Anyone who’s anyone knows about the brilliant detective Sherlock Holmes and his dogged assistant/biographer, Dr. John Watson. It was believed that all of their tales had been told — so it is a surprise indeed when a small, dark figure appears at editor Loren Estleman’s doorstep, claiming to have the last remaining unpublished tale of Sherlock Holmes.
It is a tale of supernatural occurrences, of murder and violence, and of the struggle between good and evil within every man. The only way it could have been told was as a sensation story by the master of adventure, Robert Louis Stevenson. But now the time has come for the true tale to be told, for the reader to learn what really happened that night in Dr. Jekyll’s laboratory. This is the true tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Holmes.
A chilling retelling
Books like this are always exciting to me, because they tell an old story in a new way, and from a different perspective. I didn’t get a huge kick out of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but I most definitely enjoyed this retelling, wonderfully crafted by Loren D. Estleman.
The bizarre and violent happenings of the original tale are made even more frightening, as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Holmes (“written” by Dr. Watson himself) informs the reader that those events were true. The reader then sees the case from the perspective of the doctor and his esteemed colleague.
It’s fun to see how Estleman has carefully sewn the great detective into the original tale, keeping him out of the main plot, yet still showing how it was Holmes and Watson, rather than the lawyer Utterson, who unravels the horrible truth of Mr. Hyde’s creation. Estleman writes Holmes very well indeed, capturing his intelligence and razor-sharp eye for details — as well as his sense of adventure.
For fans of adventure
Whether you’re a fan of Stevenson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, or Estleman, you will find many things about this book to love. As for me, I think I may have developed a bit of a crush on Mr. Holmes.
“A culture which allows zeppelins to rain death and destruction upon the cities of men and heavy guns to pound civilisation back into the dust whence it came is a culture which has yet to learn from its mistakes.” (from the preface)