No two persons ever read the same book. --Edmund Wilson

Monday, May 23, 2016

2016/26: Who Killed Sherlock Holmes? -- Paul Cornell

The Sight made Greenwich into somewhere that smelt of the sea, and overwhelmed you with the knowledge of time. She could feel, in this hill, the small weight of her own years, the steady decay of everything, how short a while was left to her. From the hill she could see, above London, constellations, a web of lines actually drawn in the sky, making the stars feel trapped. As they walked higher, the feeling got more and more intense, like they were inside an enormous clock, and she knew it was about to strike the hour. It felt like the grandeur above them was locked, by this hill, into the notion of Britishness, that here was somewhere that connected the eternal to Empire. This feeling was still at play in London below, but it was complicated, worrying. Here was displayed, for all to get nervous about, one of the grand certainties that nobody felt certain of anymore. [loc. 2925]

Quill's team are variously broken by the events of The Severed Streets, and it's affecting their performance. But duty calls, and when a fictional detective is apparently murdered, Quill's lot are first in line for the investigation. They already know that London perpetuates, immortalises, particular figures who are Remembered -- a kind of ethically sourced immortality. Three different versions of Sherlock Holmes are being filmed in London: could the coincidence have brought something into the real world? And are the actors themselves -- Gilbert Flamstead who plays Sherlock Holmes in a BBC production; Alice Cassell, a female version of Holmes in an American TV series; Ben Speake, the star of a series of comedy Holmes movies -- involved: or, worse, at risk?

DS Rebecca Lofthouse, Quill's nominal boss, continues to investigate the Continuing Projects Team, who trod the same beat as Quill's team but disappeared mysteriously (how else?) a few years before the events of London Falling. Turns out, though, that Lofthouse herself is being investigated: but by whom? The unwrapping of Lofthouse's history was a high point of the novel for me: she's been a mystery until this book.

Who Killed Sherlock Holmes? is full of London colour -- sometimes too full, as at the denouement where it can't quite decide if it's happening in Shoreditch or in Southwark. And the plot is truly Holmesian :) Most of the characters do end up a little happier than at the beginning of the novel, and we certainly get to know quite a bit more about the entities / deities / memories that underlay this darker London. Lots of fun allusions, and interesting and credible character development. Also features the Radisson Edwardian, and something nasty happening to a character named Lassiter who is not apparently related to the Lassiter in The Severed Streets. Lassiters beware!

No comments:

Post a Comment