Monday, March 24, 2014

Review - "Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of Einstein's Daughter"

The name Albert Einstein is known the world over, much like Sherlock Holmes. It is therefore unusual that a pastiche featuring the world's greatest detective and the world's foremost scientist has never come to light - that is until now. Tim Symonds' latest Sherlock Holmes novel, The Mystery of Einstein's Daughter at last features these two legendary figures together.

Dr. Watson is given an offer he cannot refuse - to photograph Sherlock Holmes standing on the precipice of the Reichenbach Falls, the site of his struggle with Professor Moriarty. As Watson cajoles Holmes into the trip, they must face the wrath of a vengeful Colonel Sebastian Moran, Moriarty's former right-hand man. Though the two manage to elude Moran and his gun-toting henchmen, the plot is about to thicken. Holmes and Watson are approached by the Dean of a prestigious Swiss university to investigate a promising young scientist named Albert Einstein. Two letters have been intercepted which Einstein wrote, one referring to a mysterious person named Lieserl. Who could this person be and what connection do they have to Einstein's life. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson shall journey throughout Europe in their quest for the truth, and will plunge into a world far darker and far more complex than either could ever contemplate.

I must heartily congratulate author Tim Symonds on his writing. The Mystery of Einstein's Daughter is his third Sherlock Holmes pastiche, the other two I have yet to read, but if they are like this one, they should make for some interesting reading. Symonds' research into his subjects was terrific, weaving in Sherlockian and historical knowledge into the plot. Reading The Mystery of Einstein's Daughter was not only presenting a fine mystery, but a learning experience,and a fine showcase into the situation of turn-of-the-century Europe. Symonds' prose must also be mentioned as he managed to capture the tone of Doyle's writing very well, though perhaps incorporated a few too many (for the lack of better words) big words.

In terms of canon, the book fared quite well - the presentation of Dr. Watson should be specially noted. Sherlock Holmes was presented as the intellectual great of Doyle's originals, but in my mind he did not do enough actual detective work to truly astound me. Other canon figures turned up as well, most notably Colonel Moran, who even after his only canonical appearance is still out to claim the life of the great detective. Another canon villain, whose name I shall not divulge, makes a far too brief cameo and his inclusion, though a nice nod the short stories, did not serve much of a purpose.

The plot of Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of Einstein's Daughter was complex enough and surprisingly dark, but lacked in the dramatic department. With a title like The Mystery of Einstein's Daughter any revelations about a mysterious, unidentified person, aren't truly revelations. The fact that some historical details are presented in the author's forward also dispel some of that all-important mystery, so in essence the solution was presented even before Holmes and Watson embarked on their case!

That is not to say Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of Einstein's Daughter was a disappointing read. With its complex plot and excellent research, the novel made for an interesting historical mystery. The presentation of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson was well-done, some of the best in recent memory. I therefore give The Mystery of Einstein's Daughter 3.5 out of 5 possible stars.

***

Sherlock Holmes and The Mystery of Einstein’s Daughter is available from all good bookstores including   Amazon USA,Amazon UKWaterstones UK, and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository . In ebook format it is in Amazon KindleKoboNook and Apple iBooks (iPad/iPhone).

1 comment:

  1. Nick, many thanks for this much appreciated review of my new novel, 'Sherlock Holmes And The Mystery of Einstein's Daughter'. I have taken your comments to heart and the publisher is letting me adjust the text for a new edition (the miracle of modern publishing!). I also had a review which pointed out Munich, unlike Ulm, Einstein's birthplace, is not in Swabia, so in the new text I have hurriedly moved Munich across the border from Swabia.
    I'm now starting on my fourth Sherlock, also set in my own and Holmes's comfort zone, the Edwardian period. At the request of Britain's Foreign Minister Sir Edward Grey, Holmes and Watson are sent on the newly-launched HMS Dreadnought to Stamboul where the mighty Sword of Osman has gone missing. Does its disappearance mean a coup against Sultan Abdul Hamid is in the offing? What implications are there for the British Empire? And what devious role is Holmes's brother Mycroft playing behind the scenes?

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