Matt Kuhns's Reviews > The Seven-percent Solution: Being a Reprint from the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, MD

The Seven-percent Solution by Nicholas Meyer
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A re-writing of significant parts of the Doyle canon, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution nonetheless mimics Doyle with a completeness that furnishes both its great strengths and its major faults.

As regards the latter, some aspects of Meyer's pastiche may be a matter of taste. For my part he gets too cute in his story's footnotes, many of them pointing out inconsistencies or flubs in "Watson's" narrative (which were in this case actually inserted by Meyer, intentionally, to enhance his work's verisimilitude). This can be forgiven, particularly as Meyer wrote the story in his 20s. Issues with the plot constitute more substantive and, to my mind, probably less intentional faults. The story is about three or four things, some of which work and some of which do not; the great apocalyptic threat which turns up late in the tale is never clearly explained, and while this also recalls Doyle (some of whose plots could also grow rather fanciful or vague) it does not seem a trait especially worth imitating. Particularly as it relates to what I must regard as the book's greatest fault…

(view spoiler)

This said, the book is well worth reading, and succeeds in that regard despite its faults much as Doyle's stories often did: through atmosphere, character and action. Most of the characters are thin, but Holmes and Watson are as alive and three-dimensional as ever. The fogs of London are a marvelous presence. And the climactic scenes, for all that they fail to connect as a satisfying plot, are still tautly-written, fast-paced reading. The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, for all the failings of its ambitions in terms of plot and "fixing" the canon, is nonetheless an enjoyable story on its own; it is indeed a classic page-turner.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
December 30, 2012 – Finished Reading
December 31, 2012 – Shelved
December 31, 2012 – Shelved as: my-sherlock-holmes-books

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