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Sherlock Holmes and the Rule of Nine Hardcover – October 1, 2003

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Severn House Publishers (October 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0727860046
  • ISBN-13: 978-0727860040
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,705,276 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

British author Roberts follows the mediocre Sherlock Holmes and the Crosby Murder (2002) with an equally unmemorable effort, which draws on two of Dr. Watson's legendary untold tales. Holmes's failure to bring the vicious thieves of the valuable Vatican cameos to justice rears its head seven years later, when the prime suspect, Cardinal Tosca, a prominent member of the Catholic Church, returns to England. Meanwhile, Holmes's probe into a protection racket victimizing small businesses leads him to a Mafia-like secret society known as the Rule of Nine. Predictably, the two cases quickly become one, and a real-life Italian-American undercover detective joins the campaign, posing as an organ grinder to infiltrate the gang. The search for the stolen cameos is sidetracked by a murder investigation in which the master detective typically disagrees with the theories of Scotland Yard. The solution to the murder turns on a set of coincidences that strain credulity. Despite his convincing portrayals of Holmes and Watson, the author, who has done some excellent pastiches in the past, fails at marrying a traditional tale of deduction with the adversaries he's chosen for Holmes-a ruthless organized crime syndicate. Conan Doyle did much better with a similar premise in "The Adventure of the Red Circle."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Sherlock Holmes fans will be delighted with Roberts' latest updating of the Conan Doyle series. Roberts' style is surprisingly similar to Doyle's, and the adventures he sets for Holmes and Watson are nearly as baffling as the originals. In this outing, Holmes and Watson are up against a gang called the Rule of Nine, headed by one Don Vito Corese. The New York-based gang has extended its reach to London, setting up a protection racket and forcing local shopkeepers to pay up or risk having their businesses destroyed. When a man's body is found crammed into a tea chest, Holmes is called in to assist and soon discovers that the protection racket is only a cover for a much darker scheme. In his usual inimitable style, Holmes (with help from Watson and a New York detective) employs disguises, trickery, logic, and legerdemain to confuse the perpetrators, amaze the police, stun even the unflappable Watson, and solve the case with flair and aplomb. A cleverly plotted, entertaining imitation that just might please even Holmes purists. Emily Melton
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Patrick J. Callahan on April 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This little mystery is nicely turned. The author proportions the story very well to the book's length. It is not a particularly long novel. The plot is pretty simple and straightforward -- there are no subplots that I can think of.

The author is very effective in capturing the character and mannerisms of Holmes and Watson. He is also highly knowledgeable about the London of the late Eighteenth Century that Holmes inhabited. His pages of "notes" at the end of the book show that he is quite a Holmes scholar, which may explain how he succeeds in recreating the flavor of the original fiction so well.

Action scenes are very well rendered. There are several of these, including a major gunfight. The gang of nine that provides the villains is very similar to secret societies in several of the original Doyle novels.

One possible shortcoming of the book is a void in characterization. For example, the arch-villain of the book is a child-molesting Catholic Cardinal. This same Cardinal is also deeply involved in the theft of the Vatican Cameos, which poses Holmes his challenge in the book. However, this clerical figure is little more than a cardboard cutout. He never emerges as a character at all.

To say more about the book's characters, an American detective from New York, who assists Holmes, comes across somewhat more convincingly, as does good old Lestrade. Inspector Lestrade in this story is less the fool and more an underappreciated and mentally sharp guy. He is really a true friend of Holmes, not just the jealous dabbler as he so often appears. Unfortunately, many imitators of Doyle love to make Lestrade a pathetic fool or buffoon. I like this "sharp" version of Lestrade much better.

This novel is not War and Peace.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Miss Marple on September 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mr. Roberts has written a number of Holmes pastiches and this is his latest. His style of writing is easy to read and quite enjoyable. There has been a play written along the same lines as the premise of this book, namely the murder of Cardinal Tosca. Some Catholics may be offended by Cardinal Tosca's perversions but it should not came as a surprise with all the media coverage involving some of the Church's priests and their years of abuse.

This is not his best book but I happen to like Roberts pastiches. This is a story about fanatics, criminal lords and religious officials. The Baker Street Irregulars are wonderful here and champions. Read it for yourself and make a judgement.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By F. J. Harvey on February 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The year is 1895 and the setting is London.Holmes observes that a number of small shops in the city are falling victim to a protection racket ,the culprits being the Rule of Nine run by a New York Italian now based in England ,a man named Corese.He is also involved in an attempt to recover the priceless Vatican cameos ,stolen some years previously .During the robbery an innocent man ,the priest guarding the treasures ,was shot and Holmes knows that a high ranking Vatican figure ,Cardinal Tosca was behind the theft having informed the thieves of the security arrangements .

Holmes is helped in the matter of the Rule of Nine bya New York detective ,the real life figure of Joseph Petrosino (as played in a good biopic called "Pay or Die "by Ernest Borgnine).The cases are linked as Corese is in possession of the cameos and to recover them Holmes must take on a motley crew of competing interests including the Catholic Church (unsympathetically portrayed in the book as devious ,cynical and manipulative ) Northern Ireland Protestant bigots and anarchists in the Italian community in London ,not to mention trying to prevent a miscarriage of justice when an innocent boy is charged with the murder of the Cardinal .There is also a nod to G K Chesterton as a Father Brown like figure also appears in the book .

The book is more thriller than deduction with lots of action -s rescue from a fetid cellar in Docklands,a shootout with anarchists and an encounter with burglars

It is a good and lively read and recommended to all Holmesians and lovers of quick actionful books
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