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The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes: The Adventures of the Great Detective in India and Tibet
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The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes: The Adventures of the Great Detective in India and Tibet

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  1,897 ratings  ·  102 reviews
In 1891, the British public was horrified to learn that Sherlock Holmes had perished in a deadly struggle with the archcriminal Professor Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls. Then, to its amazement, he reappeared two years later, informing a stunned Watson, 'I traveled for two years in Tibet, therefore, and amused myself by visiting Lhasa.'

Nothing has been known of those mis
Paperback, US Edition, 280 pages
Published 2003 by Bloomsbury (first published 1999)
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4.10  · 
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 ·  1,897 ratings  ·  102 reviews

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Dec 23, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, mystery
A pastiche of Holmes, set in India and Tibet. Taking as his starting-point the return of Holmes after his supposed death in the canon, wherein the detective reveals that he was traveling in Tibet under the name Sigurson, Norbu recreates those lost years in the Holmes chronicles. His narrator this time is none other than Hurree Mookerjee, from Rudyard Kipling’s Kim (which, lamentably, I’ve not read). For the first half of the book, Norbu succeeds in weaving the two worlds, that of Victorian super ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Fiona Ingram
Aug 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sherlock Holmes aficionados refer to the period from 1891 to 1894--the time between Holmes's disappearance and presumed death in The Adventure of the Final Problem (at the hands of Moriarity at Reichenbach Falls) and his reappearance in The Adventure of the Empty House--as "the Great Hiatus."

So, what really happened during these lost years?

Holmes tells Dr. Watson in laconic fashion: "I travelled for two years in Tibet, therefore, and amused myself by visiting Lhasa and spending some days with th
Micky Sahi
Apr 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Before I begin, I would like to say that Sir Doyle was and still is the finest writer on Holmesian stories. But now, I have to try with all my might and dare to extend this and say that Mr Norbu’s novel succeeded in showing the Holmesian tradition in a different yet interesting light. He even managed to replicate S.H behaviour and conversational style. “On the contrary my dear Huree!”

Also, this is my first fiction based on Tibetan lands. Being a practicing Hindu, I’ve always been fond of the maj
Stephen Robert Collins
This book is all tied up with string.Found in lost papers in India by Jamyang here we have the missing years of Holmes set in India.
May 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
I quite liked the beginning of this book, as the author is really good at imitating the style of the Holmesian era and also of evoking the Indian colonial atmosphere - but somewhere in the middle of the book things start to go awfully wrong. Holmesian deductions and insights are replaced by something like an early Tsui Hark film (don't get me wrong, I like early Tsui Hark films, I just don't see the point of inserting a Sherlock Holmes into them, unless you do it for a reason) without even tryin ...more
Bernie Gourley
Dec 01, 2014 rated it it was ok
I gave this book the lowest rating that I’ve ever given a book I reviewed. However, there’s a selection bias at work. I don’t finish (and rarely start, for that matter) books that are so horrible that they’d get a lesser rating. Ergo, any book that I finish and review has some redeeming qualities. I’ll leave it to the reader to determine whether these redeeming qualities will outweigh the deficiencies of story in this book.

The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes takes our beloved detective out of London
Rogue Reader
Apr 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-india
I'm delighted to report (and embarrased to admit) that it was Sibyl R with our Monday Night Mystery group who put the name to the game, and made me aware of the Sherlock Holmes pastiche, a genre of mystery that's a mashup of new fiction based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's character and setting. Browsing Bookwagon the next weekend - there it was, a table-top of Sherlock Holmes pastiches, where I found Norbu's The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes. Perfect.

