Sherlock In Love

Written by Sena Jeter Naslund
Review by Ellen Keith

Sherlock Holmes aficionados would expect that the title refers to “the” woman, Irene Adler, known in modern parlance as “the one who got away.” Although Adler appears, Naslund has invented a new love, introducing her with the device of Watson looking back at the past after Holmes’s death and uncovering more than he bargained for.

Alternating between past and present, using both Watson’s and Holmes’s diaries, the reader is reminded of Holmes’s cleverness and Watson’s occasional obtuseness. Early on, we learn that the one who really got away was Violet Sigerson, a violinist pretending to be Victor Sigerson so she could play in the Munich Opera Orchestra. Watson, of course, is the last to know. Although the story starts promisingly enough, it becomes more implausible with clumsily inserted historical figures, such as the mad Ludwig II of Bavaria, and an out-of-left-field revelation of why Holmes’s and Violet’s love could never be.

Naslund has done her research, inserting references to previous cases and displaying the famous Holmes inductive reasoning, but she sacrifices credibility as a claimant to the Conan Doyle throne with the preposterous ending.