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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on July 31, 2000
Brilliantly done. I've been reading Doyle's Holmes stories for nearly thirty years; I read Meyer's _Seven Per Cent Solution_ when it was new and I still have my original copy. I've also read some of the other attempts to bring Holmes to life again in full-length novels, and in my own view Meyer is the only one who nails it.

Indeed he even improves on the original tales in some respects. His account of what _really_ happened between "The Final Problem" and "The Empty House" has the ring of plausibility, and it does far greater credit to Watson than many of Doyle's stories do.

Especially in the later stories, Doyle tended to treat Watson as an inept dunderhead, a practice unfortunately followed by some of his blinder imitators. Meyer's take is that Watson employed artistic license in order to bring out the brilliance of his companion, but that the real Watson couldn't have been such an incompetent idiot if he was both a trained medical man and the valued companion of the world's first consulting detective.

So in this "rediscovered" manuscript, Meyer does both of these Victorian gentlemen proud. The novel -- which is both an adventure and a warmly humane tale of Holmes's and Watson's friendship -- is sprinkled with touching scenes of genuine affection between the two lifelong friends; the good Watson finally gets his due as a companion and as a human being, and the not-so-bloodless-after-all Holmes comes vividly to life as well. One of the most moving moments (there are many) comes in Holmes's remark to Watson: "Never let them say you were merely my Boswell, Watson. Never let them say that."

I won't tell you where and when that remark occurs, and in general I won't spoil the novel for anyone who hasn't read it yet. But it's the sort of Holmes pastiche that reviewers like to describe as a "corking good read," and in this case they're right. Moreover, Meyer relies on the very best Holmesian scholarship (notably William S. Baring-Gould) on matters of chronology and other detail, though I'm sure some of the Baker Street Irregulars will be able to pick nits. If you enjoyed Doyle's stories, you'll love this one -- and _The West End Horror_, too. (I was less impressed by _The Canary Trainer_.)

[P.S. Most of you probably already know this, but just in case somebody doesn't: Yes, this is the very same Nicholas Meyer who directed the best of the _Star Trek_ movies. You'll find a bit of Holmes homage in _Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country_, which Meyer helped to script. Spock even quotes Holmes's dictum that "when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth" -- attributing it to one of his "ancestors."

Meyer also scripted and directed the film version of _The Seven Per Cent Solution_ -- which isn't as good as the book, I think, but the cast is terrific, especially Robert Duvall and Alan Arkin.]
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 1999
There are two sorts of Sherlock Holmes pastiche. The first is written by people who like the original stories and wish there were more of them; so they try to duplicate them, to surreptitiously insert an extra bit of short fiction into the canon. If a writer does this and no more the result will almost certainly be a failure. (This is contingent. It would be nice if there were more Sherolock Holmes stories, and it would be nice if someone could practice direct mimickry; but no-one can.) Conan Doyle himself was reduced to doing this sort of thing by the 1920s, and the results were pallid.
But there is another way. The original stories, as we all know, are peppered with oddities, allusions to untold events, and, more than anything else, flat contradictions. A good pastiche will make a meal of the oddities, fill out the allusions, and, in this case, explain away the contradictions. A good pastiche does not merely augment, but also extends, what has gone before.
So consider "The Final Problem" and "The Valley of Fear". In the former story Holmes mentions - for the first time - the criminal mastermind of all London, Professor Moriarty, who in the end dies. In "The Valley of Fear" Holmes mentions Moriarty as still living, and Watson and Lestrade speak as if Holmes talks about Moriarty all the time. A contradiction right away. Moreover, one would think that "The Napoleon of Crime" would feature more prominently in Watson's tales about London's greatest detective. Moreover still, a penetrating analysis by a good friend of mine reveals the the apparently solid "The Final Problem" to be one of the most ludicrous Holmes stories in existence.
Meyer solves all this by supposing Holmes's cocaine addiction (mentioned in "The Sign of Four") generated paranoid delusions about the perfectly harmless Moriarty; which, of course, necessitates a meeting with Dr. Sigmund Freud. (I have no doubt that Freud in this novel is totally unlike the real Freud, but criticims based on this fact are misguided. Meyer's Freud is exactly the sort of man who inhabits the Sherlock Holmes universe.) Meyer's solution to Moriarty ought to be made official.
The novel suffers from a lack of real meat when Holmes gets around to detecting again, and the kind of climax which looks ahead to the film version rather than behind to the nineteenth century. But all in all, THE pastiche to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2010
The first of two Sherlock Holmes pastiches authored by Nicholas Meyer, The Seven Percent Solution expands on the original works' brief references to Holmes' cocaine use and undertakes a full-blown examination of what turns out to have been his very severe addiction. Turns out Holmes didn't really plunge over Reichenbach Falls in a deadly tussle with Professor Moriarty after all. That story was just Watson's smoke screen to cover for Holmes' addiction and cure. OK, interesting twist.

Watson has to trick Holmes into going to Vienna to be treated by a controversial doctor with controversial ideas, Sigmund Freud, of course. Meyer does a nice job keeping the reader guessing whether Holmes is in a drug-induced paranoid state or is pulling the wool (again) over Watson's eyes. That question is resolved once they arrive in Vienna. Of course, once in Vienna, Holmes and Watson become enmeshed in solving a heinous, but clever, set of crimes involving Viennese society.

