Publishers Weekly, 2001-12-03 This first novel fails to live up to its initial promise. A cousin of Dr. Watson's late wife travels to Baker Street from Singapore to consult Sherlock Holmes regarding her husband's mysterious suicide. That consultation leads to another death under seemingly impossible circumstances, and to Holmes's decision to journey to Singapore to investigate both crimes. At first, the author successfully emulates Doyle, and the portrayal of a Watson still grieving over his wife's loss adds welcome emotional depth. Unfortunately, once the world's greatest consulting detective and his Boswell start their voyage east, one false note after another enters, and the story not only goes off the tracks but stays there. Watson engages in a series of sexual encounters, often described with (perhaps unintentional) double entendres ("I lay on the couch beside her in blissful exhaustion, penetrated to my core"), which do nothing to advance the story or deepen the reader's understanding of the character. The plot quickly devolves into a bad episode of The X-Files, with action sequences substituting for any real investigation and deduction. Many of the secondary characters come across as little more than cliches. In a preface, Watson asserts that the incredible events that follow really happened, but the explanation for the mysterious deaths is so far-fetched and without any attempt at a convincing pseudo-scientific basis that the reader is left not in awe at the author's imaginative speculations but flabbergasted by his concoctions. (Jan. 4) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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