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Mycroft and Sherlock: The Empty Birdcage

(Mycroft Holmes and Sherlock #3)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  1,118 ratings  ·  157 reviews
The new novel by NBA All-Star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, starring brothers Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes.

It is 1873, and as the economies of Europe threaten to crumble, Mycroft Holmes finds himself in service to the Crown once again. A distant relative of Queen Victoria has been slain by the Fire Four Eleven killer, a serial murderer who leaves no mark upon his victims, only a mys
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 24th 2019 by Titan Books (UK)
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Average rating 4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,118 ratings  ·  157 reviews

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Oct 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: titan
I really enjoyed about 80% of the book, but towards the end, I kept thinking, wait, that can't be all. Beyond the completely mystifying headstands in the garret (I get the point of them but could not for the life of me decipher what was actually going on while reading their depiction,) I was annoyed by what short shrift the apprehension of the serial killer earned. There was so much rich, exciting material in the lead up to the solution of this case that for the book to end as abruptly as it did ...more
Deb Jones
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
As a lifelong fan of the original Sherlock Holmes, I am picky about Holmesian tales written by anyone who isn't Conan Doyle. This series of Holmes stories, co-authored by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse fit neatly into the original cast of characters and their personalities. The prose is similar in style to the original stories and maintains the same feeling of time and place.

The Empty Birdcage is the third in this ongoing series featuring Mycroft and Sherlock in their early years. I fou
I've enjoyed all of Abdul-Jabbar's "Sherlock Holmes" novels, but this one not quite so much. Mycroft and his friend Cyrus Douglas are trying to find the Chinese fiancé of Ai Lin, a woman Mycroft loves but knows he can never win. The fiancé is mixed up with a sinister arms dealer who is sure he can outwit Mycroft. Meanwhile, the still young Sherlock comes down from his college determined to find the mysterious killer who seems to kill without weapons or motives. Both parties achieve their aims, a ...more
May 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
This is the third Mycroft Holmes book. I found it a bit disjointed, but enjoyed it. Mycroft and Sherlock are actually on completely different investigations. Sherlock is intrigued by a series of random killings. The victims appear to have nothing in common. The killer leaves no footprints or weapons marks but there is a card that says "Fire Four Eleven" at each scene. Sometimes found with the body; sometimes it shows up a few days later. Meanwhile, Mycroft is asked by an old friend to find a man ...more
Sam Prince
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-e-books
A brilliant plot. Very entertaining. Thank you so very much Kareem Abdul Jabar for bringing The Holmes Brothers back to life.
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Originally published at Reading Reality

In this third book in the Mycroft Holmes and Sherlock series – after the marvelous Mycroft Holmes and Mycroft and Sherlock – we have the portrait of the bureaucrat as a young and still surprisingly slender and exceedingly insufferable young man alongside the portrait of the detective as an even more insufferable young man. We also see their sibling rivalry at full flower – and it’s not a pretty sight.

Absolutely fascinating, but not pretty at all. Mycroft is
I love all things Sherlock Holmes, so I jumped on this series. I really enjoyed the first book in the series, but it may have been too long or I didn't retain enough info from book #2 because I was confused by some of the references in book #3. Not that it makes this a bad book, just an eye opener that maybe I need to slow down and pay closer attention OR wait until the series is complete and "binge read".

"It is 1873, and as the economies of Europe threaten to crumble, Mycroft Holmes finds himse
This just was not as good as the first two. For one thing I don't feel like we really learned anything new here or made any kind of character progress, or even introduced any new characters! For another thing, the mystery aspect was pretty subpar as well. The dual mysteries did not connect in any way at all, which you would really expect them to in a book like this. It was just Sherlock and Mycroft running around trying to solve two totally different mysteries and while Mycroft's had a mildly sa ...more
Tim Hicks
Feb 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, historical
Not a great book, but well worth reading.
I haven't tried the first two of these, but I will now.

The relationship between M & S is believable; their sidekicks are good; and the case is not bad.
The bad guy is a little TOO bad, but that's common enough.
The method of murder was easy to get, but the, ahem, connexion among the victim's wasn't. And the bird was a bit of a stretch.

Really, we're watching Mycroft and Sherlock, and the murders are secondary. Even allowing for that, the ending is weak.
Sherry Schwabacher
What a delight. Sherlock is not yet a consulting detective, but many of his well-known personal tics are there. Meanwhile, we get to know his older brother Mycroft, in his mid-twenties and already an eminence grise in the British government. Mycroft is often accompanied by his friend (and voice of conscience), Cyrus Douglas, a very tall black man with wide experience of the world. Intricate mysteries, delightful period touches. I'm looking forward to reading the earlier adventures. ...more
Ryan Mishap
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-crime
A lot tighter than the last offering, with parallel story lines lending suspense but not at the expense of momentum. You'll like this Sherlock, but it is Mycroft and Cyrus that are the more complicated, engaging characters. ...more
Sep 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
I've been letting this book sit in my brain for a bit and I decided to take my rating down to 4 stars. It does hurt a little bit, because this book was SO much fun! But I also agree with other reviewers; the ending wrapped up a little too quickly and the discriptions could be very vague.

But besides those two things? This book kept me engaged, I had lots of fun, I loved the (side) characters and the mystery was very fun to figure out. Can't wait to read the rest of this series!
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Love this series!!!
Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm really hoping this series continues, because I'm enjoying it so much! I still like Mycroft and Sherlock best of the three, but I did like this one better than Mycroft Holmes. ...more
Flow Chi Minh
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
Ah man, this was a let down. I really dug the book preceding this (haven't read the first in the series yet), but Abdul-Jabbar and Waterhouse might have rushed this some. There are two mysteries in The Empty Birdcage, one for each Holmes. Mycroft is tasked with finding the missing fiance of his love interest Ai Lin (introduced in Mycroft and Sherlock) while Sherlock is running down a possible serial killer.

