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The Italian Secretary: A Further Adventure of Sherlock Holmes (The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Titan Books))

3.18  ·  Rating details ·  4,312 Ratings  ·  493 Reviews
Caleb Carr's novel, The Alienest, was a blockbuster international bestseller and positioned its author as a modern master of the historical thriller. Now, in The Italian Secretary, Carr reaches back further, to the age of opium dens and Jack the Ripper, when fictional detective Sherlock Holmes made the science of murder as real as the gore on a killer's hands…

Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 27th 2009 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 2005)
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(showing 1-30)
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Dana Kujan
Sep 17, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
I loved "The Alienist," passed it around my family, so I had really high expectations for Carr's take on Holmes. I have never been so disappointed! I hated this book so much by page 50 that I started writing post-it notes to myself and slapping them on the most offensive pages.

Page 83: Why are we still on the damn train!? We've spent 50 pages sitting. On a train. I know Mycroft's a big ol' potato, but Sherlock should have to stretch his legs. And what of Watson's leg wound?

Page 94: Lord Francis?
Mar 25, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
The Italian Secretary is a pretty sweet piece of Sherlock Holmes apocrypha. There have been a number of attempts to write Holmes by authors other than Doyle, and those attempts have achieved varying degrees of success -- some dreadful and some impressive. Caleb Carr's attempt falls between these extremes, although it is tilted more toward the impressive end of the teeter-totter.

Carr does a fine job of capturing Holmes' rhythms and personality, and one never feels like one's reading a false Sherl
May 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Let me try this again and maybe this time I won't accidentally delete it:

Caleb Carr is not Dr. Conan Doyle. He doesn't present a carbon copy of Doyle's style and I didn't expect him to. Nor did I attempt to compare and contrast the two. Approach this book with that in mind and you might like it....I did.

I kept getting the feeling at times that something which I couldn't quite put my finger on was lacking. That may be in part because I thought The Alienist was brilliant and was hoping for somethi
Very Elementary

It must be very difficult and also intimidating to try to follow in the footsteps of a well-known author such as Arthur Conan Doyle, who has created the world’s most famous detective and sidekick and who has spun a microcosm of four novels and fifty-six stories. The reading public’s expectations will necessarily run high.

To give Caleb Carr and his Holmes adventure The Italian Secretary their due, I’d say that the language is redolent of the old-fashioned and well-paced style peopl
Sep 15, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Number one, the translation caused me a headache.

The translation aside, this book is disappointing: the case might be 'sensational' and 'sadistic', but the way the case is solved did not satisfy me. I think that there are still questions left unanswered. And seriously, those ghosts are unnecessary, something like disturbing Holmes' world of logic. The ghosts would fit a Professor Challenger story, but in Italian Secretary it only boiled down to raised eyebrows (of the reader, which was me, that
Jennifer Petkus
I had such high hopes for The Italian Secretary by Caleb Carr. My husband surprised me with it just after I had started to renew my addiction to Holmes and had read several mentions of it at the Sherlock Holmes Social Network.

Of course, those mentions were not generally favorable, but the setting of a murder at the Royal Palace of Holyrood in Edinburgh, Scotland sounded so inviting. Here’s the basic plot: After several assassination attempts on Queen Victoria, Holmes and Watson are brought to Ho
Mar 03, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sherlock-holmes
I was truly disappointed by this novel. I was looking forward to reading it on two fronts. First, as a Sherlock Holmes pastiche. Second, as an introduction to Caleb Carr. The Sherlock Holmes story fell far short and left me not likely to read anything else by Carr.

To call the novel wordy would be an understatement. It was a full third of the way through the book before we arrive at the crime scene. While I understand that a novel with an historic base will require a fair amount of back-filling t
Philip Jones
Sep 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Any author who dares to assume that his readers have an attention span that exceeds fifteen or twenty seconds has succeeded in capturing my attention no matter what the subject pursued. Caleb Carr treats English as if it is tool for the conveyance of precise information and not as if it were a bludgeon to be used to beat the reader into submission. His prose is elegant and precise, with slang terms used to emphasize characterization and to provide particular flavors and tones to conversation.

