Boneseeker: From the Journals of Arabella Holmes and Henry Watson

Written by Brynn Chapman
Review by Elizabeth Caulfield Felt

Arabella Holmes and Henry Watson (the children of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, respectively) are in Philadelphia working at the Mutter Museum, studying bones and medical anomalies. They have not seen each other for several years—not since Henry stunned Arabella with a kiss that complicated their lifelong friendship. Over-large humanoid skeletons have been found at a dig, and Arabella and Henry join the expedition. Some think the bones reveal the existence of the Nephilim (angels), although Arabella believes they are more likely Neanderthal remains. The first four scientists to go on the expedition mysteriously disappeared.

The story is told in alternating first person, but the voices of Arabella and Henry are similar, making it difficult to keep track of who is narrating. Both are obsessed with the other, their thoughts focusing on love and lust, personal insecurities, and how Arabella is not a “normal” woman. She is meant to have a Sherlockian intellect, but we rarely see her use it. Instead, her thoughts are consumed with Henry, a topic which confuses her and shows her mind as indecisive and emotional. The mysteries of the strange skeletons and the missing scientists are given short shrift to the romance. The premise is promising and the mystery intriguing, but the story could have used more editing. It reads like an early draft.