One more fix for those living in a state of Sherlockian symbiosis.
Yet again a manuscript purporting to be the work of John H. Watson, M.D., falls into the hands of an editor who (1) can’t vouch for its authenticity and (2) can’t be stopped from publishing. With that caveat, the game’s afoot for the zillionth time. London business establishments have been reporting a string of incidents that’s dampened their 1895: mice let loose in a ladies’ hairdressing salon, dogs encouraged to raid a butchershop, specialized break-ins targeting specialized places. Holmes and only Holmes—certainly not poor Watson or perennially lamebrained Lestrade—discerns a reprehensible pattern. It’s the protection racket, of course, shipped across the pond and adapted to the foul purposes of the fiendish Rule of Nine gang, a Mafia variant with guess how many non-negotiable rules of thuggish behavior. Donning his deerstalker, Holmes discovers that this Yankee hanky-panky is connected to the unsolved case of the Pope’s purloined cameos, an adventure that still sticks in the great detective’s craw. Will it remain lodged there? Or will steely ratiocination have its belated day?
Roberts (Sherlock Holmes and the Crosby Murder, 2002, etc.) swells the canon but fails to brighten it. For Baker Street die-hards, maybe.