Arriving in the wilderness of London and in need of lodgings, Dr John Watson finds himself living at 221 Baker Street with one Sherlock Holmes. When a corpse is discovered in a derelict house Watson, fascinated by his brilliant, eccentric companion is soon drawn into Holmes’ investigations. There’s no sign of a struggle, no wounds on the body, yet scrawled in blood across the walls is the word RACHE – revenge. Watson is vaffled, but for Holmes the game is afoot.
The first part of the book is as good a Sherlock Holmes story as the short stories I’ve read and much better than the second Sherlock Holmes novel, The Sign of Four. That’s because the mystery ends there. Then, instead of having Holmes to explain his deduction process, Doyle spends almost fifty pages showing the culprit’s motive for his crime.
For someone who only reads these books to find some shipping fodder, the only natural reaction is:
I DON’T CARE!
Although I now have a better appreciation for some TV adaption details, I still don’t care. What I do care about is the love story:
“Sherlock Holmes seemed delighted at the idea of sharing his rooms with me.”
“‘Goodbye,’ I answered, and strolled on to my hotel, considerably interested in my new acquaintance.”
“As the weeks went by, my interest in him and my curiosity as to his aims in life gradually deepened and increased.”
I’ll be in the corner singing the ‘husbands!’ song.