This is a very clever story in the Conan Doyle style for Holmes fans to enjoy. It is written using similar themes and settings. Many things are familiar therefore it adds a new dimension to the Holmes family as we learn about the mother and her gifts. We discover that much to Mycroft’s dismay Sherlock is an “Indifferent student” who looks like his father, while Mycroft has the blond hair and grey eyes of his mother.
The story begins with Mycroft, using his considerable powers of deduction and reasoning to coach the Cambridge rowing team (albeit briefly) for a win against Oxford. He then places a large wager and wins handsomely. We find out that Mycroft has a best friend Cyrus Douglas who was born in Trinidad. He is also engaged to Georgiana with whom he is smitten. She also was born in Trinidad.
The plot begins with the death of children on the beaches in Trinidad. The only clue by their lifeless bodies is a set of small, backwards facing footprints. Evil spirits, known as “The douen had called them out to play and the laugarou had finished them off”, or so some of the locals believed.
Both Cyrus and Georgiana are horrified by these deaths in their homeland and plan to immediately return. Even though his girlfriend insists that she will travel alone, Mycroft sails with Cyrus. They are almost immediately set upon, adding to Holmes’ woes and sea sickness.
The setting is detailed well and whether in London, or the West Indies, gives a true sense of the time and place.
After the crime is solved, we get to meet the Queen (Victoria) and Mr Brown at the races. We also meet the women, who daily at 4pm, empty their chamber pots from their first floor windows, a fact that may have saved Holmes’ life.
There are snippets of the lovely dry humour we associate with Conan Doyle, such as the man pretending to be a sailor. Mycroft instantly saw through his disguise, as the sailor spat AGAINST the wind! AS you can imagine, the author is a huge fan of Conan Doyle, and although Abdul has written ten books, this one would be very dear to his heart.
It is a natural progression for an author who has been a Holmes devotee for many years.
|Author||Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, with Anna Waterhouse|
|Publisher||Titan Publishing Group|