Sherlock Holmes and the Nine Dragon Sigil

Written by Tim Symonds
Review by Susan McDuffie

The game’s afoot and we are off, in this homage to the Great Detective. In 1906 Holmes is keeping bees in Sussex, and Watson practices medicine in London. Mycroft Holmes recruits the good doctor, encouraging him to accept the Imperial Chinese General Yuan’s invitation to assess the state of the Chinese army. This assignment takes Watson to China via an overland route across Russia and through exotic regions. A surprise encounter with a Chinese fortuneteller reunites Watson with Holmes and reveals the true nature of their mission as they arrive in the Forbidden City—a possible plot against the life of the young Emperor of China.

This far-flung novel contains numerous references that give the reader a sense of the era and the many settings included in the book. I enjoyed these obviously well-researched digressions, although at times I felt some of the inclusions might have slowed the forward momentum of the plot. The machinations against the Emperor are not totally mystifying, and Watson, in his role of foil to Holmes, seems surprisingly obtuse at times. Still I enjoyed this Edwardian jaunt around the world with Holmes and Watson, and recommend it to lovers of the Great Detective and his faithful friend.