I don’t generally like the Sherlock Holmes pastiche. Sometimes it’s solid or good enough, but most of the time, there’s something missing. I tend to find this true of any kind of pastiche writing, especially when it’s mystery writers, but with Sherlock Holmes, there’s so much of it, and so much of it is bad. It’s obviously either novel or off-kilter or something about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar writing this book, and of course, it’s endlessly endearing that he would be so much of a Holmes fan that he would want to write his own series of novels, and even more so being interested in the Mycroft.
That it’s Mycroft at the center makes this book worthwhile. There’s still kinks to work out, and I have high hopes for the future books as a consequence. Our plot here involves Mycroft Holmes, older brother to Sherlock, at 23 setting off into the world. As Sherlock is a master of mystery, science, problem solving, and tobacco, Mycroft’s computer-like brain is more geared to toward politics and government service, as we well know from his limited appearances in the Doyle stories. He’s drawn to Trinidad, where he’s told of curious and alarming things happening. It happens that his new fiance is also from the Caribbean, so he’s further drawn to figure out what’s happening. It’s much earlier than the Sherlock stories, so it’s a very different world, and we’re often taken well out of London.
The most notable and funny part of everything here is that our narrator keeps calling him Holmes, which is both accurate, but also a little pointed.