Harry DeMaio’s Book Review of These Scattered Houses

Let us establish one fact immediately. Gretchen Altabef is a remarkably talented author . . . she eschews the formulas that so often appear in Holmes pastiches and sets about creating a new format.

Let us establish one fact immediately. Gretchen Altabef is a remarkably talented author. In These Scattered Houses, the first book in her Sherlock Holmes trilogy, she eschews the formulas that so often appear in Holmes pastiches and sets about creating a new format; a new locale; new characters; a new story line and most important, a new Holmes.

Seldom used in other books, Holmes is his own narrator in a tale that takes place during his three year post Reichenbach hiatus in the town of Poughkeepsie New York and the campus of Vassar College. I have earned my living for several years in that city and can attest that she has captured its Mid-Hudson character exactly. The story centers around the horrors of a state asylum for the insane and involves an extensive Italian family; college denizens; women suffragists; a precocious young girl; mad house denizens and a cast of evil doers.

Holmes in his role as Sigerson is not the traditional Sherlockian prototype at all but I will not spoil the story by elucidating further. The action moves along at a rapid pace. The characters alone make it very interesting and unusual. In short, this is a very worthwhile read. Enjoy it!

Review from Harry DeMaio-Author of the Casebooks of Octavius Bear and Sherlock Holmes and Solar Pons Stories.

Gretchen Altabef is an MX author of Sherlock Holmes Novels who 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 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, Paris silenced by anarchists, and the return of Irene Adler. At the commencement of his new life, 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.

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