Reviewing Another Sherlockian Book

Well, One of Sherlock’s Progeny

By Jeff Salter

If you, as I do, love nearly anything Sherlockian… you’re willing to believe that such a fascinating character could well have been an actual human being. From there it’s only a few steps to believe that the brilliant Victorian-era detective eventually retired to the country to keep bees. If you can accept that Holmes was real and that he had a life after his fascinating detective career… then it’s just one more step to rationalize that the long-confirmed-bachelor Sherlock later married and had a son to carry on his name and legacy. Sherlock’s son had a son and a daughter. That son was the father of Grayson Holmes (one of this volume’s main characters) and Grayson’s two sisters. Sherlock’s granddaughter had a son named Greg McQueen. Therefore, Grayson and Greg are first cousins, of course.

Well, now that you’ve accepted all those details (and Sherlock’s genealogy), it’s hardly a further stretch to believe Grayson is himself a brilliant detective, working with MI-6 in England. In Vol. 1, Grayson was still mourning the recent death of his cousin Greg (during a previous MI-6 operation). But more importantly, in that first installment, Grayson met Kipling Branson and fell in love.

Yep, you heard me. Grayson Holmes, who shares the intellectual prowess of his great-grandfather Sherlock, fell head-over-heels in love. Now this was not Grayson’s first rodeo with the fairer sex… so he differs from his presumably (mostly) celibate great-grandfather in that regard.

The Empty Chair
Baker Street Legacy Book Two
By Gail R. Delaney

Blurb [from Amazon]

Four generations past, Sherlock Holmes and Charles Augustus Howell were enemies. Their story was played out in the novels written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a story believed to be complete fiction until recently.
But every bit of it was true, if not for the occasional touch of author creative license, and while both Sherlock and Charles Augustus have been dead for decades, the hatred on the part of the Howell family has remained… and now plays out in a game of revenge between Langdon Howell and MI6 Officer Grayson Oliver Sherlock Holmes. Howell has twisted truths, taken lives, and machinated outcomes with the ultimate goal of finding retribution. His games in Boston turned on him, and rather than breaking Grayson… Grayson found something better. Love. With Kipling Branson.
Life is never “normal” for an officer of the SIS, which is why many officers reject the idea of a family. In the months since the death of his cousin, a man closer to him than a brother, Grayson has found himself wishing more for normal and less for the solitary, sometimes heartbreaking life of an officer. With Kipling, he might have a chance. But the game isn’t over. What should have been a peaceful holiday for Kipling spent learning to share a life and a common space with Grayson, turns into yet another life or death series of riddles… with Grayson’s life the final prize.

My Review

Vol. 1 was mostly set in Boston, where Grayson goes to consult on a case. There he mourns his departed cousin, meets Kipling, falls in love, and rescues her from a horrid villain.
Vol. 2 crosses the ocean back to England, mostly in the country, but eventually to London where things heat up, plot-wise.

Some time back, the Holmes family purchased Sherlock’s 221B Baker Street lodgings, along with an adjoining property. Some aspects of that dwelling/office remain as they were during Sherlock’s occupancy… while other spaces show Grayson’s own touch. Since we’re accepting that Sherlock was a real person, it’s easy enough to believe his lodgings also existed exactly as depicted in the numerous stories. The author described these lodgings in such detail that I wondered if she’d actually been there and taken photos. She says no. [In an article on this part of the Sherlock saga, you’ll learn that the Baker Street block which would have contained 221B didn’t even exist in the time of Sir Arthur Conon Doyle’s writing / publishing.]

After a severe injury, Grayson is heading back “home” (in the country) to attend the wedding of his sister. There awaits a huge surprise (which I can’t reveal). But business at the MI6 office is also heating up and won’t wait until Grayson’s “vacation” days are over.

Remember me mentioning that Grayson was previously involved with a different woman in London? Well, guess who shows up at an inopportune moment! Yep… the ex. And that’s bad news for a couple of reasons (which I cannot reveal here).

We soon meet a diabolical villain – NOT Morarity, BTW – with a tenuous grip on sanity – the arch villain from Vol. 1. This story has a good deal of cat and mouse interaction with that criminal mastermind… and readers get to see whether Kipling’s own powers of detection and deduction are equal to the task that (literally) knocks her over.

Kipling maintains phone contact with her BFF back home in Boston. But Mina slowly seems to transition from supportive BFF to someone a little sour and at times even hostile. What’s that all about? For one thing, Mina has a new friend named Patti… and I’m assuming we’ll learn more about both of them in Vol. 3.

Vol. 2 can be read as a stand-alone novel, but the reader would likely be confused at several spots which refer back to people and events in the earlier story. Many of the Vol. 1 cast reappear and we also see many new faces. One of those new faces had entered the picture “back home” at some point before Vol. 2 begins. He seems much more than a friend, but not quite a potential lover — and he becomes quite involved in Kipling’s life.

Personally, I liked the first book better… and that’s partly because in this second installment Grayson spends nearly as much time kissing Kipling as he does fighting bad guys. I mean, between the two of those love-birds, I was ready to sound a whistle and tell them to rest their lips for a few minutes! Gosh, but those two can kiss. In fact, kissing – or thinking about kissing – dominates the first third of this story. But the non-romantic action heats up around the middle of Vol. 2.

My review of Vol. 1:

[JLS # 580]


About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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7 Responses to Reviewing Another Sherlockian Book

  1. I do enjoy nearly all versions of Sherlock Holmes, but for my taste, the recent and nearly constant variations of his family have annoyed me. I dare to guess some may be fine, but this is the only one that really has my interest, try as I might to like others.
    Thanks for pointing it out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      As each new tweak came out — beginning for me in the films of the early 1970s — I approached them with skepticism. But after I accepted a few tenets, I usually enjoyed the outcome.
      Interestingly, the newest BIG iteration — with Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role — is NOT to my liking. To me, it does not survive the 100-year leap in technology and societal issues.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Patricia Kiyono says:

    Interesting! Sounds a little hard-edged for my taste, but the connection to Sherlock is an interesting twist.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      Hmmm. I wouldn’t consider it hard-edged… though the cat-&-mouse stuff with the arch-villain is stressful. No telling what’s gonna happen in Vol. 3.


  3. Elaine Cantrell says:

    I’ve been a Holmes fan for a long time. It’s hard for me to get interested in some of the newer books and movies about Holmes. Didn’t Netflix do a movie about one of Sherlock’s relatives? It was a woman, and I think her name was Enola, but I don’t know for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

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