A triumphant reimagining of the Sherlock Holmes canon that identifies, once and for all, the great love of the detective's life. Detailed summary would wreck the inventive plot by unmasking its mysteries, which begin to unfold when Dr. Watson's 1922 announcement that he is writing a biography of his late friend brings a storm of threats and warnings against the project--two of them from Mycroft Holmes and a writer identifying herself as Mrs. John H. Watson. The disappearance and reappearance of a mysterious old mental patient called Nannerl leads Watson to a secret Holmes had kept even from him (a secret that someone is now determined to keep from coming to light): Holmes's fascination, dating back to his earliest years with Watson, with Victor Sigerson, the gifted violinist who gave the detective lessons back in 1886 and left him his prized Stradivarius in his will. By comparing his own notes on the Sigerson affair with Holmes's account in his diary, Watson uncovers the woman, code-named ``English Violet,'' with whom Holmes was secretly in love--the woman for whom he traveled that summer to the kingdom of Ludwig II in a futile diplomatic errand that placed both Holmes and Violet in danger. Where does all this leave Irene Adler, the woman of Holmes legend? Don't worry: Naslund (the story collection Ice Skating at the North Pole, 1989) calls on her to point the feminist moral of Holmes's romance in a magical epilogue. Despite some incredible flights of fancy in Ludwig's fairy-tale Bavaria: one of the very few Holmes pastiches that not only honors the great man's memory (compare Nicholas Meyer's slapdash The Canary Trainer, p. 821) but unleashes his residual mythic power for more ambitious purposes.