cover image The Star of India: A Novel of Sherlock Holmes

The Star of India: A Novel of Sherlock Holmes

Carole Bugge. St. Martin's Press, $21.95 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-312-18034-8

Bugge's familiar cast of Sherlock, Mycroft, Watson, Lestrade, Mrs. Hudson et al. dimly reflect the originals in this unimaginative pastiche, which takes place in 1894, some three and a half years after Sherlock's battle with Professor James Moriarty at Reichenbach Falls. The major premise is that Sherlock wasn't the only unexpected survivor of that struggle on the precipice. The unseen but intuited presence of Moriarty lurks behind an apparent chance encounter with a mysterious lady at a concert performance. Soon, Holmes and Watson are embarked on a desperate game of chess played across the board of London with not only their lives at stake but also the future of the British monarchy. Readers will recognize familiar objects such as Holmes's Persian slipper and familiar catchphrases (""the game's afoot""), but Bugge has added some rather jarring Dickensian sensibilities: Holmes and Watson rescue a young waif from the streets who proves instrumental in the fight against the evil genius who has returned to seek final vengeance. Imitators invite comparison: Conan Doyle's mantle does not sit comfortably on first-novelist Bugge's shoulders. (Jan.)