Skip to main content

Book: The Reichenbach Problem

I sit here with a text of The Original Illustrated Sherlock Holmes on one side of my desk, and Martin Allison Booth’s The Reichenbach Problem on my desk. It should be obvious that the latter is utterly dependent on the former for its existence, not only for plot and inspiration, but in the case of genre and popularity.
I will certainly not endeavor to delve into all of the eccentricities of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, though I will point the reader to Jim Weiss’ excellent retelling of Holmes’ stories. As a side note, I first heard Jim Weiss as a storyteller recounting the biography of both Doyle and Holmes. Masterful.
Let us turn attention, instead, to Booth’s The Reichenbach Problem. Booth’s work is an attempt to capture the magic of the Holmes stories by taking a different approach. Rather than rewriting Sherlock or adding to Sir Arthur’s work, The Reichenbach Problem puts the mystery into the hands of one exhausted author, the creator of Holmes, Dr. Arthur Conan Doyle.
I would speak of the negative first. This is the first in a proposed trilogy, and so tries exceedingly hard to build up the potential for the next two while also creating a story line that can be resolved within 369 pages. It is almost too much to try and build the backstory of Doyle, excuse his frustration with Holmes, and solve the mystery. This leads to parts of the work feeling underdeveloped. I would reserve final judgment until the whole series is produced. While as a stand-alone, this might be a 3-star book, a good series would pull it to 4. Likewise, a bad follow-up would pull it down.
Now, the positives. First of all, while there is some spirituality to the book, Booth has done well in The Reichenbach Problem to not Christianize Doyle, who was, based on my understanding, certainly not a believer. I like this: it shows a willingness to work with a character as he is, not as we wish he would be.
Second, I like the development of Doyle into understanding he is not the genius that Holmes is. Booth’s Doyle sees what I have wondered: that Dr. Conan Doyle wrote himself into the Holmes stories as the doctor. He is Watson. Holmes is something greater, more ideal.
I also enjoyed the idea of a man aggravated by his own success. Conan Doyle wrote many other works besides the Holmes stories, yet the Royal Mail still delivers to 221 B Baker Street, even to this day. The obvious affection for Holmes grates on the Conan Doyle of The Reichenbach Problem, and this makes the odd gentleman of history a little more real.
This was a fun read. It is not as complex of a mystery as some of the actual Sherlock Holmes tales, but The Reichenbach Problem remains a worthwhile diversion. I cannot help but wonder, though, if Booth will remind us that it is at Reichenbach Falls that Sir Arthur first killed Holmes…
Note: Kregel Publishers, on behalf of Lion Fiction, sent me this book to review. No monetary compensation was given, nor is any control exercised over the content of this review.


Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Curiosity and the Faithlife Study Bible

Good morning! Today I want to take a look at the NIV Faithlife Study Bible. Rather than spend the whole post on this particular Study Bible, I’m going to hit a couple of highlights and then draw you through a few questions that I think this format helps with.

First, the basics of the NIV Faithlife Study Bible (NIVFSB, please): the translation is the 2011 New International Version from Biblica. I’m not the biggest fan of that translation, but that’s for another day. It is a translation rather than a paraphrase, which is important for studying the Bible. Next, the NIVFSB is printed in color. Why does that matter? This version developed with Logos Bible Software’s technology and much of the “study” matter is transitioning from screen to typeface. The graphics, maps, timelines, and more work best with color. Finally, you’ve got the typical “below-the-line” running notes on the text. Most of these are explanations of context or highlights of parallels, drawing out the facts that we miss by …

Foolishness: 1 Corinthians 1

In Summary: 1 Corinthians opens with the standard greeting of a letter from the Apostle Paul. He tells who he is with (Sosthenes) and who he is writing to. In this case, that is the “church of God that is in Corinth.” He further specifies that this church is made up of those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be saints. 
He then expresses the blessing/greeting of “grace and peace” from God. From there, Paul reflects on his initial involvement with the Corinthian people and the beginning of the church. After that, though, there are problems to deal with and Paul is not hesitant to address them. He begins by addressing the division within the church. Apparently, the church had split into factions, some of which were drawn to various personalities who had led the church in times past. There is no firm evidence, or even a suggestion, that Paul, Cephas, Apollos, or anyone else had asked for a faction in their name. Further, the “I follow Christ” faction may not have been any le…