THE SHERLOCKIAN

While occasionally heavy-handed and coincidental, Moore’s fiction provides a shrewd take on the noted author and his...

Another resurrection of Sherlockiana, the conceit here being the story of tracking down Arthur Conan Doyle’s missing journal from 1900—and solving a murder associated with the journal.

Owing to a couple of scholarly articles on Sherlock Holmes, Harold White has just been inducted into the famous but secretive Sherlockian society; at 29 he’s one of the youngest members ever invited to join. A game’s afoot, however, for Alex Cale, perhaps the most prominent Sherlockian of all, has recently announced that he’s found Conan Doyle’s famous missing journal. His plan is to reveal the contents at the annual meeting of the Sherlockians at the Algonquin Hotel in New York, but Cale is found murdered, with the word “Elementary” written on the wall near his body. White decides to solve both the case of the missing journal and Cale’s murder. In his investigation he’s abetted by Sebastian Conan Doyle, the great-grandson of the author himself (who feels he’s the rightful owner of the journal), and Sarah, a reporter bent on following White because she’s sure he has the best chance of finding the journal and solving the mystery of Cale’s death. Throughout the narrative White’s mantra is “What would Sherlock Holmes do?” and his answers to this question lead him from New York to London to Cambridge and finally to the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland, the site of Holmes’s putative death. Moore cleverly alternates his chapters between White’s story in the present and Conan Doyle’s activities in the fall of 1900, so the reader can better understand the reasons why Conan Doyle—or more likely his friend Bram Stoker—would want to suppress the journal. Along the way, Stoker winds up playing Watson to Conan Doyle, much as Sarah becomes a Watson figure to White.

While occasionally heavy-handed and coincidental, Moore’s fiction provides a shrewd take on the noted author and his legendary scion.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-446-57259-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Twelve

Review Posted Online: Aug. 13, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2010

A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

THE BIG BAD WOLF

As in summer movies, a triple dose of violence conceals the absence of real menace when neither victims nor avengers stir...

Dr. Alex Cross has left Metro DC Homicide for the FBI, but it’s business as usual in this laughably rough-hewn fairy tale of modern-day white slavery.

According to reliable sources, more people are being sold into slavery than ever before, and it all seems to be going down on the FBI’s watch. Atlanta ex-reporter Elizabeth Connolly, who looks just like Claudia Schiffer, is the ninth target over the past two years to be abducted by a husband-and-wife pair who travel the country at the behest of the nefarious Pasha Sorokin, the Wolf of the Red Mafiya. The only clues are those deliberately left behind by the kidnappers, who snatch fashion designer Audrey Meek from the King of Prussia Mall in full view of her children, or patrons like Audrey’s purchaser, who ends up releasing her and killing himself. Who you gonna call? Alex Cross, of course. Even though he still hasn’t finished the Agency’s training course, all the higher-ups he runs into, from hardcases who trust him to lickspittles seething with envy, have obviously read his dossier (Four Blind Mice, 2002, etc.), and they know the new guy is “close to psychic,” a “one-man flying squad” who’s already a legend, “like Clarice Starling in the movies.” It’s lucky that Cross’s reputation precedes him, because his fond creator doesn’t give him much to do here but chase suspects identified by obliging tipsters and worry about his family (Alex Jr.’s mother, alarmed at Cross’s dangerous job, is suing for custody) while the Wolf and his cronies—Sterling, Mr. Potter, the Art Director, Sphinx, and the Marvel—kidnap more dishy women (and the occasional gay man) and kill everybody who gets in their way, and quite a few poor souls who don’t.

As in summer movies, a triple dose of violence conceals the absence of real menace when neither victims nor avengers stir the slightest sympathy.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2003

ISBN: 0-316-60290-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2003

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