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Linda Hilton

Reader, Writer, Merciless Reviewer and Incurable Romantic

Currently reading

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Halloween Bingo - Darkest London - Should never have seen the light of day

The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes: A Mystery (The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes Mysteries) - Leonard Goldberg



Disclosure:  I read a digital copy of this book through my public library's eCloud Library program.  Therefore, page numbers cited in this review may not reflect pages from either print or other digital editions.


First of all, as mentioned in a previous status, The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes was a crushing bore.  That did allow me to skim without losing track of the story, but it did not make this an enjoyable read.


Charles Harrelston dies in a fall from a building, but the determination of suicide is questionable.  Then enter the cast of cardboard characters, flimsy resurrections of the originals from Conan Doyle:  Dr. John Watson, Jr., who is accompanied by the original Dr. Watson; Mrs. Joanna Blalock, widowed mother of young Johnnie who was an eyewitness to Harrelston's death; Inspector Lestrade, son of the original.  Dr. Watson still resides at 221b Baker Street, where the housekeeper is Miss Hudson, daughter of the estimable Mrs. Hudson who kept the place for the late Sherlock Holmes.  Joanna Blalock is soon revealed by Dr. Watson, Sr., to Dr. Watson, Jr., to be the daughter of Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler.  Also brought on stage is Toby Two, descendant of the dog in The Sign of the Four.  And probably a few others.


How unimaginative!


Joanna Blalock, the daughter of the title, is every bit as much a boring arrogant prig as her father.  Though trained as a surgical nurse, she shows no real humanity.  I expected the writer would have created a new character for her, something to differentiate her from her father's cold smugness, but nope, she's just a much an asshole as he was.  (If there was any description of her marriage and what led her to actually have enough sex with her husband to produce a child, I must have skimmed it.)


Watson Junior of course is INSTANTLY attracted to her.  (rolls eyes)


Oh, her 10-year-old son Johnnie is a smart ass, too.


Though the Amazon listing says the book is set in 1914, it's not.  It's set in 1910, though what time of year isn't clear.  In one scene they're walking in the park in mild, sunny weather, in another it's frosty and cold.  Although there are plenty of place names mentioned, there's really not much London atmosphere described.


The plot is boring and was very similar to the aforementioned Sign of the Four.  Four military buddies acquire a treasure and devise a code to communicate about it.  Charles Harrelston is the first of the buddies to die.  He's soon followed by another.


The medical detail was excessive -- shades of an author showing off research into 1910 medical procedures -- to the point of obscuring the drama.  The book could easily have been reduced to novella length.  Again, I skimmed and skimmed and skimmed, mainly in search of the mystery.


There's little to indicate that this is early 20th century London.  No mention of the technological advances is made until perhaps the latter third of the novel.  Transportation is all done by carriage, with no mention of motorized vehicles until Ch. 18 (pg 196)



but it comes without observation.  I was expecting some comment from Watson Sr. regarding the changes in London from the days when he and Sherlock were doing the detecting, but there was nothing.


Same with the telephone, which received (unless I skimmed others) one brief mention.


And one would think that the development of the electrocardiogram machine would have brought some discussion, but it, too, was just mentioned in passing.



Lights were turned down in the rooms at 221b Baker street, suggesting the residence was still lit by gas; there were no references to electric lights.  Again, maybe that was in all the stuff that I skimmed.


Use of the slang term loo was jarring, regardless whether it originated well after 1910 -- one reference suggests it wasn't in common use until the 1940s -- or earlier.  Worse, however, was the use of the work "check" when the English "cheque" would have established the atmosphere a great deal better, and the awkward reference to the terms of nurse and sister.



Over-written, over-long, over-hyped, this was a monstrous disappointment.  Not at all recommended.  The only really good line in the whole book:



And the worst?