MAF members ended the 2018 mystery year with a Sherlockian tale with a twist: The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes by Leonard Goldberg. We found the author’s parallels to the Conan Doyle characters to be fun, and quite well done. Doyle’s Dr. Watson is now retired and his son Dr. John Watson Jr. is a doctor in the pathology department at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital. He proves to be an effective and admirable partner in crime-solving to the titular character, Joanna Blalock, the incognito daughter of Sherlock Holmes. Other characters from the mean streets side of Holmes world are also paralleled in the story. Even the dog is a descendant of Holmes favorite hound, Toby!
In the course of discussing Joanna we thought it was interesting that this author has made Joanna the namesake, and ancestor of his modern mystery series character, forensic pathologist, Joanna Blalock. And her ancestor is very well informed on all matters forensic as well. She had been a practicing nurse before her marriage and widowhood, and the way she analyzes both situations and people definitely bear a resemblance to how Holmes would have seen them. Taking it one level out, her young son looks uncannily like the young Sherlock Holmes.
While we found the author’s tendency to over-explain how Joanna has come to various conclusions to break the flow of the story, the story itself and the characters were very appealing and we felt he did an excellent job of keeping the style of the story and the attributes of the characters consistent with Doyle’s original characters. Members expressed an interest in trying other Holmes pastiches, possible Carol Nelson Douglas’ Irene Adler series, of the highly-regarded Lady Sherlock series by Sherry Thomas.
Members also found it appealing that, just like the BBC Sherlock series, this initial story involves an Afghan war.
We found reading a Sherlockian tale to be a perfect send-off to the holiday season and to end our 2018 discussion year.