Mr. Abdul-Jabbar and Ms. Waterhouse,
Thank you for hearing my plea for more volumes in your wonderful Mycroft Holmes series. As I noted in my review of the first two novels, these books bring me such pure joy that as soon as I put one down, I regret having read so quickly. On top of that, this latest novel had me thinking that surely someone must be contemplating a movie or television series so I can enjoy the stories again in another dimension. To that end, I started casting in my head and wanted to share a few suggestions.
First of all, Sherlock is certainly coming into his own in this novel, isn’t he? His longing for independence is nevertheless mingled with deference, and dare I say dependence, on his brother. The scene where Sherlock tells Mycroft he wants to pursue “sleuthing” would be sheer delight on screen. “Strange how I fought it for so long, do you recall? That notion of being naught but a lowly detective? When all the while it was my ticket to, if not fame or even visibility, at least viability. I do believe that of all the options, it is the best possible one for me.” Sherlock exudes a mixture of logic and mischief. He’s young, but he’s mentally, though not emotionally, mature. He’s where I’m going with this: Timothée Chalamet. He’s a little older than the teenage Sherlock, but just switch out his Little Women American accent for a British one, and you’re set.
Seriously, you barely need a costume change!
By the by, I enjoyed how you created a situation in which Sherlock, by necessity, has the opportunity to pursue one arm of the mystery while Mycroft and Cyrus are busy on other fronts. It gives Sherlock the free(ish) rein he needs to grow into the detective he will someday become. He foreshadows this in his conversation with Huan: “Just as you are a cannier, more adept fighter today than you were at nineteen, I expect to be better at puzzle-solving ten years from now, or twenty.”
Speaking of Cyrus, I am pretty set on seeing Chiwetel Ejiofor in that role, so I hope that’s amenable to you. It’s not just because I want to see a shirtless Ejiofor performing martial arts, though I’m sure there’s a market for that. It’s because, number one, the guy has gravitas. Second, he radiates a combination of toughness and compassion that would serve the role of Cyrus well.
Is he about to punch you or kiss you?? You have no idea!
Cyrus is Mycroft’s moral compass, the one to point out the injustice around them, whether it’s women’s rights or the plight of immigrants, while Mycroft is busy playing on a larger stage. He takes his friend to task multiple times in this novel, such as when Mycroft suggests that Chinese foreigners are not exactly kind to females. “Foreigners are no more or less likely to abuse their wives than are Englishmen.” Cyrus says. “If you cannot fathom that a modern British man might be vicious towards his spouse, I challenge you to visit the London Hospital on any Sunday night.”
Pretty sure he’s going to punch you now.
One minor point regarding Cyrus and the plot of this novel: I have to say I felt like you put him in danger just to give him something to do. But, perhaps you are just setting up the longer game of having an ongoing villain in the series? Or perhaps you were playing the longer game of how the shirtless martial arts scene would play on TV? Either way, I’m not complaining. It just felt a bit forced.
Now I have to admit Mycroft has me stumped. I’m struggling to come up with a British actor who can play an intelligent, buttoned-up, stuffy know-it-all who suppresses his emotions.
Hang on, I’m being told that’s actually a prerequisite for being a British actor.
Nothing against Mycroft–he’s more complicated than my 1-sentence jibe would indicate. It’s nice to think of Mycroft Holmes as falling in love, and although I’ve always assumed he would remain a bachelor, a little research tells me that Doyle never stated this one way or another. Maybe there are happier days ahead for the older Holmes, though it’s hard to imagine his Machiavellian leanings being palatable to the kind-hearted woman of his dreams. At any rate, I still haven’t come up with the right actor to bring him to life, but if my fellow readers have ideas, I’ll let you know.
Thanks again for another satisfying read, and please keep them coming!