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By David Stuart Davies

Titan Books, November 2009 ($$9.95)
ISBN-10: 1848564902
ISBN-13: 978-1848564909

Review by Larry Jung
(April 2010)

THE VEILED DETECTIVE makes the shocking revelation that Professor Moriarity was the man directly responsible for the famous partnership of Dr. John Watson and a young Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock Holmes would later called Moriarity the Napoleon of Crime. The Professor recruited the ex-Army doctor, recently of Her Majesty’s Army in Afghanistan, to spy on Sherlock Holmes. The Professor arranged for 221B Baker Street to be conveniently vacant when Holmes needed new lodgings and arranged for his spy Dr. Watson to share these rooms with Holmes. Even the seemingly innocent landlady Mrs. Hudson was one of the Professor’s agents. Watson’s published accounts of Sherlock Holmes’s adventures not only served to make Sherlock’s name a household word, but were also Watson’s reports to the Professor.

Far fetched? This iconoclastic retelling is by a well-known Sherlockian, David Stuart Davies. His A HISTORY OF SHERLOCK HOLMES ON SCREEN was published in 2007. His play THE DEATH AND LIFE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES toured the UK and the United States. This intimate knowledge of things Sherlockian enables Davies to make a good case in his "what if" scenario.

I enjoyed the book. There are no glaring inconsistencies that casual readers of the original Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes stories, like myself, can find. The author keeps the story going. The writing is clear and conveys the time period. I read the book on a plane and it kept my interest. So for the casual reader, I can strongly recommend THE VEILED DETECTIVE. For the diehard Sherlockians, the book will probably be added to the numerous topics they love to debate. (Many wild theories have been put forth over the decades. It was once suggested that Holmes and Watson were in a homosexual relationship.)

If the VEILED DETECTIVE is to your liking, I suggest trying THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE ECTOPLASTIC MAN also published by Titan Press.

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