Monday, January 26, 2009


One of my favorite things to listen to lately has been the Sherlock Holmes radio play podcast in iTunes. The majority of the ones broadcast are the ones starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, which oddly brings a measure of believability to them. I enjoy them immensely. They have led me to read he Hound of the Baskervilles (I Break for Holmes), which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Normally, I am not one to read books by one authoring featuring another author's characters, but when it comes to author Caleb Carr, I'm willing to make an exception. He is one of the most thorough, masterful tellers of mystery stories I've ever read. His books on Lazslo Kreizler, the Alienist and the Angel of Darkness are two of my favorite books. I reread them repeatedly. My sister Ginna and I both reread them often. They are amazing. When I saw the Italian Secretary, it looked very interesting. I didn't read it right away -- I believe I was in the middle of the final Harry Potter.

I finally picked up the Secretary last Monday (and finished it on Thursday). Carr was faithful to the method Conan Doyle used to tell his stories -- Watson's point of view. Carr was once again masterful in his method of storytelling. I could almost hear Nigel Bruce telling this story, which for me, was like having Watson himself tell me. The story had an element of the supernatural that was never fully explained, which bothered me a little because I don't really care for loose ends. But this loose end had a purpose, and that purpose was for the reader, as well as Watson, to draw her one conclusions. It bugged me enough (not in a bad way) that I was thinking about it for days afterward, wondering what Holmes believed.

There was plenty of history, one of the things Carr, as a history professor, is wonderful at weaving into his stories. It takes place in Edinburgh, a city I have been able to visit, and that made a difference in being able to "be there."

If you like mystery and history, check this one out. Perhaps it will lead you to read the original Holmes stories, or more of Caleb Carr, both of which I highly recommend.

No comments:

Post a Comment