November, 1947. Whitehall has issued instructions that the world still believes Sherlock is dead. Watson drives on with published works on their many adventures. And thus, we get taken back to the years of World War II where Holmes and Watson once again take on cases no one else can solve.
Holmes and Watson may have been given their toughest assignment yet. Whitehall urges them to investigate the state of the prisoners of war taken at Dunkirk. Holmes and Watson travel to the enemies’ lair – Germany, in order to undergo talks with German high command. While in discussions with Joseph Goebbels, they get drawn into the familiar world of murder as their only means of negotiation to free prisoners of war.
An unusual case of several girls assaulted on trains in various ways leads Holmes and Watson towards ruthless killers, and the motive that could set the world aflame.
The case takes a violent turn, leading Holmes and Watson to sneak into Russia and speak with the General Secretary of the Soviet Communist party – Stalin.
While talking to prisoners-of-war a theory is brought to light that could change the tactics of warfare, and provide those who possess it the ability to turn the tide of the war.
Sherlock Holmes is an intelligent man with egotistical tendencies largely due to him out-smarting anyone that he comes across. Whereas, Watson may not be the super sleuth like Holmes, he has his own way about him that eventually leads him to the bad guy, or his input is vital for Holmes to uncover the truth.
Watson whom has experienced two happy marriages, both wives deceased, is content to retire along with Holmes in a quiet village. However, it seems fate has other ideas, and crime cannot escape Holmes.
The story takes you from 1940s England to Germany, where it feels like another world. At times it is easy to forget who they are talking about. The Germans are just humans. Wanting to improve their lives, provide for their families. Their land ravaged by war. We get shown both sides of the conflict, the collateral damage on both sides.
The story is spoken from the viewpoint of Watson, providing his insights on the cases and on Sherlock himself. Aloof, sullen and unpredictable, Holmes follows his quarry to the detriment of himself, leaving Watson to scrabble behind. Still, Watson’s part in the story helps to balance out the almost narcissistic nature of Holmes. Bouncing ideas off each other, building on what they know.
The turn of events leaves Watson to take charge, leading him down an amusing path that if what he discovered was actually true, well, life can be stranger than fiction….
It is not the usual Sherlock Holmes story. You’re not dealing with criminal masterminds, killers, or the infamous dealings of the Moriarty gang. Instead, it starts off with Holmes and Watson on a journey in Germany talking to prisoners of war, and infamous German commanders like Joseph Goebbels.
I was wondering what the point of this was. There was no intricate display of events that Sherlock had to unravel. Yet, something was hinted at that might drive Holmes and Sherlock in a whole other direction to why they were initially sent.
This author does a great job of creating the type of tone one would expect from a Holmes novel. Oh, so positively English with old-fashioned phrases bespeaking of the times, adding to the authenticity of their situation.
I love how the author mentions some of the historical cases, bringing a little smile to my face every time it happens. It is rather comical to think about Sherlock and Watson roaming around the countryside, jumping onto trains and solving cases in their eighties.
It was easy to imagine Holmes and Watson on their peculiar journey to Russia, and even more peculiar interaction with Stalin. Unpredictable and prone to bouts of rage, Holmes and Watson must tread carefully with this volatile man that could decide their fate.
It is an interesting story that takes place in the later years of Holmes, leaving me to question that realistically I don’t know if they would have been quite up to the task. However, other than that, it is filled with the usual subterfuge from Holmes to catch his target, only informing Watson of small details until the final moment.
“There is much in this work about means and ends on which reader must form his own view, but I cannot doubt the desirability of the ends achieved for all that one may question the means that were used.”Watson.
Goosebumps. Yep, I got a few of these reading this book. Once again, the portrayal of Holmes and Watson is exemplary. The era in which the story is set just adds to the suspense and the importance of what they were doing. An easy read that had me engrossed from the beginning.
Holmes and Watson are well-developed characters, drawing you in with their individual mannerisms. The supporting characters played their part perfectly, and utilizing well known historical characters just added to the story all the more.
Sherlock Holmes fans, fans of history, mystery and the plotting and subterfuge of wartime will enjoy this book.