Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Knife Edge (Sherlock Holmes: The Legend Begins): Fits Well Into the Holmes Genre

Book Review: Knife Edge (Sherlock Holmes: The Legend Begins) by Andrew Lane
Version: eBook library borrow

Always on the lookout for a good Sherlock Holmes story, I ran into Knife Edge by Andrew Lane. It's written for the young adult market, but anyone who is a Sherlock Holmes fan can enjoy it. Knife Edge in one of a series written by Lane, a Brit. It is only my opinion, but the best Sherlock Holmes stories are written by Brits.

So it is with Knife Edge, which is one of several books about the teen years of Sherlock Holmes life and thus, the subtitle, The Legend Begins.

In Knife Edge, Sherlock has returned to the British Isles from China, working his way back aboard a sailing ship after having been kidnapped. His journey is diverted from Southampton to Galway, Ireland, where he is greeted by his older brother, Mycroft. But all isn't cheery brotherhood as Mycroft has an ulterior motive in arranging for Sherlock's ship to meet him in Galway. A mystery awaits them at a castle nearby, where the two must decide whether the British government should bid against other continental powers for the services of a spiritualist. Does the spiritualist really have the power to connect with the dead, or is this just a scam? As Sherlock Holmes fans know, only he can solve the mystery.

The castle is owned by a sketchy gentleman landowner who is hosting a series of convincing seances given by a strange man claiming to wield the power to communicate with the dead. Mycroft represents the British government, but present also are representatives from Prussia, Austria-Hungary, and Russia. Soon to arrive is a representative from America. All are bidding to tap these "miracle" services. There are many twists and turns in this tale along the western coast of Ireland, infamous for its shipwrecks and the scavengers who secreted the spoils into hidden caves. Danger lurks everywhere. Piecing together the shadowy clues, Sherlock unveils his talents for logic.

As with any young adult book, Knife Edge isn't terribly complicated. The plots and twists aren't overly sophisticated. But then, neither were the original stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This story would actually fit well into the Doyle cannon. The cross-check rivalry between Sherlock and Mycroft are present as well. Doyle even delved into spiritualism at one point in his life. But this is good light reading for anyone who likes a breezy summer distraction with the early hints of the Holmes mind.

Give Lane's Sherlock Holmes: The Legend Begins stories a try, and I'd recommend Knife Edge as good as anywhere to begin.

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