"I might surprise a confession" [DYIN]
Re-imagining the Holmesian canon is an effort that can lead to mixed results: move in one direction, and you have the brilliance of the BBC's Sherlock; another direction might provide more mixed results. However, Kieran Lyne's The Last Confession of Sherlock Holmes (published by MX Publishing) belongs in the former category - a heady mix of re-imagining and re-contextualizing that provides a gripping read and a strong addition to any Sherlockian bookshelf. (Amazon US | Amazon UK)
Admittedly, the first few chapters can be a challenge, related from a variety of perspectives and often reframing events from stories in the canon (such as "The Adventure of the Final Problem" and "A Scandal in Bohemia." Although the use of multiple narratives early on is a bit daunting, The Last Confession of Sherlock Holmes picks up with Watson's recounting of a great lost case....a case in which Sherlock Holmes aids Inspector Abberline in tracking down the notorious Jack the Ripper.
Matching Holmes with the Ripper has been presented in a variety of media (most notably, the film Murder by Decree), but The Last Confession of Sherlock Holmes takes the concept even further, combining Victorian gaslight detection with a hint of political intrigue. Mixing both historical and fictional figures, Lyne's story is a well-paced, well-plotted tale that does Conan Doyle's work proud. Without revealing plot points, the true identity of Jack the Ripper (in the context of The Last Confession of Sherlock Holmes) makes almost perfect sense, and never feels like a cheat or an unnecessary twist.
In terms of style, The Last Confession of Sherlock Holmes is written in a great, easy-to-understand prose that often rivals Conan Doyle's Holmes work. Although it reuses (and sometimes rewrites) stories from the Conan Doyle canon, much of the book has a unique feel and tone as if Conan Doyle had inserted Holmes into a Victorian police procedural.
MX Publishing's The Last Confession of Sherlock Holmes is a well-crafted tale by Kieran Lyne that provides the comforts of a regular Holmes and Watson Victorian adventure, but with a modern sensibility that never feels out-of-place. This is a book that deserves your attention.
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