Author: Leonard Goldberg

Series: The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes Mysteries (Book 1)

Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition (June 6, 2017)

ISBN-10: 1250101042

ISBN-13: 978-1250101044

Perhaps you’re like me. Whenever you see the name “Sherlock Holmes” in the title of a new book from yet another new author, your curiosity is immediately piqued. Many times, perhaps too often, that’s all it takes to get us to try out the book to see if there’s anything of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle magic in the new pages. Sometimes, readers strike gold. Sometimes, we merely strike pyrite. Sometimes, we curse the deceptive marketing of a would-be contributor to the Holmes/ Watson canon.

 So I was pleasantly pleased to read Leonard Goldberg’s new entry in the Sherlock Holmes afterlife, especially as he gives us a rather clever cast of characters we could call “The Holmes/Watson Mythos: The next Generation.” For one thing, we meet Joanna Blalock, the unmistakable daughter of Sherlock Holmes and mother of his grandson, even if she doesn’t know it.  Our narrator is Dr. John Watson Jr., a skilled pathologist who is the book’s narrator. Holmes might be dead, but his John Watson isn’t. He’s still living at 221b Baker Street,  and is an indispensable lynchpin in this yarn as the father and son doctors hook up with the daughter of Sherlock Holmes.  But the “Next Generation” also includes a new Inspector Lestrade, yep, son of the old Holmes foil, and even a new Toby, the son of the bloodhound Holmes used in Conan Doyle’s Sign of the Four. Even if it takes most of the book before Watson Sr. realizes it, the villain of the tale, Dr. Christopher Moran, is clearly the offspring of Sherlock’s old foe, Col. Sebastian Moran. 

It takes no deductive reasoning at all to see the coming romance blossoming between Watson Jr. and Blalock. For me, one of the best pleasures in this mystery is watching how Blalock, by sheer force of personality, intuition, voluminous reading, and quick logical reasoning takes center stage and drives a complex investigation into first one, then two, and potentially three murders. Blalock demonstrates deductive gifts that not only rival but often supersede her father’s use of observation and analysis of details others miss. At least, that’s Watson seniorr’s opinion. Goldberg doesn’t tell us this, he shows us. The author’s medical knowledge is also more than evident on almost every page. And so too is his ability to capture the atmosphere in the settings where we witness Blalock’s triumphs over cultural attitudes regarding women. 

I’ve seen reviews that comment on a lack of character depth in the book. It’s true the emphasis is on the cerebral and the pace is so quick, there’s not much in the way of character back-stories or emotional responses to any of the events beyond the love story between Blalock and the younger Watson.   Then again, this tale is designed to be a page-turner, not an in-depth look into the feelings and sensitivities of the Holmes’ family circle.

I doubt any reader can anticipate all the surprises that are revealed in the final chapters. I think it very good news that this adventure is the first in a projected series and I plan on going on this ride with Joanna, John Watson Jr. and who knows who else in the next entry in the saga. See you again when that sequel comes out—