Rating Clarification: 3.5 Stars

Pretty entertainly Holmes pastiche, although I have to admit that I found Carr's writing style somewhat convoluted and irritating. However, the story premise and plot development kept me reading on. Enjoyed the supernatural elements, and thought Carr did a good job of maintaining an authentic "voice" for Holmes, Watson and Mycroft (although Carr's Watson and Mycroft were a little too dense (aka stupid) from ACD's original portrayal of them, IMO).

All in all, a worth
Nov 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bettie, Hayes, Susanna
Just arrived from Germany through Bookmooch.

A good start for a New Year reading. Having watching recently the movie with Katherine Hepburn on Mary of Scotland's life, I really appreciated the plot.
Mar 21, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually enjoyed the story of the book. It was quite entertaining.
Now, what first called my attention was the cover. I was going to buy the book even if it wasn't about Sherlock Holmes because I liked the contrast of color on the cover and I like mysteries.
I liked how, as in other new Holmes novels there is a small introduction, something as to why we're reading this now. I liked the constant references to the original stories, comparisons to the characters found there and things like that.
Book Haunt
Caleb Carr does Arthur Conan Doyle The Italian Secretary is another tale written concerning Sherlock Holmes and his trusty sidekick Dr. Watson.    
Sherlock's brother, Mycroft Holmes has sent a mysterious telegram to Sherlock.  Once it has been deciphered, it becomes clear to Sherlock that his brother is summoning him to the sometime home of Queen Victoria, Edinburgh's Holyrood House.  There have been two murders and the manner of death seems to suggest ghostly possibilities.  As Sherlock, Watso
Mar 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
I have only read one Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes story before, The Hound of the Baskervilles. Spotting The Italian Secretary in a secondhand bookshop, I picked it up because it was written by Caleb Carr, and I didn't really notice it was a Sherlock Holmes story until I got home.
Caleb Carr was a great choice to write a further adventure of Sherlock Holmes. His own novels The Alienist and The Angel of Darkness are about a Victorian detective too although this time in New York, and he certainly had
Mar 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I picked this up in paperback at the thrift store recently (our thrift has a huge book selection and is dirt cheap). I enjoyed The Alienist a lot and I have become very interested in Caleb Carr's father recently due to his beat connections. This book is actually approved by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's estate and it's easy to see why. The style is impeccable and a real tribute to the original Sherlock Holmes stories. Carr is a historian and it shows--lots and lots of great detail and all of the char ...more
Conflicted thoughts here. Short version: Style is good, Watson's authorial voice is good, general overview of the plot is good. However, using Mycroft as a character still has problems, the spiritual / ghost angle ends up being lame IMHO, and - worst of all- the last quarter of the book has too many silly things and dumb yet irrelevant plot turns. Silly in a bad way. The final confrontation is also... bah.

So... rewrite the last quarter of the book to get the same point across but with less idioc
Buku ini penuh detail sejarah yang kelam, dan benar-benar bikin penasaran. Sayang akhirnya gak terlalu “nendang”, karena misterinya belum apa-apa sudah terjawab di tengah-tengah cerita. Lalu, ada “misteri” tidak terjawab yang sampai sekarang masih membuat saya bergidik ngeri.

Setidaknya buku ini lebih bagus daripada ulang-kisah Sherlock Holmes karya Mitch Cullin (Misteri yang Tak Terpecahkan).

Hmmm… Tiga bintang sajalah!
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another book that had poor reviews on Goodreads. I was given this as a gift by my friend Jo who knows I love Sherlock and Watson. Well I have to say I don't know what they read but I really enjoyed this. Sherlock and Watson are called to Edinburgh by Mycroft to investigate 2 murders that happened in Holyroodhouse, and now the ghosts of Holyrood are being awakened by someone with a diabolical agenda of greed.
Liz Nutting
As someone who used to dabble in the world of fan fiction, I've always been baffled by the resistance of some authors to fan-originated treatments of their characters. I understand the standard response: Works of literature are the author's bread and butter and to allow someone else to encroach on the same territory cheapens the original product, the way a faux Gucci bag sold on a New York City street cheapens the original Gucci brand. But I think there is a fundamental flaw in that logic, at le ...more
Amy Sturgis
The Italian Secretary is a solid Holmesian pastiche.

Certain aspects of the story didn't work for me. Part of this is a question of personal taste; I prefer to see all of the secondary characters who orbit Sherlock's star in play, and to observe the unique chemistry that results from this mix. Although Mycroft Holmes receives delightful attention here, Mrs. Hudson receives little, and the Scotland Yarders none at all.

