened coincide with the renewal of my Audible credits, so I snatched it up on audio. It definitely pays to listen. The Sherlockian follows two story lines: the life of Doyle after he kills of Sherlock Holmes, a character he has grown to despise, and the drama that quickly surrounds Harold White shortly after he is inducted into the extremely selective Baker Street Irregulars, an almost solemn society of Sherlockians. Both men find themselves ensconced in a murder mystery of Sherlock Holmes proportions, each with their on Watson.

I came to The Sherlockian knowing about Sherlock Holmes and even less about Sir Arther Conan Doyle. Having no idea that Holmes at one point had been killed off, I found it interesting that an author could despise his own creation as much as Doyle despised Holmes. He hadn’t anticipated the reaction of the masses, which led to a lot of fun at Doyle’s expense. I was pleasantly surprised to have Bram Stoker show up and play an integral role in his storyline. The two men were a perfect combination of characters and I enjoyed following them along their path to discovering the truth about a potential serial killer Scotland Yard wasn’t terribly interested in finding.

Harold White was a wonderful character. He could read at a lightening speed and retain even the smallest of details. It was this skill and his passion for Sherlock Holmes that gained him entry into the Baker Street Irregulars. In business, Hollywood studios used his talent to disprove lawsuits brought against them by authors claiming that this movie or that stole his/her story. Harold would ultimately point to an older text as the premise for the movie, winning the case almost every time. When Alex Cale, a Sherlockian scholar, is found dead in his hotel room at the annual New York City dinner for the Baker Street Irregulars, it is Harold who uses what he’s learned from Doyle and Holmes to see a Sherlockian connection to the murder. His observations send him off to Europe in search for clues to Doyle’s lost diary along with Sarah, a spunky reporter he barely knew and isn’t sure he can trust.

James Langton, a new-to-me narrator, was a splendid choice to read The Sherlokian. His voice itself exudes fun and he made Harold, Doyle and Bram come to life. He went between American and British accents seamlessly and he gave the impression that he enjoyed the novel just as much as his readers would. On a personal note, there is a character in The Sherlockian named Jennifer whose name is mentioned frequently and I felt warm all over (while shoveling snow in the freezing cold no less) every time Langton said my name. He’s a seductive one, that Mr. Langton. I highly recommend him to one and all.

The Sherlockian was fun from start to finish. The book made me want to learn more about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Bram Stoker. I also, for the first time, want to read some Sherlock Holmes. The references to A Study in Scarlett especially intrigues me. There are those who have reviewed The Sherlockian who indicate that die hard Doyle or Holmes fans won’t enjoy this novel. I can’t speak to that, but I can tell you how much I enjoyed Graham Moore’s writing and characterizations. It was his writing that allowed James Langton’s narration to shine. I couldn’t recommend The Sherlockian any more highly.

9 Comments

  • At 2011.03.21 11:49, Short Story Slore said:

    I love reading your reviews! I know very little about Sherlock Holmes, but I like the premise of this book. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    • At 2011.03.21 12:00, Jennifer said:

      Thanks so much! From what I’ve read, it may be to our advantage to not be familiar with Sherlock Holmes. It’s a great book.

      • At 2011.03.21 11:56, carolsnotebook said:

        This one’s already on my wishlist. Glad to see you enjoyed it. I hadn’t thought about getting it on audio, but maybe.

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        • At 2011.03.21 11:59, Jennifer said:

          I would definitely recommend the audio version of this book. James Langton is incredible.

          • At 2011.03.21 16:21, Caitie F said:

            I JSUT finished this today and wrote up my review too. To be short, I also loved it and highly recommend it to anyone! Glad you loved it to!

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            • At 2011.03.21 16:52, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

              Between you and Jen, I feel like I need to pick this up right this second!

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              • At 2011.03.21 21:57, Jennifer said:

                Kathy, you’ll love it! How could two Jens ever lead you astray?

                • At 2011.03.22 08:52, Beth Hoffman said:

                  Well that does it! I’m adding this book to my list right now!

                  • At 2011.04.02 16:31, S. Krishna said:

                    I loved this one as well. Great review.

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