The Case of Emily V.

Keith Oatley, Author . Pleasure Boat Studio $18 (378p) ISBN 978-1-92935-530-3

Oatley's subtle and insightful debut novel, which won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book, explores human psychology through three perspectives—that of the title character, an accomplished young woman traumatized by guilt at her role in the death of a British diplomat, who was her lecherous guardian; Sigmund Freud, whom she consults to ease her mental suffering; and Sherlock Holmes, enlisted by his brother, Mycroft, to probe the man's death. The author manages to make each narrative convincing, and for readers used to poor imitations of the Watson voice by numerous pasticheurs, Oatley's rendition of the Baker Street duo will be a pleasant surprise. The book has more in common with less conventional, deeper looks at what makes Holmes tick, like Mitch Cullin's A Slight Trick of the Mind , and will linger longer than with lighter fare like Nicholas Meyer's The Seven-Per-Cent Solution . (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 09/11/2006
Release date: 01/01/2007
Genre: Fiction
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