The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes
By Leonard Goldberg, Minotaur, 303 pages, $36.99
Purists may hate a book that starts with the conceit which Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler had a daughter who, years later, joins with John Watson, Jr. to fix cases. But we are in the New Sherlock’s age. We’ve got the movie franchise starring Robert Downey Jr., Benedict Cumberbatch’s brilliant TV series, Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu’s odd couple, to say nothing of various books and pastiches. Sherlock Holmes lives; he might have a daughter. Leonard Goldberg’s book is set in 1910. A nurse, Joanna Blalock, is a woman of intelligence and insight. She and her child see a man fall to his death, 1 day. It seems that he was a gambler. Accident? Suicide? Subsequently Dr. John Watson and his son, John Jr. come to her door and ask her to join them in exploring the death. Her abilities an inheritance impress them. But there is more to the spin in this puzzle that is good. Goldberg sensibly doesn’t attempt to reinvent Holmes or even Dr. Watson. He creates a plot heading back to the Wars, resurrects pieces of the Holmes canon allows a pair of characters and when needed walk through it. An exceptional book for the beach.
Love Like Blood
By Mark Billingham, Little, Brown, 422 pages, $22.99
Mark Billingham has defied the usual, and his new book — publication 14 from the DI Tom Thorne series — is no exception. It’s a bit slow and somewhat long, but the storyline is hot and Thorne has personality depths yet as we head into London and the dilemma of honour. The narrative begins with Detective Inspector Nicola Tanner (last seen in Die Of Shame) confronted with the murder of her life partner, Susan Best, before the couple’s London home. The authorities are searching for one of the enemies of Best, but Tanner believes she was the victim. She’s been exploring a spate of honor killings among the Muslim Hindu and Sikh communities. Tanner asks Thorne to research hunt and Susan’s murder if one exists. The Thorne in this publication is somewhat creaky. His waist is his energy retreating along with expanding, but he is still a cop. The insertion of Tanner reveals that Billingham can let his detective era gently and gives a border that is new to the show.
The State Counsellor
By Boris Akunin, translated by Andrew Bromfield, The Mysterious Press, 300 pages, $36.50
This is the sixth of the Erast Fandorin novels and it is, undoubtedly, the very best. Read 1 chapter and you will know why Boris Akunin is among the bestselling novelists of Russia with 20 million books. The narrative begins with Fandorin in charge of safety for Siberia’s Governor General. When tragedy strikes, the GG is in Moscow and has been spirited from Saint Petersburg. The train, identifying himself boards and kills the Governor General. A dagger with CG on the deal, the only clue. By sorting out the murder, the Erast Fandorin who must save his skin is immediately arrested by the authorities. Akunin combines a gift for mystery plots together with a eye for background. The Empire is riven with dissent. A mole is in the government. There are cells in the suburbs. And, most importantly, there’s the mysterious “Green,” who seeks vengeance for a deceased parent. There’s a little Sherlock Holmes by way of James Bond, Fandorin. So we do not lose the style that gives the show its 24, all translated by Andrew Bromfield.
Review: Boris Akunin’s The State Counsellor and Leonard Goldberg’s The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes