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The Canary Trainer: From the Memoirs of John H. Watson, M.D. (Nicholas Meyer Holmes Pastiches #3)

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  529 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
Located by a computer in the bowels of a major university, this missing manuscript by Dr. John Watson, the biographer of Sherlock Holmes, reveals for the first time a hitherto unknown episode in the life of the Great Detective.

The year is 1891, Paris is the capital of the western world, and its opera house is full of surprises. First and by no means the least is the sudden
Paperback, 224 pages
Published March 17th 1995 by W. W. Norton Company (first published 1993)
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(showing 1-30)
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Amy Sturgis
There is much to commend this Sherlock Holmes-meets-the-Phantom-of-the-Opera tale: the descriptions of Paris and especially the Opera Populaire and its many subterranean levels are fascinating and atmospheric; the unexpected appearance of Irene Adler (not particularly a favorite of mine) and her relationship with Sherlock Holmes make sense and provide interesting insights; and the Gothic flavor of the work is wonderful. Nicholas Meyer knows The Phantom of the Opera as well as he knows the canon ...more
Oct 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Nicholas Meyer did it again. After the very good “Seven per cent solution”, Meyer gives us another worthy pastiche (I know, it was published almost 20 years ago, but this is a real findfor me). This time, it is Holmes who narrates a much curious case: that of the Phantom of the Opera.
How Holmes became involved on this is handled very ingeniously and the best part is that you do not need to read “Seven per cent solution” to catch up. After he is presumed dead, Holmes finds a job doing the second
Jan 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: disappointments
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
I have to admit, everything that is about the beloved Phantom of the Opera catches my eye, my mind.

I bought this book at the end of August, on a whim, right before leaving for my vacation. I just thought Sherlock and the Opera Ghost? That should be interesting.

I am familiar with Sherlock Holmes stories but I had never read any of the stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle before. What I found a bit awkward at first was to get into the skin of Sherlock, get used to his personality, how he spe
Amy Craddock
Jul 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Totally amazing nd Holmes is so well-written that he's beliveable. Everything by Mayer is, in my opinion, amazing...
Didn't like the way Erik was portrayed. I understand this was more a Sherlock story, but with that portrayal and the changing of a few other characters from POTO, I just can't get into it. Also with a small jab at the end of Leroux's work.............its on my "Trade Only" list as opposed to the "Buy" list.

It was an OK read, much more Sherlock and Watson, their portrayal was spot on. Plenty of great atmosphere and gothic/Victorian/Paris feel.

Great for Sherlock fans not so much for Phantom fans.
Ah, Sherlock Holmes non-canonical fiction. There is a lot of it out there. I have wanted to try reading some eventually, and have finally gotten to doing so with this book. What I really wanted to read was The Seven-Percent Solution, but sadly, my library does not carry it. So, I checked out this book instead.
The book starts out with Holmes in retirement on his bee farm, with Watson showing up and pressing for more details about Holmes' doings during his lost years, e.g. the years after the R
Apr 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
I really like this novel, much more than the other Phantom/Sherlock Holmes crossover The Angel at the Opera.

The start is a littler slower as we discover Sherlock Holmes in retirement,which might account for the slowness. However it picks up with intensity similar to the original story. Phantom fans will get some amusement as the great detective is foiled and his evidence falling apart in his face. Spoiler: The back story is a new fresh take on how the phantom "came to be" (Not the Leroux origin)
Rena Sherwood
Sep 07, 2014 rated it did not like it
Meyer wrote three Sherlock Holmes books and this is by far the worst. With a title like The Canary Trainer, you can't help but expect to have an actual canary trainer appear. Or at least I do.


Sherlockians (or Holmesians) would have expected a novel based on one of the unpublished cases hinted at by Watson in one story about "Wilson, the notorious canary trainer, which removed a plague-spot from the East End of London." That book I would have loved to read.

But what do we get instead of the story
Karine Mon coin lecture
Original post - In French - on my blog:

I love Sherlock Holmes. And I love the Phantom. I couldn't resist to a book that is about both. I think Nicholas Meyer has written a few Sherlock Holmes pastiches (but I haven't read them except) and this one is set in Paris during the lost years of Sherlock Holmes.

It was a fun read but not a great one. Sherlock is entangled in the mystery of the Phantom of the opera and the great detective himself narrates the stor
Sep 03, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: sherlock-holmes
There are many novels out there involving Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, but saddly, Nicholas Meyer's versions are not one of the good ones. Important characters from the canon are used as simple plot devices and then discarded in this universe while Holmes himself is a sad caricature of what the character should be. Is "The Canary Trainer," this version of Holmes gets lost in a building, blows his cover by simple mistakes, and seems to have lost all of his skills in interviewing suspects ...more
Matt Kuhns
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
I rather like The West End Horror, and in spite of disagreements with it I think The Seven Per-Cent Solution is a creditable work. But this…

The primary virtue of The Canary Trainer is that it's brief. As a result, novelty and suspense can pretty much carry you to the end before you close the cover and ask "what did I just read?" As a novel, this is modestly entertaining if silly fluff. As a Sherlock Holmes story, it… isn't a Sherlock Holmes story. The lead character is not recognizably Sherlock
Dec 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
While this lacks the "x factor" that made The Seven-Per-Cent Solution such an amazing read, The Canary Trainer was a fun, fast moving read.

I tend to avoid crossovers like the plague, but Meyer's story - where in Holmes investigates the events of The Phantom of the Opera as they happen - is quite believable and just really fun. I did find the characterisation of Christine as overly simple annoying, but in line with the original Leroux text as far as I can remember.
Dec 22, 2011 rated it liked it
I liked this book more as a Phantom of the Opera spin-off than as a Sherlock Holmes tale. Sherlock just seemed a bit off his game and not quite as 'brilliant' as I generally expect him to be. But the author did do an excellent job of capturing the feel of Leroux's Phantom of the Opera. I didn't particularly care for Sherlock's explanation of the creation and history of the Ghost, but otherwise I enjoyed Meyer's Christine, Raoul, and other Leroux characters. Also, I would have liked this book a l ...more
Aug 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding. Very well-written, suspenseful and theatrical (in the best sense). If you like Phantom of the Opera, you will like this book. If you like Sherlock Holmes, you will almost certainly like it (I love some of the things the author did with Sherlock and Irene's interactions). Even if you aren't familiar with either, you might still like it. The author's background in writing is very clear- everything is very skillfully put together. It's much better than the other Phantom of the Opera- S ...more
Feb 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Meyer does a fairly decent Holmes pastiche. The voice is good but Holmes himself is a little off. He makes too many mistakes and admits it! Meyer gives a plausible back story for Holmes’ somewhat lessened powers of observation by resurrecting Irene Adler, always a Holmes’ distraction, and by placing the story after Holmes’ encounter at Reichenbach Falls. He is supposedly “on vacation” in Paris (rather un-Holmesian in itself), but it works and the story is an enjoyable addition to the Holmes coll ...more
May 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: meh
Good book- discrepancies between original "Phantom of the Opera" and this book make it only 4 stars. Still, it's fun reading if you can get past the errors.
UPDATE: Well, I finished it. Read the other Sherlock and Phantom crossover ("Angel of the Opera") first- it's much better than this one. The ending and the idea that the Phantom was selectively mute are ridiculous! They don't tie in to the story at all. This Holmes isn't very good at deducing, either. All in all, a very "Meh" book. NOT what I
This one is better than the Freud book. Meyer is using Leroux's Phantom with care and imagination. Still, it's professional fanfic, this time of the cross-over type. The three stars is probably because Meyer channels Holmes as a narrator better than Watson. The good doctor is barely in this novel. The end leaves the reader with a tantalizing hint of the next book... Montenegro... with a more horror style story.
Karen Gail Brown
Aug 11, 2014 rated it liked it
This is an interesting tale of Sherlock Holmes 1891, during the period that he was thought dead. Holmes is living in Paris and playing violin for the Paris Opera to earn a living. Sinister happenings at the Opera House, supposedly caused by the Opera Ghost intrigue Holmes and sets his mind to finding the true causes. He has also promised Irene Adler, the love of his life, to protect a young and beautiful soprano whose voice has captured "The Ghost"

This is a nice read.
Kelsey Yost
Apr 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Basically Phantom of the Opera but with Holmes running around, not really contributing but I guess it kept him occupied. Loved every minute however, and the only thing that could make it better is a film adaption, because why not. Besides, this story will always be incomplete without the music to accompany it.
Bob Koelle
Oct 03, 2008 rated it liked it
The other two Nicholas Meyer - Sherlock Holmes books are guilty pleasures, and I had never heard of his one until unpacking my mother-in-law's books...

