The concept here is taking the 3 years where Holmes was “out of touch” and filling in the blanks, using a modern woman who time travels back to accompany Holmes on his travels. Beautifully written with a really clever set of adventures, I was sad to see that there were no real conflicts or mysteries to solve, and often Holmes was rather uninterested in mundane curiosities that from his history, would feed his obsessions.
Jackie is a modern day American woman, appearing beside Holmes at his ‘death’ at Reichenbach Falls: the two develop a ‘partnership and proceed to travel through Italy and Austria and points east. Grace Best-Page can certainly craft dialogue: Jackie’s love of puns and Holmes specifically non-specific declarations are perfectly paced as their interactions show the growing fondness between the two. Banter, bickering and even the occasional ‘lecture’ from Holmes also pepper the story and provide a sense of the character of Holmes with fresh viewpoint and eyes.
Where I wanted more from the story, and from Holmes in particular, was his apparent willingness to just accept that Jackie was there, real and beside him: even though her mysterious appearance through a time portal should have been driving him absolutely nuts. It feels like he either had time travel as an accepted thought, or felt it was not worth his notice or attention. Then we have multiple scenes set in London: while well written and beautifully described, they felt more like filler and not helping to either place or set Jackie’s desires to return home, or to her time. Those scenes served little purpose but to increase the interactions with the character: no new mystery or real adventure was introduced, and the pacing of the story did lag here. However, in the hopes that something would happen, or a new gem of an idea would be unleashed, I read on. Fortunately, the pacing and the story did pick up to bring a conclusion that was mostly satisfactory.
While there were problems, and perhaps concepts that are more foreign to die-hard Holmes fans, this was a book that showed some great potential and ideas, with writing that was polished and professional a great bonus for a debut offering.
I received an eBook from the author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Title: The Death and Life of Sherlock Holmes
Author: Grace Best-Page
Format: Paperback and eBook
Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Speculative
Purchase Now: Amazon § Smashwords § Barnes&Noble § Sony
About the Book:
Jackie Bowman, a modern-day American woman, mysteriously time travels to 1891, where she meets Sherlock Holmes at the point of his untimely “death” at the Reichenbach Falls.
Disguised as Jack, she and the great detective partner for the next three years travelling, braving dangers, sharing adventures, and facing Holmes’ ultimate challenge: boredom. They depend on each other, they like each other, they get on each other’s nerves. With humor, drama, and poignancy, “The Death and Life of Sherlock Holmes” fills in the details of Holmes’ three-year hiatus and continues beyond his return to Baker St.
Discover what made him the man he is, get to know the Baker Street Irregulars, and find the answer to that perennial question: Was he gay? No, sorry about that; rather, did he actually exist? Whether you’re a fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle looking to expand your Sherlockian horizons, someone meeting Holmes for the first time, or you’re simply looking for a good read, this light-hearted adventure will both illuminate and entertain.
About the Author:
Grace Best-Page shares her Buena Vista, CO, home with her husband James and their cat and dog, enjoying the outdoors and small-town life and writing for the local newspaper. She is active as a pet sitter, serves on several community boards, and volunteers for the Boys and Girls Club of Chaffee County. While she rode the trains of Europe after graduating from Wheaton College with a BA in education, “The Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes” served as her prized companion, and though now battered and worn, they continue to grace her most beloved piece of furniture—the bookshelf.