A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee was this month’s book club read. It was a book I discovered by chance in some ways, being totally out-with my usual periods for historical fiction, and I am so glad I did. At the Granite Noir festival in Aberdeen a couple of months ago, the opening even featured the author being interviewed by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. As my friend is a huge fan of Sturgeon, she was keen to go, and I am always keen to hear about a good historical crime novel.
I have something of a complex relationship with Sherlock Holmes pastiches – sometimes I really enjoy them, sometimes I’m completely ambivalent, sometimes I loathe them – but invariably I pick them apart with the relish of a pedant. Partly it’s because I’m too much of a book snob for my own good, but largely it’s due to the fact that Sherlock Holmes is a series so close to my heart that, although I always want more stories, I have almost unreasonably high standards when it comes to other people playing in the sandpit.
In the last ten days or so, I’ve got through three very different pastiches that between them showcase some of the best elements of Holmes imitations and also some of the reoccurring niggles I have with them. Here is a brief summary of what I thought about them – I will keep it spoiler free for any Holmes fans looking for a new mystery to enjoy.
Here was how I spent my Saturday afternoon at the weekend. This novella is just under 200 pages long, which makes it a trifle difficult to give much of a summary without giving the whole plot away, so this is going to have to be a very concise review.
I was delighted when I saw that crime festival Granite Noir was returning to Aberdeen once more – so rarely do cultural events like this happen any further north than Glasgow or Edinburgh. One event in particular had me really excited to attend: “Familiar Faces, Fantastic Books. In Conversation With Hugh Fraser and Robert Daws” which took place at the Lemon Tree last night.