The mighty Derrick Belanger has reviewed a list of Holmes books he suggests would make great Christmas presents. I’m honoured that A Biased Judgement: The Sherlock Holmes Diaries 1897 has made his list.
Here’s what Derrick had to say:
To me romance and Holmes are like oil and water. It is near impossible to pull off Sherlock Holmes with even the slightest touch of romance. Sometimes it can be achieved with a touch of humor such as the delightful secret romance in plain sight between Holmes and Mrs. Hudson in The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: War of the Worlds. But to play it straight and pull it off I thought to be impossible…then I read one of my favorite Holmes pastiches by the incredibly talented author Geri Schear.
If you want to read a Holmes romance novel that does the impossible, read A Biased Judgement: The Sherlock Holmes Diaries 1897. Here is my original review, written shortly after the book was published:
If there was an award for best new Sherlock Holmes character, I would give it to Lady Beatrice, the heroine of Geri Schear’s delightful new pastiche A Biased Judgement. This is a fun, exciting Sherlock Holmes novel grounded in the historical events of 1897 – 1898. The story begins with a bang: Sherlock Holmes is attacked on the streets, a global conspiracy against the leaders and monarchs of the world is brewing, and a mysterious boy only known as Jack has disappeared. Who is this mysterious boy? What does he have to do with the events of the time period? What about the murdered body of a painter/ art forger?
These questions and many more are answered over the course of a multi-year story. There are multiple murders as well as multiple mysteries and they all interconnect, which makes reviewing this book a bit difficult in that I am trying to make sure I give nothing away. I will say that the fan base of this book should be beyond that of Sherlock Holmes. Those who enjoy a good Agatha Christie cozy style mystery, a spy thriller in the vein of Lacare, or even Victorian era historical fiction will love this book.
Then there is the lovely Lady Beatrice who is an instantly likable and respectable character who is on a par with Irene Adler for great Holmes women. Beatrice causes Holmes one of his most difficult problems, and he really has to eliminate the impossible to finally solve it.
This is an excellent debut novel, epic in scope yet focusing on the humanity behind the history. Ms. Schear lets you know that behind each body discovered is a sense of true loss felt by loved ones. The connections to the actual Holmes stories from the canon that occur during the covered time frame is clever and believable.
I’ll end by being blunt: Buy this book. You won’t regret it.
For those who prefer their Holmes with a touch of the traditional romance novel and are fans of theLaurie R. King series, you may want to check out Amy Thomas romance series which has a romance between the great detective and the woman. This is a tough one for us Holmes purists, but Ms. Thomas writes well, and her story involves Holmes and Adler teaming up and working incognito to unravel a sinister plot. Lots of twists and turns, and Irene Adler and Holmes are treated as equals. This is a great book for romance readers who like a good mystery and are interested in learning more about Holmes.
Do check out the rest of Derrick’s list. It’s as insightful as it is diverse. Here’s the link: https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/9512283-sherlock-holmes-books-great-christmas-presents-part-2 If you’re on Goodreads, do consider following Derrick. He’s a fabulous writer and a mensch.