The Strange Return of Sherlock Holmes

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9780727868879: The Strange Return of Sherlock Holmes

The original super-sleuth, Sherlock Holmes, is back on the case - When James Wilson retires from journalism, he decides to settle down in Herefordshire with a room-mate, a Mr Cedric Coombes, and at first thinks little of his new friend’s eccentric behaviour. But he can’t shake the feeling that he knows him from somewhere else. As Coombes displays his magnificent deductive prowess, and becomes embroiled in the police investigation of the apparent murder of a man in bathtub, Wilson, or should we say Watson, begins to wonder just who this Coombes really is . . .

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Review:

After an embedded tour in Afghanistan, journalist James Wilson returns to England, intending to settle into a quiet life in a small town. Looking to share the rental on a cottage, he is introduced to Cedric Coombes, a tall, thin man in his 60s. Coombes, who instantly reminds Wilson of someone, turns out to be a curious fellow: a cocaine user and amateur violin player possessed of the most astonishing deductive powers. No, this isn't a spoof of the Holmes stories; it's played straight. Coombes really is who you think he is, and there's a perfectly logical (although inherently fantastical) explanation as to how he comes to be living here in the twenty-first century. Grant devises an engaging mystery for our returning hero to solve, a thoroughly modern case involving murder, an American veteran of the Iraq War, torture, and (a more traditional Holmesian element) eerie spectral sightings. Grant adopts a variant of Conan Doyle's style that seems neither artificial nor forced. Readers will settle in and feel right at home in this first of a projected series. A genuine treat. --Booklist, 1st May 2010

From Publishers Weekly:

The pseudonymous Grant takes a fantastic premise—that a frozen Sherlock Holmes is miraculously revived in the 21st century—and puts it to effective use in this first in a projected series of pastiches. In a career parallel to the original Dr. Watson's, middle-aged British journalist James Wilson returns, wounded, from the current war in Afghanistan, and finds himself in need of a roommate. A chance meeting with an acquaintance leads him to share a cottage in the Welsh village of Hay-on-Wye with one Cedric Coombes, who has a particular interest in history from 1914 on. The action-heavy backstory, involving a mission to avert WWI, is the weakest point, but the present-day murder mystery, with connections to American abuses of prisoners in Iraq, is solid and makes the prospect of further books welcome. Grant gets some details wrong (Doyle's Holmes often quoted from Shakespeare, for example), but Sherlockians will be pleasantly surprised. (June)
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