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Sherlock Holmes: The Seventh Bullet

01/10/2010. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy The Further Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes: The Seventh Bullet in the USA - or Buy The Further Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes: The Seventh Bullet in the UK

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The Further Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes: The Seventh Bullet by Daniel D. Victor. pub: Titan Books. 223 page small enlarged paperback. Price: GBP 7.99 (UK), $ 9.95 (US), $11.95 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-84856-676-7.

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This is part of a series of books all re-released simultaneously this year to catch the Sherlock Holmes zeitgeist. This particular one takes Sherlock out of retirement and out of his normal stamping ground to the USA. He investigates a real life case of a journalist who was assassinated. David Graham Phillips was a classic ‘muck-raking’ journalist in early twentieth century United States. It seems the term was practically invented for him and extensively used by Theodore Roosevelt who was President at the time. Phillips was best known for his attacks on the government and produced a famous work called ‘The Treason Of The Senate’, not guaranteed to make any friends. He was shot by an assassin and the stuff of his life and death is perfect for all those conspiracy theorists out there.

Sherlock is approached by the sister of the deceased who believes there is more to the case than a simple assassination and is determined that Holmes will prove her right. As Holmes and Watson pair once again swing into action they uncover something unsavoury in the capitol.

With revived interest in Sherlock Holmes who is appearing everywhere, this book, is part of a series all with skilfully designed eye-catching cover. The books in the set are written by different authors but this one stands out as it is based on a real life case. Care has been taken to follow the style of the originals but there is an occasional lapse into modern vernacular which jars with the overall feel of the piece.

The problem with using a real case is precisely that it can never be proved. All participants are long dead. You want just enough drama to make a good novel without too much technical detail to bog it down. It also brings in real-life historical characters like Roosevelt which add some colour to the plot. On occasion, I found the story was dragging because there was too much information which the author wanted to include.

I can’t speak for others who are readers of the original stories but overall I enjoyed the recreation of the great pairing of the classic detective and his assistant. It’s a sedate adventure with the real life characters added in to mix it up. It mostly works but sometimes it turns into a history lesson with some travelogue thrown in. The story has some good highlights but while it is an enjoyable read it is mostly in the journey rather than its arrival point.

Sue Davies

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