Good Night, Mr. Holmes

Monday, February 8, 2010



Good Night, Mr. Holmes
Carole Nelson Douglas, 1990

(Some Spoilers)


I wanted to like this book, and I sort of did.  I guess I just wasn't swept away by it due to, well, knowing the entire story (more or less) beforehand.  This novel introduces Ms. Douglas's version of Irene Adler (who stars in at least 7 more books, according to the inside flap), and covers the time leading up to and covering the events of "A Scandal in Bohemia".  I think I'm glad that I wrote my mini-dissertation on Adler before reading this book, given that we come to many of the same conclusions.

This Irene is worldly but not promiscuous, a musician first and foremost, briefly believed in the possibility of marriage with the King of Bohemia, only to have those romantic hopes firmly dashed.  The King is presented as a spoiled man-child, who leads Irene on, only to be furious when she declines the offer to become his mistress.

Holmes' admiration for (but no romantic attraction to) Irene is made quite clear.

So the book is basically the story from her perspective. 

Except that also she's a bit of a sleuth.  And furnished with a more proper-minded narrator/sidekick.

I knew this going into the book, so I thought that I was ready, but I just didn't buy it, entirely.  Douglas made Irene a little too much Holmes' equal, for my taste.  Not that she shouldn't be as smart as, or smarter, than he, but here and there the methodology overlapped too much.

Not to mention the thoroughly odd early encounter with Jefferson Hope, and the sub-plot, when both Adler and Holmes are set on the trail of some missing French diamonds.  It's just... doesn't quite all hang, for me.  It's not a bad book, it's well written, the narrator is fine, the canon-meshing with "Scandal" is... 97 percent there, although occasionally awkward.

Maybe I would enjoy another from the series more, now that she's moved past having to agree with canon.

I do appreciate that this edition contains an interview with the author, in which she loudly airs her objections to Baring-Gould's pet Holmes/Adler theory (future affair, child, etc...).  If nothing else had endeared me to this book, I do appreciate Douglas making Godfrey Norton a nice guy and an unconventional gentleman, their marriage one of affection as well as convenience.  I get the sense that he appears in the later books, much as a occasionally seen but supportive wife might in another series.  Nice.

3 Stars - A Good Book

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