by Mick Finlay
Review by Gayle Surrette
MIRA Trade Paperback / eBook ISBN/ITEM#: 9780778330943
Date: 01 August 2017 List Price $15.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
William Arrowood hates Sherlock Holmes with a passion. He believes that Holmes is popular only because he has Watson to write up his successes and ignore his failures. So Holmes gets all the press and everyone knows his name. If you can't afford Holmes, or your case is too dull for him, you seek out Arrowood. Thus Caroline Cousture came to Arrowood for help to find her brother, Terry.
Luckily for Arrowood, his assistant Barnett, knowing they needed the money and thus the work, maneuvered Arrowood into taking her case. Neither of them trusted Miss Cousture. Arrowood claimed she was lying, but as to which of her statements were lies, he couldn't quick decide. They took the case even though it would force them to deal with the dastardly man who'd killed one of their informants for no other reason than he could and it would upset them.
Once they began their inquiries, they found the case was far more serious than a missing brother. There was some sort of smuggling operation, the Fenians, an American who seemed to scare their nemesis, and members of Scotland Yard that didn't seem to care too much about rules or law. Arrowood and Barnett were beaten, threatened, and blackmailed. Was the case worth it? And all this was while Arrowood was dealing with his sister who had moved back in with him and while Barnett had his own personal problems to deal with.
Barnett is the point of view character for as he's telling the tale of this case. Perhaps the similarities between Arrowood and Holmes also stretch to the partner who narrates the tales and a police officer who is willing to take the credit while they do the work.
There's multiple plotlines, interesting characters, and hardly any clue that isn't twisty or leading them into further danger. Arrowood studies people while Holmes studies clues, but the reader still gets a mystery worth reading.