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New Release: The Sherlockian

41nPLeR3y2L._SL160_By Graham Moore
Twelve | 368pgs
Release Date: December 1, 2010

Graham Moore draws on the history and adventures of the world’s most beloved sleuth, and his creator, in the debut novel The Sherlockian. Interweaving one investigation conducted by Arthur Conan Doyle in the late 19th century and another worked by a modern day literary researcher, the author builds a mystery that would engross Sherlock Holmes himself. In 1893, at the height of Holmes’ popularity, Conan Doyle tires of the character and unceremoniously tosses him over Reichenbach Falls to his death in the story The Final Problem. An irate fan sends him a letter bomb to voice his displeasure, thus sending the writer on the trail of a real-lifer murderer, accompanied by a young Bram Stoker. Conan Doyle documents his investigation in a journal that later goes missing, gaining a sort of legendary status among Doylean scholars. In early 2010, as “freelance literary researcher” Harold White is inducted into the prestigious Baker Street Irregulars, he encounters a new mystery. A renown Sherlockian expert announces to the group that he has discovered the legendary lost diary, but the man is soon found strangled in his hotel room, and the diary is nowhere to be seen. Harold then sets out to track down the murderer and find the illusive diary, using Holmes’ investigative methods.

In preparation for the novel, Moore combed through Conan Doyle’s personal papers, read several biographies, to discover the author’s true feelings for his iconic character. “He resented Holmes for being more famous than he was,” Moore tells NPR. “He resented, in some ways, his own fans for adoring Holmes as much as they did. He delighted in killing off the characters as early as he did.” Yet, despite his creator’s animosity, the Holmes character still resonates deeply with today’s readers, including Moore himself. “When I think of Sherlock Holmes, I think of a guy who can wander into the confusion of life and sort of pluck out answers at will.”

What critics are saying:
Critical reviews have been mixed for this freshman mystery novel. “The parallel story format will not suit everyone, as the abrupt shifts between time periods and stories can be extremely jarring, even as they complement each other quite well…However, these slight annoyances are rendered nearly insignificant by Moore’s exemplary weaving of historical fact and fiction…This is a novel clearly written with great affection, not just for Conan Doyle and Holmes, but their 21st-century fans as well,” writes Michelle Wiener in a review for The Associated Press.

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