Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Sherlock Holmes & the Singular Affair, by M. K. Wiseman

MK Wiseman, December 2021

With Sherlock Holmes recently deceased, Dr. John H. Watson has received a package left to him by his old friend. In that package he finds a story--Holmes' own account of an adventure he had before he ever met Watson. It involves high society, stage-door dandies, and a young woman wanting to know where the young man courting her has disappeared to.

Miss Eudora Frances Clarke grew up as neighbors and close friends with Mr. Tobias-Henry Price, until when they were twelve years old, his father died, and his uncle, whose heir he now was, took him away to his home. There was little contact, and then Tobias-Henry was sent abroad to oversee some business of his uncle's. Then he returned, proposed marriage, hinted at problems related to his business activities, and disappeared.

Except, as everyone assures her, Mr. Tobias-Henry Price is not missing. He's living the life of a cultivated gentleman in the London society which, due to being of far less prosperous family, Eudora has never been a part of. She contrives to encounter him leaving his club, and--the man is handsome, charming, altogether likeable, but he is not her Tobias-Henry. This man is a stranger. Everyone, including his Uncle, assures her she is wrong. But her Tobias-henry had a scar acquired in their childhood, which this man does not have.

What follows is a confusing adventure, with contradictory evidence everywhere. Who is the man Eudora is quite sure is an imposter, though the uncle and others insist he is not? Who is the man she is certain is the real Tobias-Henry, and why has he disappeared? 

What Holmes learns, very quickly, is that at least one of the two men has very dangerous enemies, and that Eudoria's Tobias-Henry is involved with a criminal gang in London.

As Holmes pieces the clues together, and someone kills both the uncle and his servants, and the servants at the home of the cousin Eudora has been staying with, it becomes clear that everyone--Eudora, "her" Tobias-Henry, the generally-recognized Tobias-Henry, and the now-dead uncle, all have secrets. 

This novella feels very much like the "real" Sherlock Holmes, telling his own story since he has not yet met Watson--and learning along the in this adventure that maybe it would not be a bad thing to have a few more people noticing when he's coming and going. Very enjoyable and satisfying. Recommended.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via Rachel's Random Resources, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

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