Mini-Reviews: Medina Hill, Sherlock Holmes: The Hidden Years, The Veiled Detective

139. Medina Hill by Trilby Kent
Publication: Tundra Books (October 13, 2009), Hardcover, 176pp / ISBN 0887768881
Genre: MG Fiction
Rating:
Read: June 27-28, 2010
Source: Library

Review

I really wanted to like this book more than I did. It reminded me a bit of the books I used to read as a kid, the ones that tried to take big problems (social, familial, whatever) and break them up into small enough chunks so kids could digest them easier. I like that ambition in a book, and Medina Hill tries to tackle some very big issues like prejudice, illness, and personal courage. However…it just wasn’t as interesting as I had hoped it’d be. It was actually kind of boring.

The writing was good! I just wished Ms Kent had gone further with the plotline. Not to preach or shove anything down the reader’s throat, just to ramp up the tension and excitement, make it less of a sleepy book and more like a Jacqueline Woodson novel, I guess. (Not that I think anybody else could be J.W. except J.W. I just wanted Medina Hill to be more powerful overall.)

140. Sherlock Holmes: The Hidden Years, edited by Michael Kurland
Publication: Minotaur Books (November 4, 2004), Hardback, 400pp / ISBN 0312315139
Genre: Mystery, Crime
Rating:
Read: June 20-30, 2010
Source: Library

Review

I love the idea behind this book: “what did Sherlock Holmes do in the intervening years between his supposed death and his resurrection?” And the stories in the collection have some very interesting ideas, some of which was when Holmes went to America and bothered the detectives on that side of the pond. However, the crappy ones were very crappy, and it’s lucky I’ve forgotten about them now because otherwise I think I would have rated The Hidden Years even lower. Overall, it’s a mediocre collection, because the crap stories drag the whole thing down and not even the good stories entirely bring it back up again. Maybe get it from your library instead of buying it.

Stories I particularly liked: Carolyn Wheat’s “Water From the Moon,” which had a very interesting secondary police chief character that wasn’t bumbling and was, furthermore, Indian; Bill Pronzini’s “The Bughouse Caper,” which is a crossover with his Quincannon character and has some very funny scenes on how he thinks of Holmes (hint: not kindly); Caroline Bugge’s “The Strange Case of the Voodoo Priestess,” which is set in New Orleans and has a real feel for the area/time period.

141. The Veiled Detective by David Stuart Davies
Publication: Titan Books (November 17, 2009), Paperback, 256pp / ISBN 1848564902
Genre: Mystery, Crime
Rating:
Read: July 1-2, 2010
Source: Library

Review

No lie: I hated this book. I like the idea of turning everything on its head and assuming that Moriarty was controlling Holmes’ life from the very beginning, but the execution was weak and I hated the writing. Furthermore, it was boring. If I was re-rating this I’d seriously consider giving it only one bird instead of two, but I did like the way Holmes was presented in it and so I’m keeping it at two. But seriously. Did not like.

(Love that cover, though.)

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5 Comments

  1. Have you seen the new BBC Sherlock adaptation yet? It has Martin Freeman in it, and the rapist from Atonement. (I wish I could describe him some other way but that seems to be the thing everyone has seen this dude in. He has a weird face.)

    • I’ve got the first episode but I haven’t watched it yet. 😀 I’m kinda disappointed with the actors/writers/whatevers being so firmly anti-gay Holmes, though (although they PRETEND they’re okay with it), especially considering the 2009 movie was so Holmes/Watson friendly. I’m worried my disappointment might cloud my judgment of the show.

  2. Odd, I thought the first episode was very much tongue in cheek about how they were a gay couple, and the landlady thinks they are too, and they end up going on a date. It is rather funny seeing Watson struggling with his homophobia, then just accepting Sherlock as part of his life (or ‘needs’ as one character describes his relationship with Holmes).

    I’ve found the Greene series (oddly with green spines) of Rivals to Sherlock Holmes and such to be the best, as his research of the period in terms of authors is unrivaled, he really excells as a detective fiction anthology creator.

    But like you, I find most others to be disappointing. Dolye had a very odd style and I never found a similar one except a single parody and then Gosick.

    • Anastasia

      Wow, I didn’t read John as homophobic at all in that episode. I thought he was just trying to get to know his roommate better (or he was flirting with Sherlock, but since he’s straight then I guess not. *totally rolling my eyes here*).

      Anyway, my earlier comment was referring to some interviews given by some of the cast/writers that said while they’re going to make fun of the “are they a couple” thing, Holmes and Watson are definitely not gay in the new series. That’s fine, but I had to wonder– why would it be so bad if they WERE gay? Or so what if Holmes was gay?

      Is it really such a big deal that they had to specifically make a point saying he wasn’t? To me, it felt like they were saying that just to calm down the homophobic Holmes fans who wouldn’t be able to stand even an “are they a couple” joke without knowing for sure that both parties were straight, like it made it “safe.” And for me, I’m like: What’s wrong with a little danger?

      Hope that makes sense. 😀

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