Seasoned Sherlock-ian Faye (Jane Steele, 2016, etc.) adds two new stories to 13 she’s previously published to give a synoptic overview of the career of the famed consulting detective.
Few fictional characters have been reimagined as freely as Sherlock Holmes. The iconic Victorian has been transported to Greece, India, Brazil, Tibet, Japan, and the American prairie, regressed back to his teens, turned into a woman, and played minor roles in a host of novels, including NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Mycroft Holmes. But rather than extracting Holmes from the reality of Victorian England, Faye returns the detective to his Baker Street flat and provides a steady stream of conundrums to feed his agile brain. Before him parades humanity in all its pride and pathos. A suspicious husband seeks to explain his wife’s sudden aversion to her jewelry. A taxidermist suffers the loss of a precious gem. An engaged couple claim they can use electric currents to communicate with the dead. A deranged opera singer believes he’s been kidnapped repeatedly from Hyde Park and returned to Covent Garden. The impressively varied puzzles not only provide the detective the chance to display his famed powers of deduction, but increasingly humanize Holmes by putting him more and more on the side of the angels, giving him the chance to free women from perilous unions and save innocents from deception and fraud. Faye also restores Watson to Holmes’ side and allows the relationship between the detective and his biographer to mature and mellow without altering either man’s essential character.
It’s refreshing to see Holmes be Holmes. Fans and neophytes alike should cheer Faye’s reinvigoration of Conan Doyle’s hero and his panoramic world.