The author also captured Holmes’s voice very neatly. As I wrote my first three novels from Holmes’s point of view, I know all too well how difficult it is to make that voice sound authentic.
The story takes place during The Great Hiatus, that period in Sherlock Holmes’s life when the world believed he was dead. For two years he avoided Professor Moriarty’s men and traveled under the identity of a Norwegian explorer called Sigerson.
Ms Altabef’s novel takes place in Poughkeepsie, New York during this ‘lost’ period. The author has meticulously researched and depicted the delights and horrors of that world remarkably well. The novel shows a deft handling of a landscape unfamiliar to most of us.
In addition to Holmes, the novel introduces several intriguing characters including Harry Houdini. Each was well drawn and three-dimensional.
There’s always a danger when writing a review of a mystery story. It’s unfair to the reader to reveal too much of the plot. Suffice it to say, These Scattered Houses offers plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader hooked.
These Scattered Houses is a daring adventure in the style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. As Professor Sigerson the pansophic gentleman of justice, Holmes is confronted by the evil that lurks within the smiling and beautiful countryside.
Gretchen Altabef is an MX author of Sherlock Holmes novels. Mondadori Publishing has contracted to translate her novels into Italian. Ms. Altabef strives to emulate Dr. John Watson’s and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s literary style. The first, These Scattered Houses, is in Holmes’ own voice and resourcefully chronicles the last two months of his ‘great hiatus’. The second in the series is, Remarkable Power of Stimulus. After 3 years away, Holmes finds London awash in murders, No. 221B under siege, anarchists threatening Paris, and the return of Irene Adler. Fully aware he is being watched by Moriarty’s men, Holmes steps out of the cab into Baker Street knowing he will find Watson’s friendship and unerring aim are as dependable as the British Rail.