"Not ‘til the Last Day, when the bugle blows for me, shall I forget the most diabolical attempt ever made on my friend Sherlock Holmes’s life."

This well-written and entertaining collection of six short stories centered around the ever-popular Sherlock Holmes and faithful Dr. Watson is filled with the intrigue fans of the fictional detective have long enjoyed. Three stories are case studies recorded by Watson after Holmes retires to keep bees in Sussex. The other three begin with the early prison release for good behavior of Holmes’ old nemesis, Colonel Sebastian Moran. His good behavior is short-lived, and soon Holmes and Watson are fast on Moran’s trail in the first offering (from which the book takes its name). Most of the other stories follow the standard formula of a Sherlock Holmes’ mystery with an unsolved crime and Holmes’ deductive reasoning on full display. The one exception, though perhaps slight, is “Die Weisse Frau” (The White Lady). This story centers around a German spy during World War I, and though Holmes unravels a mystery, the story is more centered on espionage.

Fans of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic sleuth will appreciate Symonds’ detail in the narrative. In keeping true to the cadence of Doyle’s voice, the reader is afforded the pleasure of forgetting the author isn’t the creator of Holmes but the vessel through which the protagonist continues to live and entertain fans over one hundred years after he first appeared in print. Certainly, this is a tall order for any author, especially with such a well-loved character. Symonds, however, writes as if channeling Doyle. One can almost smell the tobacco smoke as it curls from Holmes’ black clay pipe.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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