Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Great Detective by Delia Sherman (2016)

http://www.tor.com/2016/02/17/the-great-detective-delia-sherman/

This is a short story I downloaded into my Kindle from Tor.com.  It's a clever (but not particularly witty) steampunk take on Sherlock Holmes.  There is a spunky, likable heroine, a Welsh ghost, a Victorian aristocratic inventor, and Mycroft Holmes.  Great fun.

I think I've read some Delia Sherman before - I certainly know the name - but what and when that was, I do not recall. She has a likable, uncomplicated style; her steampunk London has some rich details that bring it to life.  Also, the various nods to steampunk are both broad (automatons galore) and subtle (for example, Morris wallpaper called "Bird and Gear," which I had to google - it's a play on Morris wallpapers from the era called "Bird and Pomengranate").  There is quite possibly a longer novel at work behind the scenes here; without giving too much away, the ending seems  to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

For being such a fan of Sherlock Holmes, it continues  to amaze that I've never actually read a Sherlock Holmes story by Arthur Conan Doyle.  Many years ago, I read and enjoyed Laurie King's The Beekeeper's Apprentice.  I've loved the modern Sherlock, with the contemporary versions of the classic stories.  Last summer, I saw and liked the Ian McKellen vehicle Mr. Holmes.  I remember fondly Star Trek: The Next Generation holodeck Sherlock Holmes stories.  But actually reading an original story - still on my bucket list.

The Great DetectiveThe Great Detective by Delia Sherman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sherman has a likable, compact and uncomplicated writing style. Her steampunk London described in this short story was rich in detail, lively, and clever (but not witty). The various nods to steampunk are both broad (automatons galore) and subtle (for example, Morris wallpaper called "Bird and Gear," which I had to google - it's a play on Morris wallpapers from the era called "Bird and Pomengranate"). There is quite possibly a longer novel at work behind the scenes here; without giving too much away, the ending seems to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.


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