Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Before World War I, as Victorian dress, manners, and speech were on the wane, a young actress (and part-time sleuth) called Lucy James makes perhaps her most surprising discovery — she is the daughter of inimitable detective Sherlock Holmes. At least that is the premise of Remember, Remember, the third in a series of mystery books by daughter-father authors Anna Elliott and Charles Veley.
It might be difficult to imagine the original Holmes even having an offspring — particularly if you grew up with TV’s Jeremy Brett as Holmes — much less one he accepts as an investigating partner. Still, the authors make it seem plausible, and for readers who are not purists but rather pleased to see a hint of warmth coming from Holmes, Remember is a new way to enjoy Sherlockian mysteries.
The books — four in all now — are more about Lucy James, a beautiful actress with a lonely past that’s made her a strong female, than about Holmes. There’s plenty of pre-emancipation, forced-dependence context provided, the better to show off James’s dauntless self-reliance. In Remember she has woken up on a London street, injured enough to have developed amnesia. Each encounter then brings back a brief memory, until finally all becomes clear, and then the real mystery begins.
Elliott and Veley are good at keeping a brisk pace going. At no point does one wonder when the 500-word description of a whip-poor-will’s plumage will end and some action begin. Given that Elliott has also written eight other books of historical fantasy based on figures in literature, stories that move along at a good clip would seem imperative.