The Sherlock Holmes Journal Review of The Keys of Death

. . . an original and refreshing exploration of the early days of the Baker Street triumvirate . . . the birth of an enduring friendship . . .

Sarah Obermuller-Bennett for The Sherlock Holmes Society of London

In his introduction, Mattias Boström describes himself as an “embracer” of Holmes in his many forms, and issues the invitation to “shake up Sherlock”. In The Keys of Death, Holmes, if not shaken, is certainly stirred into life.

Taken from the perspective of journal entries by Mrs. Hudson, Dr. Watson and others, we start with a mysterious and lamented death. This leads us into the introduction of the fledgling consulting detective and his soon-to-be landlady. Watson soon joins the gathering at Baker Street, paralleling the events of A Study in Scarlet.

This telling, however, presents a much more considerate portrayal of the young Mr. Holmes. Mrs. Hudson too is much younger than the version many of us may have in our minds, which is no bad thing. With different characters narrating each chapter, Altabef achieves the difficult task of keeping the voices distinct.

Through their eyes, we learn of the birth of an enduring friendship — I was much taken with the charming vignette of Holmes and Watson undertaking a cigarette-smoking experiment for the former’s research purposes. Overall, an original and refreshing exploration of the early days of the Baker Street triumvirate, with solid historical research and unexpected entries by other characters who will be well known to the readers.

Find The Sherlock Holmes Society of London here.

Gretchen Altabef is an Award-Winning author. For MX Publishing, she writes mysteries for Sherlock Holmes to solve. Including the history of woman that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle left out. She also publishes with Belanger Books, Mondadori, and Mystery MagazineThe first, These Scattered Houses, is in Holmes’ own voice, and resourcefully chronicles the conclusion of his underground years. This is where the Rachel Holmes Series begins. 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 under surveillance by Moriarty’s henchmen, 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. Ms. Altabef’s most recent novel, THE KEYS OF DEATH is the genesis story of the world’s most famous address, and the young occupants of No. 221B Baker Street.

Gretchen is currently tucked away in her writer’s cabin with a goodly stock of Earl Grey and delicious concoctions from Mrs. Hudson’s Garden. Where she is diligently at work on the third Rachel Holmes novel. Rachel Holmes now has her own BLOG, where she will keep you apprized of her world during the book’s progress.

Do you enjoy my stories? Are there ways they could have been improved? Please help me and future readers of my books by posting a review on Amazon. Doing so would be incredibly helpful. Thank you in advance, Gretchen.

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