05 February, 2015

#BookReview :: Sherlock Holmes, The Missing Years: Japan by Vasudev Murthy

It's 1893. King Kamehameha III of Hawaii declares Sovereignty Restoration Day ... Tension grows between China and Japan over Korea ... The Bengal Famine worsens ... A brilliant scientist in Calcutta challenges the system … The senior priest at Kyoto's Kinkaku-ji temple is found dead in mysterious circumstances. Dr John H. Watson receives a strange letter from Yokohama. Then the quiet, distinguished Mr. Hashimoto is murdered inside a closed room on a voyage from Liverpool to Bombay. 

In the opium dens of Shanghai and in the back alleys of Tokyo, sinister men hatch evil plots. Professor Moriarty stalks the world, drawing up a map for worldwide dominion. Only one man can outwit the diabolical Professor Moriarty. Only one man can save the world. Has Sherlock Holmes survived the Reichenbach Falls? 

In a seriocomic novel that radically ups the ante, Sherlock Holmes and Watson find their match in more than one man (or indeed, woman) as a clock inexorably ticks. History, mystery, romance, conspiracies, knife-edge tension; a train in Russia, roadside crime in Alexandria, an upset stomach in Bombay, careening through Cambodia, nasty people in China, monks in Japan-here's a thrilling global chase that will leave you breathless (occasionally with laughter) as the Sherlock Holmes: The Missing Years series begins. 

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After Ted Riccardi, Donald Thomas and my favourite Anthony Horowitz’s adaptations of Sherlock Holmes, Vasudev Murthy is the fourth author whose version of Sherlock Holmes I have picked up. I have been disappointed before and have even enjoyed the other versions of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. But still I did not know what to expect from this book when I picked it up… Should I have expected something close to the original or something totally different? Well, now that I have read this book, I can hopefully give you some ideas about what to expect from Vasudev Murthy’s version.

The book, as the title suggests, picks up from after the incident at the Reichenbach Falls and goes on to recount the stories from the time when Sherlock Holmes was deemed to be dead. The setting of the book is mainly based in the handful countries of the Asian subcontinent. It spans over a number of countries and a number of mysteries. While the author has stuck real close to A.C.D with his characterization of Holmes and Watson, the mystery part felt a bit below par there. Don’t get me wrong, they are just fine, and we do get to see Sherlock use his considerable skills and deductive prowess. It is just that they were nothing as grand as one would expect, especially since Moriarty is involved. 

The author seems to have great knowledge of, or has at least done considerable amount of research into, the Japanese culture. He has infused a great deal of Asian culture into the story that we have not yet seen from any version of Sherlock Holmes. Also, Vasudev Murty has presented the novel is a very easy to get into narrative style with the exact right amount of details. His descriptions help the reader picturise each setting. The best part of the book still remains the fact that the character of Holmes and Watson and their voices remain uncannily close to the original.

A good, entertaining book that has ensured the fact that I will be looking out for more from this author.

Review Copy received from NetGalley


  1. Wow! I will definitely be looking out for this one! Thanks!

  2. Hi... Thank You for writing a review on this book. I have been reading the books of Sherlock Holmes ever since my school days and have always loved them till date :)

  3. It's a book I will surely look out for! Thanks for the review