A multifaceted and convincing addition to Sherlock-ian lore.


From the The Early Case Files of Sherlock Holmes series , Vol. 2

Young Sherlock Holmes’ family comes together to exonerate an Indian princess suspected of murder in the second installment of Sherwood-Fabre’s historical mystery series.

Sherlock Holmes’ powers of observation and deductive reasoning are highlighted early on in Sherwood-Fabre’s second novel, which features the sleuth as a boy. When the family receives guests from abroad, Sherlock blurts out “India” before his uncle, Ernest, even finishes the introductions. One of the guests, Col. Herbert Williams, asks the boy to explain himself and Holmes replies, “Quite easily…your bearing indicates military service....Given your friendship with my uncle, the most obvious location would be India.” He alludes to the ring finger of the second guest, Meredith Cummings, as indicative of her being “recently engaged, but no longer,” a statement that elicits a signal from his mother to cease observing so closely. The idea that the ability to minutely scrutinize one’s environment could be a symptom of social awkwardness presents readers with an intriguing way to interpret Sherlock. Sherwood-Fabre also contextualizes the novel in the era of British imperialism—a prominent component of the story that moves the action forward. The mystery revolves around Chanda,an Indian princess disguised as Meredith’s servant, who becomes a suspect in the murder of a stranger whose clothing marks him as Romani; the killing of Takahashi Fusamoto,Sherlock’s Japanese martial arts instructor; and an assault on Meredith. Sherwood-Fabre adds further twists to the Holmes mythos by suggesting that Sherlock learned his initial crime-solving abilities from his mother. At one point, in order to analyze clues and secure Chanda’s release, she has the family meet in her sitting room, where “her bookshelf housed scientific treatises and...a microscope for her biological studies.” As they converse, she writes ideas on a blackboard, thus inviting comparisons to the leader of a modern homicide task force using visual clues and logic to connect disparate bits of evidence. Overall, Sherwood-Fabre’s reimagining of the famous detective ably expands the possibilities of the Holmes canon.

A multifaceted and convincing addition to Sherlock-ian lore.

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2020


Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little Elm Press

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2020

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A whodunit upstaged at every point by the unforgettably febrile intensity of the heroine’s first-person narrative.


Emerson’s striking debut follows a Navajo police photographer almost literally to hell and back.

Rita Todacheene sees dead people. Since most of her attempts to talk to someone about her special power while she was growing up on the reservation ended in disaster, she’s tried to keep it to herself during her five years with the Albuquerque Police Department. Her precarious peace is shattered by the death of Erma Singleton, manager of a bar owned by Matias Romero, her common-law husband. Although lazy Detective Martin Garcia has ruled that Erma fell from a highway bridge, her body shattered by the truck that hit her on the roadway below, Erma insists that she was pushed from the bridge. “Help me get back to my baby,” she tells Rita, “or I’ll make your life a living hell.” Since Rita, a civilian employee, has few resources for an investigation, Erma opens a portal that unleashes scores of ghosts on her, all clamoring for justice or mercy or a few words with the loved ones they left behind. The nightmare that propels Rita forward, from snapping photos of Judge Harrison Winters and his wife and children and dog, all shot dead in what Garcia calls a murder-suicide, to revelations that link both these deaths and Erma’s to the drug business of the Sinaloa cartel, is interleaved with repeated flashbacks that show the misfit Rita’s early years on her Navajo reservation and in her Catholic grade school as she struggles to come to terms with a gift that feels more like a curse. The appeal of the case as a series kickoff is matched by the challenges Emerson will face in pulling off any sequels.

A whodunit upstaged at every point by the unforgettably febrile intensity of the heroine’s first-person narrative.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-641-29333-4

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Soho Crime

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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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

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