Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Italian Secretary

This short novel was a quick, entertaining read, but I expected a little more subtlety than I got in the plotting and the examination by the eminent Sherlock Holmes of the crimes committed.  The author, Caleb Carr, was commissioned to write an additional mystery featuring Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, and he did a workmanlike job of writing in Dr. Watson's old-fashioned voice and making it seem authentic.  My favorite thing about the book was the setting -- the descriptions of Edinburgh and Holyroodhouse were intriguing, and helped to tell the story.

The most disappointing aspect of the book, though, were the clues that Mr. Holmes followed in deciphering the crime -- most of the clues dropped in the book turn out to be red herrings, and the ones that ultimately solve the case are not necessarily obvious, but not so subtle that they would require Mr. Holmes to use his highest powers of observation and experimentation.  Also, there are some loose strings at the end that are not tied up, and Holmes and Watson are not involved in the final capture of the murderer in the direct way that I would expect.
Post a Comment