Viking, Oct 2002, 23.95, 352 pp.
In 1900 London the great Sherlock Holmes receives a message written in code that leads the detective to deduce that murdering mobster Abe Slaney survived his harrowing escape from prison rather than drowned as reported. Having barely stopped Abe before, Holmes knows the rematch will prove even more difficult and he also thinks someone else is playing him and his sidekick Watson like puppets on a strings.
Elsie Cubitt has vanished after withdrawing 5,000 pounds from her bank and Slaney is the most likely culprit. Holmes starts his quest by visiting a spiritualist, a confidant of Elsie. However, soon after Holmes leaves, the spiritualist vanishes too. The trail turns murky when a Holmes impersonator seems to be just in front of the London duo, leaving behind fallacious clues to throw Sherlock off and crime victims wanting retribution. The dynamic duo journeys to New York City where Homes also vanishes, leaving Watson and bartender buddy Shadwell Rafferty in Chicago in search of the great sleuth and Elsie.
Though a solid homage to Doyle and Holmes, THE DISAPPEARANCE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES never quite grips the audience as one would expect with Holmes missing and apparently a prisoner of a devious enemy. Instead, the reader sees an insightful look at the late Victorian era on both sides of the Atlantic and the ho hum of another case as related by Watson. Though the candid insight by Elsie, Holmes, and others adds depth, this tribute is more for the Baker Street crowd revering along with Larry Millet one of the notables.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner