Entertaining, Downton Abbey–era addition to the Holmes homage canon.


Dr. Watson teams up with the son of Holmes’ landlady to investigate the death of the celebrated sleuth in this Arthur Conan Doyle–inspired novel.

Holmes is really gone this time, Dr. Watson notes in his journal. The detective didn’t die at Reichenbach Falls 21 years ago; he resurfaced a few years later, eventually retiring to Sussex. Now, though, Holmes is truly dead, his body just found, with blunt-object injuries, in a granary in Kent. Watson goes to Baker Street to discuss the news with Mrs. Hudson, Holmes’ former landlady. Her son Christopher, now living in Holmes’ flat and contemplating medical school, asks to see the body and then declares that Holmes actually died being run over by a car of a recent make, most likely a 1912 Renault. Watson also travels to Bedlam to probe Holmes’ incarcerated nemesis Professor Moriarty, who asks to attend the funeral. Holmes’ will is then read, revealing an odd behest to provide ongoing monies to Delilah Church, one of the “Baker Street Irregulars” street kids who helped Holmes in his work. Her appearance at Holmes’ funeral, where Moriarty kills his guard before being hauled back to Bedlam, further convinces Christopher and Watson to find out what was really going on with Holmes. In alternating journal entries, they detail their journey through the social strata, which includes interactions with Wiggins, the Irregulars leader–turned–crime boss, various police officials and an aristocratic MP perhaps in Moriarty’s pocket. The case concludes with a fiery showdown that plays out the consequences of some disappointing (particularly to Watson), years-earlier action by Holmes. Holmes fans will likely be tickled by Fable’s tale, which amusingly brings Watson into the early 20th century, contending with a motorbike-riding, jeans-wearing Christopher and even a suffragette rally. The mystery plot gets a bit tangled at times, with an array of players and incidents, yet this also produces the kind of narrative Gordian knot that Holmes aficionados will relish. Overall, it’s a fun, fine setup for a new series pairing Watson with a plucky young partner.

Entertaining, Downton Abbey–era addition to the Holmes homage canon.

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: -

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2014

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Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

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Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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A flabby, fervid melodrama of a high-strung Southern family from Conroy (The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline), whose penchant for overwriting once again obscures a genuine talent. Tom Wingo is an unemployed South Carolinian football coach whose internist wife is having an affair with a pompous cardiac man. When he hears that his fierce, beautiful twin sister Savannah, a well-known New York poet, has once again attempted suicide, he escapes his present emasculation by flying north to meet Savannah's comely psychiatrist, Susan Lowenstein. Savannah, it turns out, is catatonic, and before the suicide attempt had completely assumed the identity of a dead friend—the implication being that she couldn't stand being a Wingo anymore. Susan (a shrink with a lot of time on her hands) says to Tom, "Will you stay in New York and tell me all you know?" and he does, for nearly 600 mostly-bloated pages of flashbacks depicting The Family Wingo of swampy Colleton County: a beautiful mother, a brutal shrimper father (the Great Santini alive and kicking), and Tom and Savannah's much-admired older brother, Luke. There are enough traumas here to fall an average-sized mental ward, but the biggie centers around Luke, who uses the skills learned as a Navy SEAL in Vietnam to fight a guerrilla war against the installation of a nuclear power plant in Colleton and is killed by the authorities. It's his death that precipitates the nervous breakdown that costs Tom his job, and Savannah, almost, her life. There may be a barely-glimpsed smaller novel buried in all this succotash (Tom's marriage and life as a football coach), but it's sadly overwhelmed by the book's clumsy central narrative device (flashback ad infinitum) and Conroy's pretentious prose style: ""There are no verdicts to childhood, only consequences, and the bright freight of memory. I speak now of the sun-struck, deeply lived-in days of my past.

Pub Date: Oct. 21, 1986

ISBN: 0553381547

Page Count: 686

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 30, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1986

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