Rendezvous at the Populaire - A Novel of Sherlock Holmes by Kate Workman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
"My dear friend, you cannot best me. You may kill me, but my spirit will not be taken down by a mere mortal. And that is precisely what you are."
Sometimes, even a machine like Sherlock Holmes may break down. Sometimes, life is unfair to those who live it. And sometimes you just have to overcome it. This take on the renowned detective was surprisingly refreshing and I enjoyed it immensely.
It was a little difficult to follow at times due to my being used to Watson always narrating, so Holmes' narration took a little getting used to. In this story, a terrible accident disables Holmes so that he walks with a cane throughout the story. Seeing his perspective on how people treat him due to his disability absolutely broke my heart, given my experience with my own disability. A disability can wound you in more ways than one...
The story was fantastic. Despite Holmes not being at his best (which I blame on the accident), the phantom was an amazing antagonist to engage both Holmes and Dr. Watson. Being threatening, wounded, and as a result one whose mental prowess matches that of Holmes makes his character as amazing as the infamous Moriarty. And how both Holmes and the Phantom were able to fully understand one another's deformities and the emotional impact such deformities could cause was extremely well done.
However, this novel did have some shortcomings, which I will outline.
First of all, the scenario surrounding Holmes' accident doesn't hold out entirely to me. If they were being chased by Moriarty or his men, what happened to the scenario at the Reichenbach Falls? At what point in time was this, before or after the incident? What happened to Moriarty?
Also, although I understand that his identity wasn't the main issue of the story, I would have preferred the Phantom's identity remain a mystery for a little while instead of most people knowing who he was right off the bat. Maybe I missed something, since I've never seen The Phantom of the Opera.
Overall, it was one of the better Holmes pastiches I've read and one that I am not likely to forget anytime soon.
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