Part of this, however, is due to what appears to me to be a serious shortcomin
Nesa Sivagnanam
Mar 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Architect Sir Alistair Sinclair and his foreman, Dennis McKay, have been slain in the midst of rehabilitating the medieval west tower of the Royal Palace of Holyrood--the very wing where Mary, Queen of Scots, had lived, and where David Rizzio had met his brutal, politically motivated end.

The Italian secretary of the title is David Rizzio, an actual historical figure, murdered more than 300 years before the book starts. An intimate, and perhaps more, of Mary Queen of Scots, he was stabbed at lea
I've read two other books by Caleb Carr and know him to be a good writer, so I was puzzled by why he was writing this book. It is a Sherlock Holmes story written in the attempted voice and style of Sir Author Conan Doyle. It doesn't quite make it. At first I thought maybe he is poking fun here

"I believe that I divine your next statement as clearly as I would see this train, were I standing miles ahead of it and upon a flat track"

at the original Sherlock Holmes stories, but no, this story is a
It's been a while since I have read any of Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories--I know I read quite a few of them back in the the 70's. I thought Carr did a pretty decent job of portraying Holmes in the vein of Doyle and overall I did like this take on the great detective.

The story starts out when Holmes is cryptically summoned by his brother Mycroft to Scotland to look into the deaths of two men who were working on the restoration of Holyroodhouse, the ancient palace of Mary, Queen of Scots,
This book seemed to go by quite quickly. It was good--having read Carr's two other history mysteries (The Alienist and Angel of Darkness) I was confident in this book; there was not the uncertainty I sometimes feel when reading a continuing-Holmes book by an unknown author.

However, I'm not sure Carr's writing style translated completely well to a Holmes story. The case was confusing--halfway through, I had to struggle to remember what the actual problem was. The characters themselves were maybe
May 17, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
'The Italian Secretary' is the latest big-name pastiche in the world of Sherlock Holmes. Unfortunately, it is not very good.

Carr's writing style is ponderous and his sentences and paragraphs are wordy. This tale originally started out as a short story for inclusion in 'Ghosts in Baker Street' and the author turned into a seperate novel.

It was a poor decision. There is barely enough substance to make a novella, and it certainly is thin for a novel. The plot is rather simple, with Holmes' belief i
Apr 22, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Carr has a good handle on Holmes, Watson and Mycroft, unfortunately the story is really uneven and doesn't so much get resolved as kind of wander to a conclusion.
The epilogue back in LOndon felt pretty weak as well.

Nice use of history and a good start, but the payoff is a letdown.
Hearing that this was originally begun as a short story for a new Holmes anthology makes sense and I think it would have worked better as a short story or novella.
Jan 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, 2012
Atmospheric Sherlock Holmes mystery. I could easily picture the rooms in Holyrood Palace - Queen Mary's suite and place where her secretary was murdered (visited there years ago).

But anyway, I found this tale engrossing, atmospheric, typical Holmes/Watson and well written. Pity the author only penned one as I would have liked to read more!
Feb 28, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm a fan of Sherlock Holmes stories and I think Caleb Carr has done the story justice by maintaining the style or the originals, but not so much the essence. I couldn't help but think that this one would be much better as a short story, even a fairly long short story or a novella, but as a novel the pacing was a bit off. So it was just ok, 2 stars.
Aug 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this book and the reader was absolutely outstanding. Really brought the different characters to life - particularly Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson and Sherlock's brother, Mycroft Holmes. A real fun read.
Rachel Teng
Sep 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
It was an okey mystery, with an okey plotline. But I think something about the way the characters were written jarred me, and I could have done without the unnecessary hullaballoo about the ghosts and some such.
Jun 27, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Plodded through the author's "The Alienist" years ago but enjoyed it. This book seemed to drag a bit here and there particularly when Holmes was giving historical facts. Thought of not finishing it but it is a Holmes story. Disappointed.
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Caleb Carr is an American novelist and military historian. The son of Lucien Carr, a former UPI editor and a key Beat generation figure, he was born in Manhattan and lived for much of his life on the Lower East Side. He attended Kenyon College and New York University, earning a B.A. in military and diplomatic history. He is a contributing editor of MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History an ...more
More about Caleb Carr...

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The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Titan Books) (1 - 10 of 26 books)
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