Monday, November 17, 2014

Anthony Horowitz Sherlock Holmes Short Story "The Three Monarchs" - Book Review

 Sherlock Holmes pastiche short story poster image screensaver wallpaper pic review recap blog

Having enjoyed Anthony Horowitz's previous Sherlock Holmes pastiche “The House of Silk, I had high expectations for his next effort. The book under review is not a full length novel, but a short story that makes a quick and a very enjoyable read.

Readers familiar with the Sherlock Holmes Canon will be familiar with the line spoken by Sherlock Holmes to Scotland Yard Inspector Lestrade in The Adventure of the Six Napoleans: “You will remember, Watson, how the dreadful business of the Abernetty family was first brought to my notice by the depth which the parsley had sunk into the butter upon a hot day..

This short story by Horowitz deals with this aforementioned incident.

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Dr Watson has moved out of 221 B Baker Street with his recently married wife, Mary Morstan. Memories of his adventures with the Bohemian detective still haunt him. On Mary's advice, he pays a visit to the old rooms and most importantly, his former roommate and friend, Mr Sherlock Holmes.

He finds Holmes listening to a case from another Scotland Yard detective Athelney Jones. As readers might be aware, Athelney Jones has appeared in the novel The Sign of the Four.

Jones needs the Consulting Detective's help to solve the mystery behind the break in at the Abernetty's house. The intruder is shot dead by the elderly Abernetty.

The thief has stolen three china figures from the Abernettys and others. I will leave it to the readers to discover the solution for themselves.

Sherlock Holmes Sidney Paget illustration Arthur Conan Doyle story

The author is good at imitating Arthur Conan Doyle's tone and style of writing. Like most of the original stories, this one begins with Dr John Watson's voice.

Canonical References
1. Sherlock Holmes refers to the Trepoff murder - In A Scandal in Bohemia, Dr Watson states: “From time to time I heard some vague account of his doings: of his summons to Odessa in the case of the Trepoff murder, of his clearing up of the singular tragedy of the Atkinson brothers at Trincomalee, and finally of the mission which he had accomplished so delicately and successfully for the reigning family of Holland.”

2. Holmes mentions the strange behavior of Dr Moore Agar - In The Adventure of the Devil's Foot, Dr Watson writes about Dr Agar: “In March of that year Dr. Moore Agar, of Harley Street, whose dramatic introduction to Holmes I may some day recount, gave positive injunctions that the famous private agent lay aside all his cases and surrender himself to complete rest if he wished to avert an absolute breakdown.”

3. The Abernettys have inherited their house from one Mrs Matilda Briggs - In The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire, Sherlock Holmes explains: “Matilda Briggs was not the name of a young woman, Watson,...It was a ship which is associated with the giant rat of Sumatra, a story for which the world is not yet prepared.”

Despite the brief length of the story, Sherlock Holmes' powers of observation and deduction are on full display. Credit to Horowitz for making this an enjoyable experience.

Recommended read for fans of Sherlock Holmes. 

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Image Sources: Anthony Horowitz, HarperCollins Publishers

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  1. I liked House of Silk so will have to track this down. The cover mentions Moriarty. Is Horowitz doing a novel on him too? He's busy - Horowitz is having a crack at a Bond novel too!

    1. Yes, "Moriarty" is Horowtiz's upcoming Sherlock Holmes pastiche. This book contains a preview of "Moriarty". He certainly is having his hands full.