Review: Sherlock Holmes: The Dreaming Man, William Meikle, 2017.
I don’t seek out Sherlock Holmes pastiches, but, every few years, I end up reading one. The occasion to read this was because one of Meikle’s Seton clan plays a very important part in it. (No, I have not sat down and constructed a family tree or made notes about the relationships between all the Seton characters I’ve come across.)
I’m glad I did. It pulled me through quickly to the end and did some interesting things with key elements of the Holmes’ stories.
Does Meikle imitate Arthur Conan Doyle well? Since it’s been many decades since I’ve actually read the Holmes stories, the version of them lodged in my head comes from repeated watchings of Jeremy Brett and David Burke as Holmes and Watson in the 1980s Granada Television adaptations. Meikle didn’t clash with my memories of the characters at all.
However, this being Meikle, this is an outré, a weird Holmes story, so if you don’t like the rationality of the Arthur Conan Doyle stories being violated with the seemingly supernatural, this isn’t for you. For that matter, Holmes and Watson, at story’s end, aren’t very keen on what they’ve seen either.
The setup is Watson being called in by Holmes’ smarter brother Mycroft to investigate a sleeping sickness, lapses of lucidity and consciousness, befalling certain members of Parliament. But the two find themselves framed for murder when one of those Parliamentarians dives through a Westminster window and to his death.
And we’re off on a story that will take us to points in Scotland and elsewhere outside London, feature the return of a significant person from Holmes’ past, show Mycroft’s sometimes high-handed cover-up of government secrets (which really annoys Inspector Lestrade and sometimes earns the disdain of Sherlock), and reveal something about the Holmes brothers’ relationship.
The first part of this book, incidentally, was published as the novella “Revenant”.
Recommended for Meikle fans and anyone who doesn’t mind Sherlock Holmes’ rationality brushing up against the supernatural and seemingly impossible.
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