While I am a fan of Sherlock Holmes pastiches, I must admit I have a soft place in my heart for stories that are based on other characters in the canon. There’s an interesting series for young adults that deals with Mycroft Holmes’ daughter and Irene Adler that is really good as well as the ever popular Enola Holmes.
But I have a soft spot for Sherlock Holmes’ smarter, older brother, Mycroft Holmes. First introduced in Arthur Conan Doyle’s story The Greek Interpreter, he is described by Sherlock as having abilities and deduction prowess that exceeds Sherlock’s but doesn’t have the desire to do anything with it. He is mentioned as being the British Government once as well. He was described by Dr. Watson was being a large, stout fellow who has a routine and hardly ever wavers from it.
Is it any wonder why people are so fascinated to see what this enigmatic man was like when he was younger?
Several books have been written about him, including a three book series by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (yes, that one) and Anna Waterhouse. But the one I’m discussing today is a 1979 book from Playboy Press Paperbacks called Enter the Lion. Written by Michael Hodel and Sean Wright, the book is listed as a posthumous memoir of a time in a younger Mycroft Holmes’ life before he was the British Government. It foreshadows several people: Victor Trevor, Lestrade, Sherlock Holmes, and the Moriarty’s, including that one Professor that will end up being the arch nemesis for the Great Detective.
The story takes place in 1875 when Mycroft is still working as an assistant for the Foreign Office. He unwittingly is caught up in a plot by a group of Americans that are enlisting the assistance of Mycroft’s boss to have England bankroll an attempt to restart the Civil War by capturing President Grant and forcing him to declare the U.S. under the South’s rule. While Mycroft is beguiled by the young Rachel Leland, he is joined by his brother and his brother’s friend Victor Trevor, both home from University, in an entangled mystery that will impact all of the their lives in the future.
The story is older, a little over 40 years old but it still holds up after all this time, and it’s a fun read. It’s refreshing to see a mystery solved by by someone else than the Great Detective. It’s interesting to see Mycroft Holmes as a younger man, before his sedentary days at the Diogenes Club, to see a university Sherlock Holmes, young and wayward in his ambitions. It’s like having the curtain pulled back just a bit to see the lives of beloved characters and how they were before they were famous. If you love the pastiches, this is a good story to pick up. Perfect for those cold nights yet to come.
January is nearly over friends and February is right around the corner. Which means it’s time for some romances! Tune in next month for some musings revolving around this romantic month as well as more reviews. They seem to be cooking related.
Stay warm friends and as always, grab your favorite throw, a warm drink and a good book.