Whether it’s the Great Detective himself… or a descendant
By Jeff Salter
Did I say “descendant”… of the confirmed bachelor, Holmes?
Well, read on.
I’m reviewing a book for Hound Day this week… and I selected a terrific one.
I’ve long been a fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s unbeatable fictional hero, Sherlock Holmes, and I eagerly gobble up any book or film I can find (that deals with him). So I was delighted to stumble upon this title by my friend, the talented author, Gail R. Delaney.
Some of you will remember Gail from when she was CEO of Desert Breeze Publishing. Others know her mainly as a best-selling author, currently working with an exclusive imprint, Irish Eyes Books. Perhaps some will know Gail better as the “mom” of the beautiful dog, Tommy.
MI6 Officer Grayson Holmes carries on his shoulders the weight of a daunting legacy, and on his heart the weight of a devastating loss. His lineage has gifted him with a mind designed to see the gossamer threads others cannot; he is both blessed and cursed. His name has brought admiration, disbelief, even scorn… and now, a far deadlier threat.
Kipling Branson lives a perfectly normal, perfectly content existence filled with family, friends, work, and her doctorate studies. Never would she have contemplated a simple malfunction in her hearing aids would be the catalyst for not only saving her life, but set off a course of events that would change her life in ways she never imagined.
Grayson went to Boston at his director’s request to open communication channels in the intelligence community, but before he can return home to London he barely escapes death in an explosion that kills a dozen university students. A chain of events leads him on a hunt to determine who wants him dead, and why, with perhaps the most intriguing question being how the beautiful Kipling Branson is involved.
I’m not sure why it took me nearly two years to spot Gail’s 2018 novel, “My Dear Branson; Baker Street Legacy Book One”. But I’m glad I did. In my numerous contacts with books or film featuring Holmes, it’s always been understood he was a fictional character… even though he’s always seemed larger than life to me. Well, Gail tweaks the Holmes universe by allowing that Sherlock was a real-life individual. Yep… you heard me. But his legend is so overpowering that many people – in Gail’s new universe – still think of Sherlock as a fictional character. So there are many characters in this story who encounter Grayson Holmes and simply cannot comprehend that he’s the actual GREAT-GRANDSON of the famed detective! Yep… you heard me. At some point in the past (outside the context of this novel) Sherlock gave up his bachelor ways and married. And that happy couple had one or more male children. And that male offspring married and had a son. That son married and had Grayson. [This genealogy is better explained in Volume Two of the series.]
But Sherlock married? With kids and grandkids… and more? Maybe I should let the author herself explain it: “If a Holmes fan asks, I refer to Sherlock’s later life and family as part of his ‘retirement to the country to keep bees’ referenced in the Conan Doyle books.” Betcha you never imagine Sherlock’s bee-keeping would include a late run at romance and marriage!
Do you think Grayson inherited a lot of his grandfather’s deductive powers and self-discipline? You betcha. In fact, Grayson is a highly regarded member of MI-6 (with an indulgent boss and a devoted team).
Temporarily on loan to an American intelligence outfit in Boston, Grayson is a British fish out of water. Boston ain’t London. And these American agents don’t take kindly to what they view as the “interference” of a foreigner — particularly one who seems a bit too confident (perhaps even haughty).
So Grayson isn’t likely to make many close friends in Boston… especially if some of those American colleagues are behaving suspiciously. Do they act that way because they resent Grayson… and have closed ranks? Or is something else going on? That’s what Grayson has to find out, and his stay in Boston will become considerably more complicated than the fairly straightforward initial assignment of establishing “coordination.”
He’s hardly begun his assigned efforts in Boston before a horrific incident brings him together with the lovely Kipling Branson — and from that moment on, neither one of them is safe.
So it’s a race against time to find out who is behind that initial attack… and why. And it seems there are no holds barred in what sinister means the villain is willing to employ.
Along the way of the ups and downs of the primary plot, we also get to see a tender, romantic side of Grayson — as unaccustomed to him as it is to the reader familiar with Grayson’s great-grandfather. Miss Branson is not Grayson’s first involvement with the fair sex, however — Grayson has been around that block before.
At intervals throughout this novel, Grayson sends text messages to the account of a beloved cousin, who lost his life in a previous operation back home. Not that Grayson expects a dead man to reply, of course, but it’s easier (and more therapeutic) for him to unburden his soul to deceased kin than to a paid Boston counselor.
This novel works fine as a stand-alone, but the author also leaves us with a delicious cliff-hanger which makes it essential that we locate Book Two as soon as possible!
Gail is the author of at least 18 books, which you can find here:
Check out Gail’s sites:
[JLS # 510]