Emily's Reviews > Sherlock in Love: A Novel

Sherlock in Love by Sena Jeter Naslund
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's review
Jun 16, 11

it was ok

This is hard to explain. But let me just start by saying I think I paid about 50 cents for this at a library book sale and uh, I'd say that was a pretty accurate price point.

Basically, the novel is structured like a Conan Doyle story but a bit more topsy-turvy. Holmes is dead (never explained, how exactly and I know it's not Reichenbach falls so sometime after and during the Bee Keeping days? so who the hell knows) and Watson suddenly has a mood to write up some old stories he must have missed down the line but as soon as he starts collecting info some mysterious person keeps breaking into his flat and ripping key pages out of his memoirs. And since Watson's memory isn't exactly outstanding on the best of days, this creates a problem.

Cue mysterious mental patient, and a foray into one major event in Holmes's past involving a violin, a crazy ass Bohemian King and Irene Adler.

While we're on the subject of dear old Irene, one thing that pissed me off early in this narrative was the way the author casually dismissed Adler as a key factor in Holmes's past, summing her up as a nuiscance and a person that Holmes always looked back on with irritation as she was the woman who bested him.

Um, no? As someone who's actually read the Doyle accounts, Holmes only ever referred to Irene with respect, calling her "THE woman" with warmth, not annoyed derision. He respected her and the fact that she was able to one-up him.

The author makes up for it slightly in the end by bringing Adler back in but it still doesn't erase the fact that she threw that bit in in the first place.

The major problem I had with this book is the surprise bit at the end. And uh, SPOILER ALERT in case you're ever inclined to pull this one out of somebody's archives, this is about to spoil the ending for you. I WARNED YOU.

So what ends up happening is Sherlock meets this violin player and is impressed by "him", takes up lessons from "him" and then finds out that "he" is actually a "she". Which is fine, ok, I get it, you have to disguise yourself in the good ole' days to get any respect as a woman, that's not what bothered me. What bothered me was that she ends up being his half-sister in the end. Which you know, is gross on a whole Ian McEwan level but she figures it out in the nick of time and then fakes her own death so he can't find her. Basically forcing Holmes into one of his catatonic cocaine states because SHE TOLD HIM which, DUDE, not necessary, really. The narrative ends with her letter that Irene gives to Watson lamenting the fact that she left him and that she still wanted to go to be with him, regardless of the fact that they were related.

Which ok, I get it, this isn't exactly Flowers in the Attic, they didn't KNOW they were related but it's still a sort of unnecessary gross out factor that's obviously just there for the surprise. I think what really irritated me about it was the fact that the author felt it necessary to make her his sister in order to explain how talented and special yadda yadda yadda she was. Like I'm sorry, in order for a woman to be at all on Holmes' level she of course has to have similar DNA. WHAT? No wonder she hated Adler so bad, a character who was actually CORRECTLY WRITTEN as both a natural foil and charming ally to the original Sherlock. It's called good characterization, please look into it.

Basically, I really wouldn't bother with this. It's a quick read but essentially a waste of time.

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