Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Sherlockian by Graham Moore

Merriam-Webster.com defines the adjective Sherlockian as "of or resembling the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes esp. in the exercise of unusual powers of deduction."  And you'll get plenty of that in Graham Moore's The Sherlockian.

The Sherlockian by Graham Moore



Is there really anyone who doesn't know who Sherlock Holmes is?  What with the countless movies (TV or otherwise), books and articles dedicated to this great detective, you must have been living under a rock if you haven't even heard of this famous monicker.

Now just as Holmes is a famous character, the life of his author and creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is just as well-known.  A physician by profession, he first dabbled in writing when he found himself with a lot of free time on his hands, having sorely lacked in patients at the start of his professional career.  He will eventually find that his written works will make him infinitely more famous and well-known than his practice ever would.

But while at the height of Sherlock Holmes' popularity, Sir Conan Doyle decides to suddenly kill off his famous literary creation in the 1983 short story, The Final Problem.  The public outcry following this eventually led the author to resurrect Holmes in 1901.

But why did Sir Arthur Conan Doyle decide to kill Holmes off in the first place?  What happened during the years that the famous detective was supposedly "dead"?  Well, Mr. Moore, in this novel, tries to bridge just that.

The Sherlockian is a novel with 2 interwoven stories.  One part tells the tale of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle during the months immediately following the "murder" of his literary creation; eventually leading to the detective's abrupt resurrection in 1901, of which the author nary gives a reason as to why it was done.  A diary, which could might as well have provided that answer, is found missing upon Sir Conan Doyle's and has been lost ever since.

Years later, literary researcher Harold White, an avid Sherlock Holmes fan, who after being inducted in the famous Baker Street Irregulars (a prestigious club for Holmes enthusiasts), finds himself a suspect in the murder of the world's leading Doylean scholar just before the latter was to reveal Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's missing diary (read the full summary here at Amazon.com).

I loved reading about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, with the special participation of Mr. Bram Stoker (of Dracula fame) serving as a Watson of sorts, having his own ala-Sherlock Holmes adventure.  The dialogue was funny, what with both characters constantly berating and chiding each other as close friends do.

Unfortunately, I am not much of a fan of the other story.  It might just be a personal preference but I prefer the old Victorian-era scene more than the modern setting.  I did enjoy reading about the hundreds of Holmes and Conan Doyle trivia that the characters seem to be sprouting out time and time again.  

Stories alternate between chapters.  This is fine for me as a lot of authors use this formula, but I find that in this case, chapters are just too short and some cut at important issues.  It might be a way of prolonging the suspense, but I find that when I do get back to the continuing chapter, the anticipation is gone and in worse cases, I had to reread the previous relevant chapter again.

Personally, I prefer the Sherlock Holmes tale to be a stand alone book in itself.  J

3 comments:

  1. interesting nga naman ang story ni sherlock holmes. bt honestly haven't watched that film when holmes was killed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did he die in the second movie? I haven't watched that yet too. =(

      Although he is "killed off" in one of the original stories.

      Delete

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