Book Review: Mycroft Holmes

Mycroft Holmes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse

Fresh out of Cambridge University, the young Mycroft Holmes is already making a name​ ​for himself in government, working for the Secretary of State for War. Yet this most British of civil servants has strong ties to the faraway island of Trinidad, the birthplace of his best friend, Cyrus Douglas, a man of African descent, and where his fiancée Georgiana Sutton was raised.

Mycroft’s comfortable existence is overturned when Douglas receives troubling reports​ from home. There are rumors of mysterious disappearances, strange footprints in the sand, and spirits enticing children to their deaths, their bodies found drained of blood. Upon hearing the news, Georgiana abruptly departs for Trinidad. Near panic, Mycroft convinces Douglas that they should follow her, drawing the two men into a web of dark secrets that grows more treacherous with each step they take...

So far Titan Books has been publishing a lot of Sherlock fiction, a original series written by many different authors all featuring Sherlock Holmes, they have also been publishing the books of Michael Kurland featuring Sherlock's archnemesis Professor Moriarty. Now they bring a first story that features the brother of Sherlock, Mycroft Holmes, a person we have often seen as a side character for Sherlock stories. In there he is posed often as not the nicest of characters. Well the tables are quite turned this time around as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse put Mycroft in a completely different daylight. 

Mycroft Holmes as the name implies focuses on Mycroft Holmes, brother to the well know Sherlock. But here Sherlock isn't quite out of school yet and doesn't run his office at Baker street yet. Mycroft being the older brother already works for the British government for the Secretary of State but he still likes to visit the college he once studies and on one of those days we find him their with his good friend Cyrus Douglas. Cyrus once came from the faraway land of Trinidad to Great Britain to start a new life, dealing in tobacco and other products. All seemed to be well right until the day that troubled news reaches Mycroft and Douglas about trouble in Trinidad. Furthermore Mycroft's fiancee Georgiana all of sudden calls of their plans and departs to Trinidad, Georgiana also hails from Trinidad. The troubled news that was received involved myths of the lougarou and the douen. Now Mycroft finds himself torn, what should he do, wait for Georgiana to come home from the dangerous country or go after her in hope to solve the mystery? Well the answer to that question is simple.. Mycroft persuades his boss to send him off to Trinidad for Great Britain's interest and thus a new game, perhaps the first game is afoot! And it sure is a-foot as you will know once you read the story. It readily comes to show that Sherlock isn't the only person who can solve mysteries (Although in this time frame Sherlock is still in school) it seems that Mycroft also has a knack of finding out the truth. 

What I liked a lot about this story was the fact that even though myths are being told and mysteries and rumors are spreading quickly, it isn't something that is shown later one, you are introduced from it from the start and Mycroft with his brain breaks it down. The execution of the story is seamless. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse did a very nice job in setting up the story and letting it unfold the way it did. From the first moment that Mycroft set out to Trinidad, aboard the ship, you knew that things would go differently and bit by bit more details are shown. As with any good detective there are the pivotal points in the story that really slam you in the face like an open door. 

As I already said in the beginning it was really nice to see Mycroft for ones, now of course this is the interpretation of two authors and I don't know how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would have seen him. But it quickly comes to show that Mycroft and Sherlock has similarities but also a lot of dissimilarities. Reading Mycroft Holmes did gave me a completely different view on him. Mycroft Holmes is really a guy that you can actually have as a friend, he isn't the socially akward Sherlock. In Mycroft Holmes you see Mycroft really as a young man, he himself is just out of college and has only been working for a few months. The fact that he just got engaged and now is already loosing her doesn't make it any easier on him. But as getting to the bottom of anything is in the Holmes' nature... Mycroft has to do what he has to do. And during his search the fact that Georgiana is somewhere alone in a dangerous country is in the back of his mind and this is shown in a very clever way, even as his starts to unravel the shocking truth. Cyrus Douglas makes up for a great sidekick for Mycroft. He is just the type of person who at times can flame on the urge for Mycroft to find the truth and at other times to talk some sense into Mycroft action (well he tries). Mycroft is the person who does listen for advice. 

Another thing that falls to note and where the authors don't paint a rosy picture is the way that certain dealing were done at that time with slavery, escaping the slavery and the false promises that were made. Its the same with some other books that I read recently, of course it is put in a fiction sense but it is always said every thing holds a truth somewhere and with the conviction that it is shown I can't seem to question this part. 

And there is even more if you look at the setting of the book it all starts in England with the race and Mycroft doing some of his things and this feel so British. Soon after this a different continent gets the highlight, Port of Spain and Trinidad and this feels just as the Mediterranean should be. A nice feat in world building and switching with in the story itself. 

Mycroft Holmes is a noteworthy addition to the Holmes universe. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse did a more than nice job in putting the highlight on Sherlock's famous brother Mycroft Holmes. Putting him for once in the spotlight did make me look at Mycroft differently from before. He is actually a lot like Sherlock but without the heavy arrogance. Aka more human. I definitely hope that there will be more inside stories featuring Mycroft. I think he also had enough things to solve for his work for the British Government (hint).


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