- File Size: 2490 KB
- Print Length: 235 pages
- Publisher: MX Publishing; 1 edition (September 18, 2017)
- Publication Date: September 18, 2017
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B075RDHN2Z
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,427,864 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$18.95|
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The Criminal Mastermind of Baker Street Kindle Edition
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|Length: 235 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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When I heard of this new novel by Rob Nunn, I was excited. When I received an advance copy in the mail, I was thrilled. When I read in the introduction that the author used William Baring-Goulds’s chronology as the basis of his reimagined saga, the first thing I did was pull down my Baring Gould’s “biography” of the Great Detective Sherlock Holmes on Baker Street and also his ground-breaking Annotated Sherlock Holmes. Then, as I began to encounter proper names like Lynch and Backwater and Lucas, one after another, I realized that I was in way over my head, so I also pulled down Jack Tracy’s The Encyclopedia Sherlockiana. I may love Holmes and Watson; I have even written some Holmes fiction myself, but I am not a walking encyclopedia; not by a long shot. Well, once I was all ready, I dived into Nunn’s book.
He has done an admirable job of creating the “alternative ‘biography’” of Sherlock Holmes. Baring-Gould’s biography and Nunn’s biography can stand side by side and both authors can be proud. In both instances, for 300 pages, the authors “explored” innumerable possible scenarios, fleshing out details barely mentioned by Watson in the Canon, and inventing new but well-extrapolated action and machinations. Every time I encountered a name or place I was not familiar with, I found it in the encyclopedia. Nunn stayed 100% true to Watson. Of that there can be no doubt.
Nunn, like Baring-Gould, covers the whole span of Holmes’ life as recorded in the Canon. We begin with the episode of Stamford introducing the two; within a few pages they are settling into Baker Street, a bit later, Holmes is recruiting a forger, and then confronting a petty gang boss, episode after episode. Nunn religiously attempts to cover all of Holmes life in this one volume from the intriguing upside-down perspective of Holmes being a criminal. One concern I had as I kept turning pages was that Holmes the criminal boss seemed much too civilized for a criminal, even if he happened to be Sherlock Holmes. After all, Moriarty may have a gentlemanly affect, but he was never less than a monster.
Nunn’s inside-out biography is notable, important, and fun. I’m positive that it is the book that Nunn intended to write, and it is a fine and intriguing addition to the vast world of Holmes pastiche novels.
Let us suppose that Holmes was not the consulting detective of the canon and bitter enemy to Professor Moriarty. Picture him instead as a “consulting criminal,” head of a vast criminal empire spreading its wings over London, Britain, and creeping into the rest of the world. Moriarty is a rival, trying to push Holmes out as “the Napoleon of Crime.”
That is the premise of this book. Nunn has taken the entire canon, including the cases mentioned in passing by Watson, but unrecorded. He even brings in one of the stories from Doyle’s Tales of Mystery and Horror, The Lost Special!” Each adventure is woven into the story from the viewpoint that Holmes masterminded them with Watson as a Lieutenant in Holmes’ operation.
Granted, Holmes occasionally aides Lestrade on a case. It’s usually because the crime was committed without his permission or to punish a gang member that has underestimated Holmes. He takes the occasional case for Mycroft, who knows Holmes is crooked but prefers to ignore him unless it affects the Crown. The rivalry with Moriarty is still there and the clash at the Reichenbach Falls still takes place. It has the same results, except that Watson endeavors to hold the group together until Holmes returns.
It really is a well thought out plot and the inclusion of some many cases doesn’t stop the flow of the story at all! Nunn has been extremely successful in his makeover of the Holmes canon.
The one problem I can see is that it may be difficult for Nunn to continue his universe in more volumes. So many of the unrecorded cases are used, that only a few remain. There are a couple more tales from the TOMAH book that would work, so here’s hoping!
I give the book five stars!
Quoth the Raven…