I have been an ardent fan of Holmesian literature nearly all my life, ever since I picked up ‘The Complete Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (in 2 volumes)’ from my mother’s library when I was 11 or 12. I have watched nearly all the dramatizations on film based on the characters, Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. I still read through the books at least once a year, every year, when I’m conflicted about what to read. Needless to say, I am a reasonable authority when it comes to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional sleuth. This almost obsession is what led me to choose ‘The Sherlock Effect’ by Raymond Kay Lyon from the vast array of books at Netgalley.
The book brings to life, 4 chapters from the adventures of Christopher ‘Sherl’ Sherlock Webster (Holmes) and his college friend and business partner (-in-crime, forgive the pun please) Morris ‘Mo’ Rennie (Watson, of course) who live and solve crimes in present day London (the novel was originally published in 1997 and this review is based on a reprint set to release on January 25, 2018, so present day might be stretching it a little). Mr. Webster, who grew up and advanced into adulthood resenting his conspicuous middle name given by a Holmes-obsessed father throws himself into everything-Holmes after his father’s demise. Along comes Mo with a plan to open up an agency of consulting detectives (which he offers to bank roll), with the hope that Sherl’s unique middle name will fetch them some clients. It does, and work starts coming their way in due time.
The Sherlock Effect is interesting enough. It is an easy read, written simply and concisely. What is lacking is Conan Doyle’s deductive brilliance, which is the highlight of the original. While the plots are somewhat distinctive, they lack the depth and intrigue which Evokes your inner detective, which keeps you on tenterhooks until the very end. The stories and characterisations are rather transparent. The premise itself isn’t exactly new (it might have been in 1997, but not so much in 2018. There are literally countless works, both in literature and on film, derived from Conan Doyle’s Holmes available today). All in all, I’d characterise ‘The Sherlock Effect’ as an average, enjoyable read that entertains but doesn’t offer much of a cerebral challenge.
P. S : This review is based on a free ebook version of this novel provided to me by netgalley.co.uk. The opinions expressed are my own.