Read it now, and there were few surprises to be had, once you realize that you're reading the Phantom of the Opera, as retold by Holmes. So taking away any plot mystery dropped me down a star. Still fun, though.
May 31, 2015 rated it liked it
Really a 3.5 star book. A bit too emotional and sentimental to really be Holmes speaking and headaches every time he talks with Irene Adler...?! I haven't read the original Phantom and have only seen the movie and stage musical, so was not hindered from enjoying how the plot unfolds. An enjoyable pastiche, but not the very best.
Charlie Hersh
Aug 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Quality of the story as a Holmes mystery? It was all right, not terrible but not genius. But did I have fun reading this? Oh my god yes. It was an indulgent mess but I loved every minute of it. Nicholas Meyer is always an absolute delight and there are lots of little easter eggs for readers more familiar with Conan Doyle and Laroux.
Aug 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a big fan of Phantom of the opera I was very interested in reading that book and I'm so glad I did. It got me so interested in reading the original Sherlock Holmes stories and I'm working on that :)
Sympathique mais très en dessous des précédents pastiches de Nicholas Meyer. Et Sherlock Holmes est parfois un peu out of character, ce qui gâche un peu le plaisir... (sans parler des libertés que l'auteur a pris avec des évènements et personnages historiques...) Bref je reste sur ma faim...
Jim Morrow
Oct 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
As always, Nicholas Meyer has an amazing cast of cameos throughout the book of actual people of that time period. Does it in such a way that it sounds believable . Thus, making the story even more entertaining. He obviously does his research.
Mar 09, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sherlock-holmes
Sherlock Holmes meets The Phantom of the Opera, written to partially fill the gap between 1891 and 1894 after Holmes' fall at Reichenbach and before his return in "The Adventure of the Empty House".

The novel has a very strange and disappointing ending.

Not one of Meyer's better works.
Jan 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Possibly the best Shelock Holmes/Phantom of the Opera crossover out there. Both characters are well-developed and do not depend too much on clichés. Meyer has some very interesting psychological ideas on the Phantom which are rather different from Leroux's, but nice nonetheless.
Aug 21, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: twisted holmes fans
not bad. i was put off by the whole 'omg, irene adler is in it' crap, but she's only in it for like 2 chaps and then she goes away and never comes back. the rest of the story is pretty interesting, with the same goofy humor and celebrity appearances you can expect in a nicholas meyer pastiche.
Mar 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
Set during the 'Great hiatus', when the world thought Holmes dead, he takes a job as a violinist in the orchestra at the Paris opera house and crosses paths with the Opera's famous ghost.

Great job of blending the two famous literary characters.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • The Revenge of the Hound: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery
  • The Dark Water: The Strange Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes
  • The Lost Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
  • The Trial of Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock Holmes Dynamite, #1)
  • The Angel of the Opera
  • The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Stalwart Companions
  • Sherlock Holmes and the Voice from the Crypt and Other Tales
  • The Man from Hell (Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Paperback))
  • Sherlock Holmes: The Unauthorized Biography
  • Good Morning, Irene (Irene Adler, #2)
  • Kissing Sherlock Holmes
  • The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes
  • A Study In Lavender: Queering Sherlock Holmes
  • The Holmes-Dracula File (Dracula Series, #2)
  • The Oriental Casebook of Sherlock Holmes
  • Gaslight Grimoire: Fantastic Tales of Sherlock Holmes
  • Sherlock Holmes and the Red Demon
  • Sherlock's Home: The Empty House
Nicholas Meyer graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in theater and film-making, & is a film writer, producer, director and novelist best known for his involvement in the Star Trek films. He is also well known as the director for the landmark 1983 TV-Movie "The Day After", for which he was nominated for a Best Director Emmy Award. In 1977, Meyer was nominated for an Adapted Scree ...more
More about Nicholas Meyer...

Other Books in the Series

Nicholas Meyer Holmes Pastiches (3 books)
  • The Seven-Percent Solution
  • The West End Horror: A Posthumous Memoir of John H. Watson, MD

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