The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes is the tale of Hol

Sep 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It is only recently that people has started to realize that, being a "creature" of one of the most notorious spiritualists ever, Sherlock Holmes must have a spiritual side. People have been too busy with his brains and his heart (or lack thereof) and the orientation of his sexuality. There is much more of Doyle in Sherlock than the author himself would have liked to admit- when he wrote to Joseph Bell to thank him for being the model for Holmes, the wise physician replied "Sherlock Holmes is you ...more
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An explanation of Holme's disappearance. He was a Tibetan Lama--still living. Ponderous.
Tariq Mahmood
May 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
The story was too predictable and Raj retro. I found the attempts by the author to explain the Tibetan brand of Buddhism too difficult to understand. I also thought that the supernatural powers displayed by both Holmes and Professor Morriety too far fetched and fantastic and did not rhyme at all with Holmes established rational style of deductions. By the end of the book I found I was skipping paragraphs without really missing out much.
Seema Misra
An interesting read (for the first part); especially the way Jamyang Norbu has recreated Homes seems very, very authentic. Hurree as watson fits in well with the storyline initially.
Somewhere mid-way, the story goes completely off the rails for me with its heavy mysticism. The clear deductions, which are a Holmes hallmark, are no where to be seen. And this put me off.
Mar 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm not sure it entirely lives up to the promise of the idea: the lost years of Sherlock Holmes after the Reichenbach Falls, narrated by the Babu from Kipling's Kim, and very well-done. The denouement, perhaps, evokes Rider Haggard. But still, very enjoyable.
Oct 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Love the book. Holmes & Hurree from Kim. The colonial love of a Bengali babu towards the imperialists, portrayal of India during the Raj, the writing style, everything about this book charms me. I've read and re-read and re-read it a hundred times so far.
Mar 22, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this. Shelock as it turns out didn't die in Riechenbach Falls. I was never particularly iterested in Tibet, Nepal or the Himmalayas before, but this book took me there and I really enjoyed the trip. It is an able tale in the continuation of Doyle's Sherlock Holmes.
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The story was ticking along fine until the introduction of the Dark One, at which point the entire story lost the essence of Sherlock Holmes. A really poor ending, to what had the potential to be a decent book.
Feb 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-in-2010
what can I say? It's Holmes, it's a great pastiche and it's Holmes! :)
Empress Reece (Hooked on Books)
This was one of the better patische's Ive read. If you like Sherlock Holmes, then its a must-read!
Jan 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hurree goes off with Holmes on an adventure full of mystery, intrigue, Tibetan mysticism and more. As they travel through forbidden Tibet, the country's beautiful lands and terrain is beautifully described.
Some reviewers commented the Holmes protagonist was not "true" to his character. As I have not read any of the Holmes mysteries in years, I cannot say whether it is true or not.. Only I read this book as a separate entity.
I enjoyed this novel because it showed me a country and people complete
Steve Brooker
Jan 18, 2018 rated it liked it
I enjoyed it on the whole.
It was in keeping with the essence of Holmes adventures, written by a "sidekick" as an historical account of a real person, with the inclusion of a great deal of historical and cultural interest from the East.
The latter part of the story departed from traditional Holmes somewhat and I can well understand why purists might throw the book down in disgust as it creeps, firstly towards Lara Croft, and then Dr Strange!
Approach it with an open mind and an air of whimsy and yo
Nitya Sivasubramanian
Much like the stories that the lost years of Jesus were spent in India, this novel is based on the idea that Sherlock Holmes spent the years after Reichenbach in India and Tibet.

Was it a fun mystery? Yes! Did it take FOREVER to get to the mystery bit? Also yes. But when I actually think back to the Sherlock Holmes stories as opposed to the show or the movies, they also chugged along at a slow and steady pace, so I suppose this author has captured the essence of the originals in that way.
Charlie Bradbury
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An extra star just for that stunning and extremely moving end!

While the absence of female characters and the archaic (although fitting for the period) language take something away from this tale, it's still an ingenious way to interest people outside Tibet in the situation there. Free Tibet, period.
Megan Kelosiwang
Dec 13, 2016 rated it liked it
This book had all the ingredients for me to love Sherlock, Kipling, Tibet, but it just didn't gel as an experience. The fantasy element to the climax felt a bit silly - I would have preferred a cleverer Holmes solution instead. Loved the concept though.
Hannah Andrews
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
An interesting fusion of western love of logic and eastern cultural setting
Michael Citrino
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable and feasible extension of the Sherlock Holmes stories. A bit predictable in places and surprising in others. If you are a fan, this is worth a read.
TBRpile yuju
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
nice book
Vinayak Joshi
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This was true to the character of Holmes only in the beginning. Rest of the book was just like any other adventure story.
Charles Prepolec
Jan 08, 2012 rated it liked it
The basic premise was essentially to document the hows and whys of Holmes visit to Tibet during the great hiatus. The intriguing bit is that the amusing Babu, Hurree Chunder Mookerjee, of Rudyard Kipling's classic work, Kim, narrates the story. As a fan of the Flashman books as well as being interested in the British presence in India, I found the book to be a vital addition to my collection. By making the narrator someone other than Watson, the author did himself a great favour. The biggest fau ...more
Dec 14, 2014 rated it it was ok
When any author other than Arthur Conan Doyle takes on the character of Sherlock Holmes, they must remember exactly who they are dealing with. Sherlock Holmes is, without a doubt, one of the greatest characters in literary history and he must be treated as such. The key to a good Holmes spin-off is remaining true to his brilliant character while adding your own unique flavor. In a sense, "The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes" is successful in this respect. In fact, many of Holmes' lines in the novel a ...more
Mrs. Woodhouse
Oct 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-own-reads
I bought this book at an author signing and reading at Tibet House NYC 15 years ago, and am delighted it has remained in print. I think it's one of the best Sherlock Holmes pastiches out there.

The author, Jamyang Norbu, is a Tibetan political activist, a former fighter in the CIA-funded guerrilla war against the Chinese government from back in the day, a theater director, writer, and a Holmesian (he's a member of the Baker Street Irregulars). Along with the Holmes canon, he has been a close read
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is it the book? 1 5 Nov 28, 2013 08:17AM  

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Jamyang Norbu (འཇམ་དབྱངས་ནོར་བུ) is a Tibetan political activist and writer, who lived for over 40 years as an exile in India. He now resides in America.

He founded and directed the Amnye Machen Institute, Tibetan Centre for Advanced Studies, Dharamsala. He is the author of Warriors of Tibet, the biography of a Khampa warrior; Illusion and Reality, a collection of his political essays, and the edit