Rating: 4.25 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel


Andrew Thomas is a 40-year-old scholar of Sherlock Holmes and has built an unremarkable career as a university lecturer on the topic. He’s also awkward, has social anxiety, and is a borderline misanthrope. So, it was easy for Andrew’s department chair to fire him. He has one true friend, Mina, who puts up with his anachronistic dress and overall germaphobic and agoraphobic fussiness.

Andrew has a lot of buried secrets, including his sexuality, and is awaiting the news on his health, as lung cancer is suspected. When Andrew goes out for drinks, he ends up saving the life of a beautiful young man, Matt, he encountered earlier in the day. The trauma triggers a series of delusions where Andrew begins to see and hear Sherlock Holmes haranguing him to solve his own case. What case? Andrew wonders, but he won’t deny his literary hero the chance to solve one more mystery.

This deeply introspective novel digs into Andrew’s deepest fears after a lifetime filled with mediocrity. He’s disappointed himself, his ex-wife, his family, and most recently Mina. Andrew is a quirky character, one who seems just one more disappointment away from complete collapse. I was fully invested when his life just got worse. Andrew’s character is the kind of sad that gives one secondhand embarrassment, but also the hope for better. I adored Andrew’s journey to the bottom of his psyche, spurred on by a ruthless Holmes and a furtive Watson. I felt immersed in London, personal catastrophe, and Sherlock–but not the modern version.

I really loved the escapist quality of the writing, that knowledge that Sherlock wasn’t there, but such a palpable presence as to be undeniable. When Andrew is at his lowest, that’s when he embraces his faults and finally begins to fight and grow and change his pattern of tiptoeing through the world. Andrew begins this story afraid to draw attention to himself in any manner but what he shapes. He’s created a character of himself, and he’s not happy with the results. Meeting Matt is a jolt, an awakening, and their dramatic shared experience fuels Andrew’s quest to survive. The love story is quiet, but powerful. I laughed whenever Sir Elton gave Andrew what-for, on Matt’s behalf.

This book reveals a depth of knowledge of Sherlock Holmes that is a bit frightening, and yet felt genuine to the core. I sank into this book like a fleece blanket and enjoyed every moment of its disquieting madness.