Hats off to Molly Carr whose debut novel ‘The Sign Of Fear‘ is a wonderful book that charts the adventures of Mrs.Watson, the wife of Dr.Watson and her sidekick Emily Fanshaw. With a supporting cast of Sherlock Holmes, Dr.Watson and Moriarty it is a great story and a fresh female approach to the Holmes canon.
The number of female crime writers is rising with the increasing popularity of Tess Gerritsen, Elizabeth George, Karen Rose, Lynda La Plante, Janet Enavnovich, and Kathy Reichs among others. However, one genre within mystery fiction has remained largely male dominated – that of Sherlock Holmes.
One look at the top 100 books for Sherlock Holmes will have you struggling to find any female authors, let alone the share that mainstream crime fiction now has – and that’s a real shame. As soon as you get into ‘The Sign Of Fear’ you can see and feel the female perspective and it’s fascinating to experience Victorian England from a woman’s point of view.
Molly’s main character is Mrs.Watson and the old phrase ‘behind every great man there is a great woman’ is very true here as she cuts straight to the chase as a formidable leading lady in her own right.
A great detective needs a sidekick and Mrs.Watson is no exception. Emily Fanshaw does however spend a good part of the book disguised as a man – a necessity born out of the time. Some of the most intersting and amusing action takes place in France giving Molly a chance to throw out some lovely sterotypes from her English characters.
The story is told through the first person of Mrs.Watson is a delightful Victorian manner and use of language is excellent and refreshingly traditional – the use of words like ‘retort’ and ‘exude’ bring a smile to your face . There is much of the ‘Jeeves and Wooster’ style here and I am sure Molly won’t mind being compared to PG Wodehouse.
The Sign of Fear is relased across the world on 15th June 2010 and will be a fun read for both the traditional Sherlock Holmes enthusiast and the new breed fuelled by the recent Guy Richie reincarnation.