It's 1910. The elderly Dr. John Watson is asked to help a family in distress after their son’s apparent suicide.
John Watson Jr., M.D., often visits his father, who, since the death of Sherlock Holmes, has continued to reside at 221B Baker St., where he occasionally offers guidance to people like Mary Harrelston, who can’t believe that her brother Charles killed himself despite being deeply in debt to his friend Christopher Moran. The police have closed the case, but once the elder Dr. Watson hears that the witnesses include Joanna Blalock and her son, he’s eager to investigate. Joanna is a former nurse and widow living with her husband’s well-off family. Her son’s description of Charles’ supposed leap from a window at the Moran’s house is markedly different from those of the other witnesses. When both Watsons and Joanna visit Moran’s house, John Jr. is amazed at the conclusions Joanna draws from mundane facts. Swearing him to secrecy, his father admits that Joanna is the offspring of Sherlock Holmes’ brief affair with Irene Adler. An examination of the body leads John Jr. to the conclusion that Charles was hit over the head and tossed from the roof of the house. Moran is one of four friends who served in the second Afghan war, and when another, Benjamin Levy, dies in circumstances suspicious to the Watsons and Joanna, if not the police, the three sleuths are certain they’re up against a clever killer in Moran. The distinctly Sherlock-ian clues they have to work with include a coded message Charles had in his possession, a dog that died, and a secretary who’s suddenly retiring to Spain. The question is not who the killer is but rather why Moran is killing off his former friends.
Goldberg, well-known for his medical thrillers (Plague Ship, 2013, etc.), fuels the unquenchable fascination with Sherlock Holmes by combining detailed medical knowledge with the skills reincarnated in the Great Detective’s daughter.