Sunday, November 14, 2010

Review: The Sherlockian by Graham Moore

The Sherlockian
by Graham Moore
Release Date: December 1st, 2010
2010 Twelve
ISBN: 978-0-446-57259-0
Softcover Edition; 355 Pages
Genre: Fiction
Source: Review Copy from Publisher

4 / 5 Stars

In 1893, Arthur Conan Doyle takes delight in killing off his greatest creation.  Soon Doyle finds himself investigating a real crime with his friend Bram Stoker - an undertaking he records in his journal, which later disappears.

In 2010, the world's top Sherlock Holmes scholar announces he's finally found the missing journal.  But shortly thereafter, the scholar is found dead - and the journal is nowhere to be seen.

My Thoughts
What I personally loved about this book is the jump between the two time periods. I found the parallel story lines to be intriguing, and as each chapter ended with a cliffhanger, it certainly helped to keep the reader engaged and committed to finding out the truth. As the intertwining stories go back and forth through time, the reader is engaged in a deep philosophical debate about the worth of knowing the ending to a story and the ramifications of knowing and the impact it has on one’s life. I found it an interesting conundrum and spent some time really thinking about our species and our search for truth, the need to know, and whether the truth actually helps or inhibits our lives.

Harold is an interesting character, and definitely not one I would consider to be a hero in any sense of the word. He is what I consider to be bungling, yet possesses a courage and dare-to-do that is admirable as he searches for the lost diary. I find it ironic how someone can be willing to do anything in their search for the truth, including breaking the law. Arthur Conan Doyle, long one of those people who have made my list of the most fascinating, certainly lived up to his reputation in this book, and I was not surprised by the events and the path he took. Although certainly a work of fiction, Mr. Moore gives Doyle’s character a certain attitude that can only be given to one who can create a character such as Holmes. And the reasons for returning Holmes to the world is certainly plausible, although no one really knows the real reasons why Holmes was resurrected the way he was. The two mysteries, although paralleled in the two time periods, have very different motives behind them, and were equally fascinating because of this.

Mr. Moore’s literary ability is definitely what makes the book so enjoyable, as I didn’t necessarily find all of the characters to be as developed as Harold and Arthur Conan Doyle. I would have liked to have seen more of Bram Stoker and Sarah in this story, and learned more of their personalities and their motives. While there are the usual stereotypical characters in this novel, there are enough quirky and intriguing personalities to keep the venture interesting.

The story, though fascinating and fun, was somewhat predictable. This is not what interested me however, as it was the ending that really intrigued me. For many who are looking for that super-charged ending expected in many murder-mystery novels, that you will not get in this novel. However, you will be left wondering the eternal question: Are you happier knowing the truth, or is it the path to discovery that makes you the happiest? What do you do when you have finally discovered the one thing you are searching for, and will it make you happy?

I am looking forward to reading more novels by Graham Moore. I found The Sherlockian to be enjoyable, fun, and intriguing. It certainly made me take note of my Sherlock Holmes mysteries, and I am longing to delve into them once again to see what I have missed the first time through them. This novel is definitely well worth the effort and the time, even if you don’t know anything about Sherlock Holmes or Arthur Conan Doyle.

About the author:
Graham Moore is a twenty-eight-year-old graduate of Columbia University where he received his degree in religious history.  He is from Chicago and lives in Los Angeles.

Blog: The Sherlockian


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