Friday, 25 September 2015

Mycroft Holmes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse

We all know of the infamous Sherlock Holmes but his older brother Mycroft lacks a lot of the literary spotlight. This historical crime fiction offering with Mycroft Holmes as the lead comes from the joint penmanship of NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and professional screenwriter Anna Waterhouse. 

Fresh out of University, Mycroft is well on his way to carving out a decent life for himself. He has secured a position working for the British government and foresees a bright future involving a nice house and fair haired children with his beautiful fiancée Georgiana, who he is head over heels in love with. 

He also has a very companionable friendship with tobacconist Cyrus Douglas, a man of African descent who hails from Trinidad, where Georgiana was also raised. 

When both Cyrus and Georgiana hear troubling news from home of seemingly supernatural deaths of children, Georgiana abruptly leaves for Trinidad. Mycroft, accompanied by Cyrus swiftly follows and the pair soon become embroiled in a dangerous scandal that goes much further than the initial deaths they first thought they were dealing with. 

As much as I enjoy Sherlock Holmes stories, Sherlock is not the kind of character you can instantly warm to, and his brief appearances in this novel illustrate that point wonderfully. Mycroft has the great powers of deductions, quick mind and touch of arrogance that Sherlock is portrayed to have but he is much more likeable. 

Cyrus is very much a grounding character in this story, strong yet gentle natured; he balances out the impulsiveness of young Mycroft. Cyrus being black introduces the issue of race into the story and I liked the two men's relationship in the tale, despite the views of society. 

I enjoyed the mix of locations in this novel. From the chilly city of Victorian London across the sea to exotic Trinidad, Mycroft and Cyrus sniff out the mystery they have become so caught up in. It is quite a personal journey that Mycroft goes on, as well as a physical one, and he is definitely changed at the end of things. 

There were some really great characters in this tale, and although for me, the plot got a little complex in the middle, once Mycroft has unravelled the most of the puzzle, everything eventually settles into place. There is good humour to this tale, as well as a good old-fashioned crime conundrum to be solved and I really hope there is more in store for Mycroft and Cyrus from this talented writing duo. 

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