Friday, November 2, 2007

Good Night, Mr. Holmes

I had a mommy night out last night, went to the library and got some books. This was was pretty good. I read it all last night. It is amazing what having some time to myself does for my mood and motivation.
This was a sort of spin-off book. It is based in the world of Sherlock Holmes. The author took the story A Bohemian Affair by Arthur Conan Doyle and then wrote a novel expanding the character of Holmes's opposite in the story. I don't stay opponent because it wasn't that confrontational but she outwitted Holmes in the story, which is unusual.
You have to be a pretty confident, or clueless, writer to take on something as venerated as Sherlock Homes, but I think she did a pretty good job. It wasn't something that will be saved as wisdom of the ages or anything but a nice story, interestingly told. I found it a bit far-fetched in some aspects but that is par for the course.
I think a lot of writers choose the late Victorian period to write in because issues that are of interest to people today were just starting to develop and it is much easier to write a period novel and leave out the sex, language and violence that peppers today's novels. I think that is why Anne Perry writes Victorian mystery novels. She is LDS and she can talk about a lot of issues with compromising principles. I know that there is a lot of pressure from the publishing business arm to put that so-called "crowd-pleasing" stuff in and period novels can avoid this.
Not to say that they all do, but I think that it is one sanctuary for authors, so I read this kind pretty often, along with other "sanctuary genres" like Young Adult and Science-Fiction and Fantasy, (the safety value of these has declined dramatically but they seem easier to sort) and Middle-Age Woman mysteries (the ones with recipes and pets featured prominently). Though I really can only read the last category when I am feeling brain dead or while pregnant (though those two are synonymous) because they are incredibly formulaic.

Good Night, Mr. Holmes. Carole Nelson Douglas. Tor. 1990

1 comment:

jenny said...

I went to the library yesturday too. So I'm reading three at the same time because I'm starving literally :) The Tent by Margaret Atwood, Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream by Jennifer Ackerman (so far the sex is at bay, this deals with human biology which is the focus of my current psychology course) and I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. I'm quite enjoying the latter.

We read for such different reasons, so what we read is very different. I'm not into mysteries, they make me tense and I read through the story too quickly.
I don't know Sherlock Holmes well enough to appreciate this particular book I'm afraid.