“The Adventure of the Peculiar Protocols” by Nicholas Meyer takes a novel approach to revisiting the classic stories of Sherlock Holmes as documented by Dr. John Watson. Meyer mixes a semblance of reality with an historic diary, an intellectual pursuit, and a scholarly task. The narrator is an academician specializing in Holmes, and he is overjoyed to be asked to examine a previously unknown diary by Watson.
Myer presents a diary written by “Watson,” in the typical conversational style that contains descriptions of the action, procedures, and conversations surrounding the main investigation as well as comments about the supporting events. There are lots of first person reflections as well. Readers are immediately immersed in the language, culture and atmosphere of the time and are transported to all the exotic places that typically define the adventures of Holmes and Watson. The familiar players are all present and accounted for, both friend and foe, as well as a few new ones, whom the narrator quickly identifies in his footnotes and comments on the diary. As always for Holmes and Watson, things are not as the first seem, and there is plenty of deception, deduction, and chasing clues.
I received a review copy of “The Adventure of the Peculiar Protocols” from Nicholas Meyer, St Martin’s Press, and Minotaur Books. I have always enjoyed the original Holmes and Watson stories but have frequently been disappointed by modern interpretations that just miss the mark, however, not this time. The prose is authentic without being pretentious, the storyline is compelling, and the investigations along the way are typically Holmes. The use of the “found” diary allows new characters to be added to the mix without being hollow. I loved this interpretation. It is hard to beat the original, but this book comes close.