Along the way Meyer works in a number of answers to unsolved issues raised by the original works but left unanswered. Early in the book the references to these conundrums are so frequent that the book begins to take on a scholarly feel. [That is not a plus, in my view. If you want scholarly (if somewhat tongue-in-cheek) analyses, they are available.] As a confirmed addict of the originals and of numerous knockoffs, that sort of thing would seemingly appeal to me, but it struck me as a bit overly cute. And much of the story itself was decidedly unlike the Doyle tales - too much action for one thing. Meyer does not, I hasten to add, totally distort Holmes and Watson like the recent abomination of a movie.

Most Holmes fans will enjoy this effort and may want to proceed to the The West End Horror: A Posthumous Memoir of John H. Watson, M.D..
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 1998
I highly recommend this to all Sherlockians! This is the first non-ACD Holmes story that I've ever read and found this tale, even though it showed a side of Holmes never shown by ACD, greatly captured the true-to-Holmes writing style that so many authors fail to capture.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2010
Overall worth buying. Not as good as an original Sherlock Holmes story although which book really can be? This may just be bias on my part as I love the originals. I think it is difficult to create a "new" Sherlock story that captures the magic(for lack of a descriptive enough word) of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories. This book succeeds in telling an interesting story one that to me was well written in the sense that it did not feel like it tried to hard to copy the language or format of earlier stories. I could say more I am sure but bottom line is if you enjoy Sherlock Holmes and like me have read through the originals and still want more then this book is definitely worth looking into.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 10, 2009
The mystery was kind of sparse, sort of tacked on at the end. The story was more about hanging around and worrying over Holmes' cocaine habit, interspersed with some "look, it's Sigmund Freud, isn't he cool?" for a change of pace. Well, yes, he is cool, but as much as I like Holmes and Watson, and as well-written as they are here, the story was a touch uneventful. Still, if anyone could make boring fun, it's these two.

The West End Horror is a better book by the same author, but I don't regret paying $5 for this one. It was rather quiet, but it was also an interesting character study of Holmes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
For a non-canon story, this one is quite good. At the begin Holmes is in one of his cocaine fuelled bouts of depression he gets when inactive. Watson has to someone manage to get him to Sigmund Freud, who restores his state of mind. Then, they have to team up to stop a serious problem of the super villain variety.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2009
The title of my review is taken from Chapter 5 of Part One of this novel...as it seemed fitting, considering what the 'seven per cent solution' of the title refers to, which is the cocaine addiction of Sherlock Holmes which his friend and companion, Dr. John Watson, endeavors to help release him from...which begins the 'journey through the fog' of the drug addicted mind of Sherlock Holmes.

Having read only one true Conan-Doyle Holmes adventure thus far, that being The Sign of the Four; this novel represents my fourth 'Holmes' story....the others all having been written long after Conan-Dolye's death. Of this particular novel I can say that it truly does live up to the original thrill that Conan-Doyle created with the 'World's Greatest Detective'.

In this bit of Holmes pastiche, the detective's mortal enemy, Professor Moriarty, comes to Watson with a dilemma.....that he is, in fact, the persecuted party....being maligned by none other than Holmes himself for 'crimes' of which he is entirely innocent.

Watson and Holmes' brother, Mycroft; finding credibility to Moriarty's claim, decide that it is long past time to help Sherlock overcome his cocaine addiction, which has apparently transformed the innocent Moriarty into the monster that Holmes imagines him to be.

Thereby, the game is afoot as Watson and Mycroft attempt to trick the most intuitive and observing man in the world...no easy feat.

The story is every bit as much as page turner as I found The Sign of Four to be. For lovers of the adventures of the resident of Baker Street, London; give this 'continuation' of his legend a chance. I will certainly be searching out the other two Holmes novels from author Nicholas Meyer for future enjoyment.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2005
The Seven-Per-Cent Solution is a Sherlock Holmes novel, but not by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Nicholas Meyer, the author claims to be the editor of these reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D. In his Foreward he tells how the original manuscript was found in an attic in 1970. Then in an Introductory chapter Dr. Watson relates why, in his 87th year (1939), he undertook the task of writing once more of the exploits of Sherlock Holmes. He claims he was sworn to secrecy until one of the main characters of the story passed away. Thus begins a post-Doyle Holmes tale which tries to give the fictional characters of Holmes and Watson a greater claim to reality by entangling them with actual real people of their time.

The story begins with Holmes seeking out Watson, convinced that his arch-enemy Professor Moriarty is hot on his trail and out to kill him with air guns. Dr. Watson finds that Holmes cocaine habit has become worse and, instead of being in danger of attack, he is delusional from his addiction. Seeking help from Sherlock's brother Mycroft, they devise a plan to lure Holmes to Vienna and into the care of Dr. Sigmund Freud. Freud successfully uses hypnosis to break the addiction, but it takes the strange case of a catatonic woman who escaped abduction and captivity only to attempt suicide to revive Holmes's spirit.

Written with a sense of humor that will upset traditionalists, this story is a rousing, if not accurate, portrayal of Holmes that will entertain readers of post-Doyle Holmesiana. The Freud-Holmes relationship is well-portrayed as is the character of Dr. Watson. Serious Holmes scholars may find the author's portrayals of Mycroft Holmes and Professor Moriarty shocking, but I don't think this book was written with them in mind.

Later made into a movie that was nominated for two Academy Awards, this novel is an enjoyable read, but the visual effects of the movie really brought it to life. While I liked the book, I enjoyed the movie more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 2009
If you've read all the Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes stories you are sure to enjoy this one. I won't spoil the story for you but it takes place after Holmes has supposedly been killed by Prof. Moriarty....
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