Philip K Jones is one of the most respected, and meticulous Sherlock Holmes reviewers in the USA. Here he casts a close eye over Watsons Afghan Adventure, the debut Holmes pastiche from Keiran McMullen.
“This is the only Sherlockian book I know of by this author. It is Watson’s own tale of his experiences in Afghanistan. The narrative is a very realistic exposition of a British Doctor’s life during the Second Afghan War. I am not sure of the details of the campaigns involved, but the presentation is an accurate and intelligent view of what Watson would have seen and experienced.
The Watson presented here is very much the Watson who wrote the Canonical tales. He is inherently good and caring but also intelligent and observant. Some of the details differ from those in the Canonical accounts but all the disagreements are well explained and logical. The tale told is well written and intriguing, with a variety of characters and locations. The bumbling Watson presented in the Canon, of course, never existed, but this Watson has all the heart and courage displayed in the Canonical tales along with the attention to detail and intelligence required by their author.
Good and evil are displayed by most of the characters. The wide range of the noble aspirations, lofty ideals and gross excesses of ‘The Raj’ are displayed as well as the nobility, humanity and venality of the native population. Most of the characters are interesting and the story told is a fascinating combination of a treasure hunt and an exposé of the details of the British domination of the Subcontinent. As ever, Watson maintains his ideals, observes his fellow travelers and tries to help whomever and wherever he can.
There are a few irritating details in editing that occur throughout the book. Most are substitution of homonyms for the proper spellings but there are also a few specific mis-usages and errors in details. A careful edit should catch the majority but they are, at most, a minor distraction. In a literature that is plagued by poor editing and gross mis-spellings the errors in this book are truly small change. Some purists may disagree with the details of Watson’s history provided, but no real violations of the Canon are included. This is an interesting and thought provoking addition to the Canon that is well worth reading.”
Kieran’s own blog is becoming very popular – especially his recent series of articles on the different actors that have played Dr.Watson.