SON OF HOLMES by John T. Lescroart


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The 25-year-old son of Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler, an American-born secret agent named Auguste Lupa, fingers a German spy in WW 1 France--according to this thin, talky narrative, the supposed memoirs (rediscovered in 1983) of long-dead Jules Giraud, a wealthy French land-owner/agent. Lupa, posing as a super-chef, comes to Valence in 1915 on the trail of an anonymous German agent, ""the brains behind Europe's assassinations for two years."" He teams up with the two local Allied agents, Giraud and traveling salesman Marcel Routier. But, during a social evening at Giraud's, Routier dies from poisoned beer. So the killer/spy must be one of the guests at that small gathering: an American poet, a Greek shopowner, an Alsatian salesman, Giraud himself, or Giraud's lovely mistress, widowed neighbor Tania. And after a few more nasty assaults (and the bombing of a local arsenal), Lupa--the primary suspect of the foolish local police, of course--gathers all the suspects together to unmask the unsurprising culprit. As mystery, then, this is unusally tepid, thoroughly humorless fare. As an exercise in Sherlockiana, it's only slightly more flavorsome: Lupa makes a few coy references to his parents; and there are dozens of cute hints-the name Lupa, his interest in haute cuisine, a young Swiss chef named Fritz, etc., etc.--about the future identity of Auguste Lupa in mystery fiction. (Even casual Baker Street Irregulars will be familiar with his hoary son-of-Holmes theory. And Nero Wolfe buffs will have much more fun with Goldsborough, above.)

Pub Date: April 10th, 1986
Publisher: Donald Fine