This sounds great on paper, but the execution is really sloppy. Both cases suffer from a
Llyr Heller-Humphreys
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
With that ending there just HAS to be another book in the series!!
Mel Raschke
Mar 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Lots of great research and twisted plot.
Sep 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
This has been a reliable series for me.
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery-thriller
An intelligently written book yet it fails to live up to the first two of the series. Alfred Hitchcock might have been pleased with the twist ending but it does not exactly satisfy here. This book is strictly 'whodunit'. In the last two books Abdul-Jabbar wrote deeply about the characters allowing the reader to care about them. He weaved interesting cultural and historical information in the story as well. Now that I am used to that brand I was disappointed in this one. Hopefully another book is ...more
Feb 17, 2020 rated it liked it
I’m giving it 3 stars, but it intrigued me enough that I plan to read the first two in the series.
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was ok
I was enjoying this book: the developing relationship between Mycroft and Sherlock, the mysteries of the serial killer, and the missing fiancé. Then, nothing! The ending was rushed and totally unsatisfactory. Was the serial killer ever revealed by name? Not that I could find. I gave the book a 2.5 - 3.0 rating because of the lack of a reveal. I have an idea of who the killer might be, but would have appreciated a better defined ending. Should I just be satisfied that he was ca
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
After getting over the surprise that this book was co-written by the great basketball KAJ, I dove in. I, too, love the Holmes stories and have read Conan Doyle's books several times over just for the simple pleasure they bring me. I didn't know that KAJ was a fan as well.

This book is the third in his trilogy, another thing I didn't know. But I enjoyed it so much that I have gone back and checked out the other two to read at my leisure. Think of these books as a prequel to the Conan Doyle series.
Rooju Chokshi
Nov 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book features Mycroft and Sherlock during their younger life. Sherlock is still in his teens and is at the cusp of choosing a career and Mycroft, while young, is already well-known for his contributions to the government and monarchy.

A strange series of killings grips Sherlock's imagination while Mycroft is enlisted to investigate the strange disappearance of a Chinese businessman.

Reading the first few pages, I almost dismissed the book as a "wannabe Arthur Conan Doyle". Certainly, the writ
Mar 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Kareem and Anna do a great job of capturing the essence of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes. In this third installment in their series, Sherlock starts to come into his own, with Mycroft allowing him to "officially" investigate a case of a serial murderer. Mycroft, meanwhile is involved with his own case, investigating the disappearance of his friend's (and unrequited love), fiance. Both stories were intricate and well detailed and I enjoyed seeing the play of Mycroft and his friend Douglas as their ...more
May 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Each new book about the brothers Holmes provides more insight into Mycroft and Sherlock evolved into the characters written about by Arthur Conan Doyle. Kareem Abdul Jabbar & Anna Waterhouse have crafted stories about two iconic characters that not only make a great deal of sense, but offer some true hindsight that fits perfectly with the canon.

There were several passages in MYCROFT AND SHERLOCK: THE EMPTY BIRDCASE that were 'aha' moments when relating them to the works of Doyle. Jabbar and Wate
Joey Harris
Jul 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this third Mycroft Holmes mystery by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse. From the Amazon book description:
It is 1873, and as the economies of Europe threaten to crumble, Mycroft Holmes finds himself in service to the Crown once again. A distant relative of Queen Victoria has been slain by the Fire Four Eleven killer, a serial murderer who leaves no mark upon his victims, only a mysterious calling card. Meanwhile, Sherlock has already taken it upon himself to solve the case, as his
Dana Linde
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
What a pleasant surprise. I was not expecting Holmesian mystery from an NBA legend, but as a lover of the genre, I couldn't resist. I found the focus on Mycroft to be a nice addition as he so often plays a supporting role in Holmes' mysteries. In this book, he seemed to take the main stage, and learning about him and the family indirectly, helps the reader better understand Sherlock. I felt the authors did a great job with historical features and dialog of the period as well as making the dialog ...more
I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this last book and the series itself. I especially loved the moments when the Holmes boys got to interact with each other. To my knowledge, this is the last book in the series. However, that may simple be because the authors haven't written any further ones as yet. I dearly hope that is the case, since I really loved all the books.

I really loved the rather... unexpected way that the two cases intersected. I enjoyed the way that both were resolved. Certain
Jan 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I have enjoyed Sherlock Holmes and its spinoffs in books, tv, movies, for a long time. The first book in this series I really enjoyed and gave four stars to. This newest one I enjoyed......but its appeal is kind of wearing off, I think. I admire the research that went into it, both vocabulary-wise and history-wise. And I think the authors do a great job of imagining what Mycroft and Sherlock must have been like as young adults. And the character of Douglas is interesting - a black man in those t ...more
Oct 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Both Sherlock and his brother Mycroft are on cases even though 19-year-old Sherlock is supposed to be studying at Cambridge. But he decides he can do better by actually investigating a series of killings. Mycroft is trying to find out why a man has been set up by his partner for almost certain death in China.
Mycroft and Sherlock have an interesting relationship, with Sherlock depending on his older brother for financial support. Mycroft doesn't know if he can stand being around his smart younge
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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor, Jr. on April 16, 1947 in New York City, New York, United States) is an American former professional basketball player and current assistant coach. Typically referred to as Lew Alcindor in his younger days, he changed his name when he converted to Islam.

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