Shelf Spotlight: The Watson Chronicles

How many books are on your "I've been meaning to read that" list?  This one has been at the top of my list for at least a year, and it took me until this week.  Luckily, I'd packed it in my emergency reading kit!

The Watson Chronicles by Ann Lewis

"Holmes turned the platter, inspecting the plum pudding as he would a cadaver at a crime scene."

It's challenge enough for a writer to find his or her own voice; it's even harder for an author to match her voice to another's.  Especially when you get into the nerdy world of Sherlock Holmes fans, which is a cult with an obsession rivaling that of Trekkies.

In The Watson Chronicles, sequel to her earlier work Murder in the Vatican, Ann succeeds in matching style and voice to Arthur Conan Doyle's originals, while bringing a fresh perspective to the beloved character of Watson.

Perhaps my best part of The Watson Chronicles is Ann's ability to reach past Sherlock's veneer of misogyny and misanthropy.  Through Lucy's feminine perception, we readers are given a masterful psychological insight into the famous detective.  The end result is a compelling humanization of both Sherlock and Mycroft.

Watson, however, is the central character to these stories, a well-deserved tribute to a man who is far more than Holmes's sidekick.  The good doctor is here in all his strength and kindness, learning to love again when he meets a Polish Catholic opera soprano.  Lucy is a vibrant woman, full of faith and love, although amusingly scatterbrained.

The key theme of the whole book is friendship; indeed, friendship is the gear turning each part of the plot.  Through friendship with Lucy, each of the three men close to her are brought closer to each other and towards faith, though in different ways.  The character developments, and the influence of Lucy, are believable because Ann is able to delve into each individual as a whole person, not merely a personality.

Beyond the psychological and spiritual, it's a darned good set of mysteries!  Ann was able to bring her own knowledge of music and culture to the book, plus a boatload of research, so the stories ring true in every respect.

Definitely worth a read, whether you like Holmes, mysteries, or just good fiction!

"I swear to you, on my honor as a gentleman, that if you grant this one small mercy upon her, 
it will not be so long before you and I speak again." - Watson