About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Mycroft Holmes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse

(39. - 1064.) Mycroft Holmes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse - In 1870 Mycroft has just started his career in the Secretary of War’s Office and Sherlock is yet a student.

Mycroft is a handsome young man with a powerful intellect and a comparable ego. He brazenly addresses the Cambridge rowing team on how to break a 9 year losing streak in their annual race with Oxford. Backing his words with his money he places a significant bet upon the Cantabrigians. When, of course, he is successful he celebrates the win in style with the finest Cuban cigar and the finest French Armganac at the shop of his friend, Cyrus Douglas.

The money will build his marriage fund. When I learned Mycroft was engaged to the lovely Georgiana I almost gasped aloud. Even if the book had been less than splendid I would have had to read it in full to learn what happened to the relationship. I do not recall from Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories any hint of romance about Mycroft.

When his beloved learns that mysterious deaths involving the supernatural are occurring on her home island of Trinidad she feels compelled to return there.

Mycroft, disconsolate over her departure, manipulates his superior Sir Edward Cardwell, into sending him to Trinidad to investigate purported racial unrest upon the island.

Joining him is his good friend, Douglas, another Trinidadian. The dark skinned Douglas, a man “in his middle years”, takes the guise of a servant to Mycroft. As much as any mortal can be a partner to a Holmes, he works with Mycroft.

I was disturbed when they left London. Too many stories have faltered when their sleuths leave home. Most books are better with the sleuth interacting with the characters and the environment where they are resident.

Yet Mycroft finds fascinating opportunities aboard ship to exercise his deductive skills. It is a subtle adversary who uses poison to incapacitate rather than kill.

His eidetic memory provides him with boundless information for analysis.

Mycroft’s plans to aid Georgiana go awry in a completely unexpected way. The shock is beyond his comprehension. Even his vaunted intellect struggles to understand what is happening. Mycroft has emotions. I doubt Sherlock was ever afflicted with Mycroft’s doubts.

Douglas is no mere able aide. He calms Mycroft in times of agitation and provides solid advice. He is far more an equal than Watson. Were the book written 125 years ago I doubt Douglas would have been given such an intellect. An assistant to a Holmes in Victorian times would have been assigned a lesser role in the relationship with their sleuth.

In Trinidad the intrepid duo find an evil conspiracy I had not anticipated. It is all too credible.

There is a dramatic confrontation that has more violence than needed but consistent with the American tendency to Hollywood. At the same time there is a satisfying use of logic and deduction by Mycroft to solve the conspiracy. Less violence would have made the book perfect.

In a few deft passages Mycroft sets up aspects of Sherlock’s life.

The pages glide by smoothly. There are plausible twists in the plot. I will read more of the series. Abdul-Jabbar and Waterhouse are a skilled team of Holmesians.


  1. Now, that's an interesting take on the Holmes stories, Bill. It's not one I would have thought of, to tell you the truth, and even though I don't care much for follow-ons as a rule, I do think this one's intriguing. I never read, either, of Mycroft Holmes having a romance, so that angle is innovative. Hmm...I may have to try this.

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. It is indeed an intriguing book. The Mycroft of Abdul-Jabbar and Waterhouse is a complex character.