cover image Sherlock Holmes and the King's Governess

Sherlock Holmes and the King's Governess

Barrie Roberts, . . Severn, $28.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-7278-6223-5

Set in 1897 during Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, British author Roberts's eighth Sherlock Holmes pastiche captures the language and spirit of Doyle's originals while keeping the great detective and his legendary medical sidekick in character. Diana Fordeland, a well-known journalist who also served as governess to the children of the king of Mongkuria, calls on 221B Baker St. because she believes that mysterious men have been shadowing her and her granddaughter. With typical brilliance, the sleuth soon finds the roots of his new client's troubles in her past travels in Russia, which are of interest to various foreign factions, including the czar's secret police. While the relative slightness of the puzzle makes this effort a notch below Roberts's best work (e.g., Sherlock Holmes and the Harvest of Death ), this highly enjoyable outing is far superior to 2004's Sherlock Holmes and the Rule of Nine . Second only to Denis O. Smith among current writers at evoking the Watsonian voice, Roberts needs only a more complex plot to truly shine. Agent, Juliet Burton (U.K.). (July)