Friday, October 30, 2015

Discussion for The Sherlockian

Okay, I'm going to open up discussion on the Sherlockian.  One of the things that piqued my interest about this story, was the knowledge that, although the story was purely fictional, many of the facts which it is based on are true.  I found this author's "theory" of what could have happened, not only plausible, but an enjoyable read.

I think the way it was written with how the story bounced back and forth between the modern day murder mystery and the historical story about Arthur Conan Doyle's experiences, really helped move the narrative along quickly.  The mystery was well written and not terribly confusing or bogged down with unnecessary red herrings.  (Skye and I recently had a lengthy conversation about what makes a good mystery.  For both of us, one of the hallmarks of a good mystery is that it's very simple.  The author doesn't try to mislead you or steer you in a particular direction, but instead, keeps the evidence almost unremarkable, causing you to mislead yourself.)  I did eventually figure out the answer to the modern murder mystery before they revealed it, but it was still so entertaining I didn't mind.  I particularly enjoyed the "historical" story.  (I loved that Bram Stoker was his "partner in crime" so to speak. I loved their friendship and having read both the original Dracula and much of the original Holmes canon I find the idea of their close friendship intriguing knowing the differences in their writing styles and the stories they told. It's hard to picture the somewhat old-fashioned, very outspoken and devoutly Christian Doyle, so closely aligned with the flamboyant  theater manager and author of the macabre. But their friendship is well document and one of the true facts upon which this story was based.)

Probably my favorite line in the book was when Sarah and Harold were discussing the differences in the character of Sherlock Holmes before and after the great hiatus.  Harold says something about him changed, while Sarah perceptively notes that the biggest changes or events were not those to the character of Holmes, but whatever had happened to Arthur Conan Doyle.  It was the author who had changed, not the fictional detective.  I think it's clear to anyone who has read the Sherlock Holmes canon that something traumatic must have happened to Doyle to affect the changes that we see reflected in the character of Holmes.

I wasn't as satisfied with the conclusion (throwing the book off the Falls in the company of the woman who lied and manipulated him, while he's running from the police left a few too many loose threads for my taste) but I could live with it because at least Harold finally got his answers.  At least he finally knew what had happened.

All in all, I enjoyed the story a second time.  And It did make me want to visit the Reichenbach Falls and the various Doyle properties and museums.  As well as go back and read the original Holmes stories.  I'm interested to hear your thoughts.


Cunningham Girls Book Club said...

Thank you Cali. I enjoyed this book overall. My only complaint is the lewd language used by the author, but aside from that I loved everything else about it. The double mystery aspect was new to me and I have to say, I am a fan. I loved the way both narratives intertwined so seamlessly and the way they kept the story flowing as Cali stated. Unlike Cali, I thought the ending was perfect for the reason that it did leave so many questions unanswered. Sarah and Harold have a conversation about "unsatisfying" endings (real-life vs. literature, students vs. readers, etc.) and I felt that the end Mr. Moore created portrayed just that. What shocked me most was how much of the modern murder mystery was based on actual events. I found that both startling and intriguing. A good mystery with a good story that has been well researched. Well done Graham Moore. PS - did y'all know he was only 28 when he wrote this? Wow! For a debut novel, I think it is fantastic.

Darryl and Cindy Cunningham said...

Although I finished this just after Thanksgiving, things got so buys I forgot to comment. I did enjoy the book but could have done without the few moments of awkward lewd comments and profanity. The book would have been just as good or better without them. I did like the double mystery and was proud of myself that I figured out the modern mystery before it was revealed. I actually looked up on the internet to see if he and Bram Stroker were really friends. I love that Bram plays such a pivotal role in the book. I did get a little frustrated with Harold letting Sarah manipulate him so much, but then again, for some people, that is their personality. I like the way Harold realizes he is much stronger and smarter than he believes he is, boosting his own self esteem. And I did read that the author was only 28 and this was his debut novel and was impressed. All in all I enjoyed the book very much.