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Mycroft and Sherlock: The Empty Birdcage

(Mycroft Holmes and Sherlock #3)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  301 ratings  ·  51 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
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 24th 2019 by Titan Books
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Average rating 4.07  · 
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 ·  301 ratings  ·  51 reviews

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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
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
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, ...more
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 ...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.
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Love this series!!!
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.
Llyr Heller-Humphreys
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
With that ending there just HAS to be another book in the series!!
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
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
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
4.5 rounding up.

I'm enjoying this series so much.

This third book is definitely not a stand-alone, not if one wants a full appreciation of the characters and their motivations. Third books seem to be awkward points in a series. If you've made it to the third book, it starts getting more exposure, but not all that exposure makes it clear that someone new to the ride that they are getting on the train mid-journey.

There are really two mysteries within this book. Mycroft seeks to solve the
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
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Holmes' brothers solve a couple of convoluted mysteries.

This story involved both Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes and it was different because each brother was solving a different crime, but in the end their combined clues led to a marketer's death. Sherlock had help from Mycroft's Chinese valet and Mycroft had Dr. Douglas. There were 11 murder victims one of whom was related to Queen Victoria. The second mystery was about a kidnapped Chinese man who was engaged to girl who Mycroft had fallen in
Oct 27, 2019 rated it liked it
I was sort of disappointed in this book. I really expected a more cohesive story, more excitement, something. I felt totally distracted while reading it so maybe it’s partially my fault and I missed connecting details that would have made the story surrounding the mystery clearer. I preferred Sherlock’s narrative to Mycroft’s, and the epilogue was SUCH a bummer.

That being said, it’s still just as well done as the others in the way that it feels and I still enjoyed the characters and I did like
Jean Doane
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Fine Mystery

Another enjoyable adventure with the Holmes brothers as young men, Sherlock as a gangly, impetuous teen and Mycroft as his ultra-responsible older brother, already a veteran of the war office and a guardian of the fortunes of Britain. The book is well-written, with two suitably convoluted plots that eventually twine together requiring the brothers to collaborate to find a solution. I look forward to more installments in this series.
Dec 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I really like the very first book, and enjoyed reading the second well enough, I had a very hard time reading this one, and I was highly disappointed - though not surprised in the slightest - by the ending... Such a long and complicated storyline for that?

I’m honestly only giving it 3 stars out of kindness for the style and the research in Victorian London, but as far as the story goes, it’s a hard pass from me.
Oct 12, 2019 rated it liked it
If I could give this a 3.5, I would. I enjoyed the book, but I didn't REALLY enjoy the book. I had not heard of this series and definitely enjoyed the portrayal of Sherlock and Mycroft and their parallel adventures. I thought it was clever and entertaining. I'm glad to be introduced to the series. I also thought it was written in the style of the Holmes books. An enjoyable few hours on a rainy weekend.
Oct 01, 2019 added it
Shelves: ug-df
I lied. I didn't finish this book. I just wanted it not to be on the Want to Read or Currently Reading shelves. I pretty much figured out the weapon, motive, and almost whodun it by the time I reached page 30 (or so). I have not had so much apathy to finish a book in decades!!! I did not flip to the back to see if my guesses were correct; I couldn't even.

I am going to go watch Sherlock now to wash the bleh from my brain.
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
this was a pretty good Mystery.

Mycroft is back working for the goverment and Sherilock left college to investigate mudrers.

They come to an agreement.

Myscroft and his friend Douglas work on finding someone.

While Sherlock and he body guard look to find out why these people were murdered.

Things happen and they work hard to find out what is going on.

This is a pretty good read from a first time author who took a risk and found a good coauthor.

Worth the read
Oct 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the third in this series of stories, set in the period before the classic "Holmes and Watson" stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. As such, they're a treat, because a younger Mycroft Holmes is fascinating to read about, and the interactions with a younger Sherlock are great.
In this one, the mystery is the really tricky bit, because there are clues that work, but require serious stretches of the imagination to make them fit together. As a whole, though, it is a quick and enjoyable read.
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
A good effort to write a Sherlock Holmes-style novel. Not entirely successful.

Serial killer on the loose. Relative of Her Majesty the Queen is killed. Convoluted story of intrique, Chinese lovers, kidnapped fiance, unexplained murder methods, crow at scene of the crimes, darts, etc. I did not relate to many of the characters. Keep writing and trying to write a good Sherlock mystery!
Susan Sarabasha
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
So well written. Very interesting take on a very young Sherlock and Mycroft who is responsible for him. Both are extremely detail oriented. Also tells of POC in that time in London which most books ignore. AAMOF one of the lead characters is Black but must act as though he’s a secretary to an often ill guy instead of the boss.
Looking forward to the sequel in Sept.
Charles Francis
Nov 23, 2019 rated it liked it
This was my first reading of a book by the great basketball player. I was pleasantly surprised. While I much prefer the old Sherlock and Dr. Watson stories, the author puts a nice touch on the young Sherlock and his older brother Mycroft, along with the charactes that are important to them both.

I will have to pick up another in the series to get a full flavor.
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was very pleasantly surprised by the top-notch quality of this book! I was skeptical at first because often "celebrity" authors are just so-so. But I found the plot, characters, pacing, and setting of this novel to be engaging and engrossing. I'm looking forward to picking up the earlier books from this series.
Erik Deckers
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I didn’t realize this was the third book before I started it, skipping the second book entirely. I loved the story and the glimpse into Mycroft’s beginnings as a man of influence. I hope Kareem and Anna continue this impressive partnership!
Roy M.
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Worthy Successor to Conan-Doyle.

Reading this and the other two books in this series has been as pleasurable for me as reading the original stories. I eagerly await another installment.
Mary Sue
Sep 18, 2019 rated it liked it
The brothers Holmes are so alike and so different. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar writes well giving the reader a strong sense of the era and setting. A series of unusual murders have one common element , a note reading Fire 411.
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Laura Kittleson Ashish Iyer Ajay
Could not put it down, a brilliant look at not just A.C. Doyle's characters and the relationship between the brothers Holmes and the world they lived in. Plots are twistie and snarled, clues everywhere. A fun fast read.
Rebecca Froebe
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I grew so angry at the author at one point, for how a beloved character was being treated, I almost gave up on the book completely! I'm glad I didn't.

I guess that's the sign of a great story, it brought out true emotions in me.

Looking forward to the next adventure!
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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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