Review of The Mystery of the Scarlet Homes of Sherlock

10 Dec

If you stumbled upon the lost diaries of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, what would you do with them? Sanibel author, Dr. John Raffensperger, a collector of Sherlockiana, came up with an idea. He imagined placing a bid at Sotheby’s to win an old footlocker from the estate of Doyle. Following through with this fictional idea, he discovered three leather bound hand-written journals which he turned over to Professor Richard Krevolin. In truth, Krevolin, a screenwriter, playwriter and novelist, read an article written by Raffensperger, published in the Journal of Pediatric Surgery, titled, “Was the Real Sherlock Holmes a Pediatric Surgeon?”     Krevolin suggested they combine talents and pen a novel based on Dr. Joseph Bell and Arthur Conan Doyle, who was his clerk. This book is the result of their efforts.  

    The book chronicles Doyle’s clerkship with Bell, a renowned surgeon who was the model for Doyle’s great detective, Sherlock Holmes. At the time, Doyle was a 19 year old medical student at the University of Edinburgh Medical School. Along the way, they encounter Robert Louis Stevenson, Allen Pinkerton and Rev Henry Ward Beecher, whose sister authored Uncle Toms Cabin.   There are several other interesting characters.

Do the names Captain Hook, Jesse James and Dr. Jekyl ring a bell?  Their journey begins September 25, 1878 and continues through December 10, 1878. During that short period of time the pair travel to America where they are involved in solving a string of grisly and mysterious murders.

    Bell has uncanny powers of observation as to medical ailments, backgrounds of patients and solving the murders.  Doyle learns a great deal from him. During the 1800’s medical students had a hard time finding cadavers upon which to work to learn more about the human body. Although it was illegal, gravediggers often helped out by providing bodies.

    Once Bell discovers the string of homicides, he places everyone in great danger. As he often said, ‘the game was afoot.’ Pinkerton, of the famous detective agency, is enlisted to help out. As Doyle writes in his journal, he questions his decision. “What have I gotten myself into?  When Bell asked me to accompany him I should have flatly refused. Aye, my family is poor, but back in Scotland I was safe and happy and my stomach was always full. And no one was trying to kill me. Maybe I am not cut out for a life of adventure, after all.

   During their murder investigation they come across a startling fact. The thyroid gland has been removed from each body. As they solve the mystery they are thrown into a conspiracy involving an assassination of the president. The book is filled with murder, literary history and humanity. If you are a Sherlock Homes fan, The Mystery of the Scarlet Homes of Sherlock is a must read. It is available online through MX Publishing or Amazon.

Reviewed by  Di Saggau, Island Sun, December 2, 2016

The Mystery of The Scarlet Homes Of Sherlock is available from all good bookstores including The Strand Magazine, Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Waterstones UK and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository.  In ebook format it is in Kindle, Kobo, Nook and Apple iBooks (iPad/iPhone).



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