The Sherlockian by Graham Moore
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This one’s going to be difficult to review… but I shall press on…
So I debated for some time over whether this novel should even be under the Project Sherlock moniker, but ultimately decided to keep it under the project because it pays homage to Holmes and his methods.
That said, this has to be one of the hardest ratings I’ve ever given…
Because ultimately while I can say that the story kept me flipping the pages, I am not sure that I enjoyed it, exactly. It’s left me feeling kind of… empty.
To put it bluntly, there was something about the narration that just didn’t work. I didn’t have a problem with the alternating POVs, I had a problem with how dry they were. Sure, I kept turning the pages, but I did so almost emotionlessly. Toward the end it picked up and I started to react more, but too little too late. There was something that just made this mystery dull. I also did not like how, after the angle of Alex Cale’s death is tied up, the narrative has Harold decide he’s not going to pursue the diary any more, and then once he snaps out of it and gets back on the book’s trail, the pace picks up and tries to race to the finish line. Harold could not have done that five pages ago?
Sit down and think before throwing in the towel in order to decide if it’s really worth giving up. And he mopes all because Sarah leaves him. Throwing yourself a pity party will not give you my sympathy, Harold. You barely know her – move on!
Speaking of moving on, shall we?
As to Conan Doyle’s point of view, I enjoyed him taking on the role of his own character in order to solve murders. I liked Bram and I enjoyed going back in time. However, I have the same problem with Conan Doyle’s angle as I do Harold’s. He gives up at some point and the narrative almost slows to that of a snail, and picks up when Conan Doyle eventually decides to (surprise, surprise) get back on his feet and wrap up the case. I also feel like he just got lucky when he bumped into the man who did it. I guess because Harold’s angle was almost done, Conan Doyle’s needed to catch up. That’s just poor management of timelines, though, as it rushed to the end after all of the padding needed to support both storylines in an attempt to balance them out.
All things considered, it just didn’t work for me, even though there were small things that caught my attention or got things going, but I feel like the bad outweighs how good this story could have been if it were done better and treated with more care. Otherwise it just reads like a failed attempt at a new twist on Sherlock Holmes.