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Sunday, 18 January 2015

Sherlock Holmes and the Queen of Diamonds Book Review

Sherlock Holmes and the Queen of Diamonds, a pastiche by David Whitehead and Steve Hayes, two writers well known to the Archive, is now available as a low price Kindle eBook and it's well worth reading and will appeal to not only fans of Sherlock Holmes but  anyone who likes a well written, no nonsense action adventure with a cerebral leaning.

I found it interesting that the authors chose to write this Holmes book in third person, rather than the more usual first person from Watson's POV - After all Conan Doyle used the first person with Watson narrating the story for most of his Holmes adventures. True he did use the third person a couple of times, as well as having Holmes narrating a couple himself but these are oddities and don't stand up there with the best of Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes adventures. I asked author David Whitehead why he opted for the third person and he told me that he wrote the novel from an un-produced movie script written by Steve Hayes and that the third person narrative style was the only way to tell the story. After all there are sections of the story that neither Holmes, nor Watson witness. And of course using the third person means that the author(s) don't have to slavishly try to recreate Conan Doyle's own style, which is often a failing with Sherlock Holmes stories by other hands.

The story starts off feeling very much like a traditional Conan Doyle Holmes adventure but there is a major twist around the half way point that I just didn't see coming, and from that point onwards the feel of the book changes and it becomes a roller-coaster action adventure - think Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes but with more substance. The Holmes of this book is very much the deductive genius we know and love but Watson seems often to be a rather useless appendage, likely due to the third person narrative and of course that the main thrust of the story is not the relationship between Holmes and Watson, something intrinsic to the Conan Doyle stories, but rather the relationship between Holmes and a brash American, whose identity I'll leave the reader to discover for themselves.

That said this does indeed feel like a Sherlock Holmes adventure and I was hooked after the first few pages. If you like Sherlock Holmes then you'll enjoy this, but the book will also appeal to those who enjoy a damn good adventure - the kind of book that used to fill the paperback rack in years gone by.

Quite excellent...a story that can quite cleverly fit into the canon without causing any major ripples.


Oscar said...

You make it sound like a must read, and I'll add it to my TBR file. Thanks, Gary.

Anonymous said...

I had never heard of this book before discovering your review but it sounds definitely worth the reading.