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

by Liese Sherwood-Fabre

Pub Date: Aug. 31st, 2020
Publisher: Little Elm Press

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.