I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
When Sherlock Holmes turns away the case of persecuted Laura Shirley, Mrs Hudson, the landlady of Baker Street, and Mary Watson resolve to take on the investigation themselves. From the kitchen of Baker Street, the two women begin their enquiries and enlist the assistance of the Baker Street Irregulars and the infamous Irene Adler.
A trail of clues leads them to the darkest corners of Whitechapel, where the feared Ripper supposedly still stalks. They discover Laura Shirley is not the only woman at risk and it rapidly becomes apparent that the lives of many other women are in danger too.
As they put together the pieces of an increasingly complicated puzzle, the investigation becomes bigger than either of them could ever have imagined. Can Mrs Hudson and Mary Watson solve the case or are they just pawns in a much larger game?
It is time for Mrs Hudson and Mary Watson to emerge from the shadows and stand in the spotlight. Readers will discover they are resourceful, intelligent and fearless women, with a determination to help those in need . . .
I really appreciate what the author was working at with this book—taking a famous work of a dead white male author about white male main characters and finding a way to give voice to the women who languished in the background of those novels! And why wouldn’t Martha Hudson and Mary Watson be bored with their supporting cast roles and be anxious to take on starring roles of their own?
The book isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination. But it is obviously a first-published book. There’s a lot of potential here and I’m glad to see that there’s a second novel in the series. Good ideas and decent writing deserve to be rewarded.
I think many Holmes purists wouldn’t be too impressed with this series because the books have a very 21st century vibe to them (Go, girl!) and they maybe make Sherlock and John look more human than Conan Doyle portrayed them. I found that refreshing, but I suspect my gentleman friend (who is an intense Holmes fan) would not be amused.
If you aren’t too deadly serious about the Holmes canon, this heretical little novel might be to your liking.