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The Strange Return of Sherlock Holmes Hardcover – June 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Severn House Publishers; Sew edition (June 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 072786887X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0727868879
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,941,994 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

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. --David Pitt

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Customer Reviews

What an awful book.
Hannah R. Gray
The book is passable up to those final two chapters, where it just devolves into the author using his characters as a mask to shout his personal political opinion.
K. Thompson
This isn't a Sherlock Holmes novel.
No BS guy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By M. Halstead on September 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was extraordinarily disappointing. The poor quality of the writing nearly made me set it aside within the first few pages, but I soldiered on in an attempt to ignore that particular flaw since I've previously read a few well-plotted books with writing quality nearly as bad. But the mildly promising plot quickly devolved into propagandist nonsense which, whether you agree with it or not, simply had no business masquerading as a Sherlock Holmes mystery. It seems that the author merely used the name 'Holmes' in an attempt to trick people into buying this mess, and cared nothing about keeping the characters intact. I rarely write reviews, but I feel compelled to warn others not to waste their money on this garbage the way I did. Do yourself a favor and just don't buy it.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By K. Thompson on June 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
How unfortunate Hannah Gray reviewed this after I bought and read it. I certainly would have stayed away.

As it happens, she is perfectly right, which makes me sound like a parrot account created to bash the book, much like I suspect the five-star reviews are parrot accounts by the author and his buddies to boost the book (and apparently say that those ridiculous fawning reviews are the most helpful. Total BS. I should have known better).

But that's not keeping me from saying this book was a real disappointment. I'm a big Holmes fan, and I can be picky about my pastiches, but this one sounded interesting and perhaps passable, if a bit different. How would Grant pull off Holmes in the 21st century? What would the mystery be about, since times have changed so much?

But this book does suffer greatly from the author's inane politically views, as Gray noted. Look, Bush was an idiot and Cheney was evil. But I don't need the author screaming that at me. The book is passable up to those final two chapters, where it just devolves into the author using his characters as a mask to shout his personal political opinion. Now, I happen to agree with great--but that doesn't mean I want him using my favorite literary character as a mouthpiece for those views. It was disgusting. Those chapters also include a lot of profanity and really disgusting details which, I have no doubt, are really true, but very out of place in a Holmes pastiche.

I overpaid and I wasted a few hours reading this. I would have read the next in the series, if there ever is one, if it hadn't have been for those two chapters.
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Hannah R. Gray on June 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wow. What an awful book. First, of all it was poorly written. More like fanfic than anything that should get published. The character of Sherlock Holmes was not true to the original stories. My last straw with the book, though, was the end. Sherlock implies to Wilson that the two worst villains in the world were still out there and he could never touch them. Who were they?---George Bush and Dick Cheney....The author should have kept his political opinions to himself.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kingston Pearl on December 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
One of the great things about A.C.Doyle's stories is the opportunity to escape from day-to-day matters and immerse in good writing and good mystery. In this revival, the writing is self-indulgent and, at times, irritatingly political. Bush and Jesus take a beating. The mystery itself is contrived and sophmoric.
Not a good read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Chuck Lavazzi on September 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Barry Grant (whoever s/he may be) is hardly the first author to try placing Holmes in the present day and by no means the worst (that distinction would have to go to the screenwriters responsible for a couple of made-for-TV movies on the theme from many years ago). Grant obviously knows the Canon well and salts the narrative with plenty of Holmesian in-jokes, along with references to other literary and dramatic works, including Thomas' "Under Milk Wood". Even the lengthy back story about Holmes' "death" and revival that brings the entire narrative to a screeching halt half-way through is Canonical - Doyle did the same sort of thing in "Study in Scarlet", "The Sign of Four" and "The Valley of Fear".

That said, the book is, on the whole, a somewhat inept affair. The overlong political rant at the end, while it mirrors most of my own views, feels rather tacked-on and preachy. Too much exposition is handled via absurdly long monologues and some of he dialog between Holmes and Wilson reads too much like Doyle lite.

Still, I've read far worse Holmesian pastiches and if this is, indeed, the beginning of a series, one can always hope that Grant will get better at it with practice. Meanwhile, fans of The Master could do far worse. Some scenes, such as Homes' reunion with former Baker Street Irregular Wiggins (now a middle-aged business man), are quite charming. I'd recommend finding a copy at your local library, though. This isn't the sort of thing you'll want to re-read.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mark Charles on April 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I am a huge Doyle/Holmes fan and went into this book very skeptical. The writing wasn't great, but the author did pick up on several of the traits I enjoyed most about my favorite detective. It must have been my hunger for more Holmes that suckered me in, because after a few dozen pages I was actually enjoying myself, but then the author started showing his true colors. Wow! Even if I agreed with the author's idiotic, small minded, sheep-like views, I would be disappointed that he used this legendary character to advance them. I wish I could rate this book with minus stars. Run--Run away.
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