THE LIFE, WORK AND CHRONICLES OF JEFF KOYEN: REFORMED ITINERANT, OCCASIONAL WRITER AND FRIEND TO ALMOST ALL DOGS

The Italian Secretary
By Caleb Carr
Caleb Carr is hardly the first writer to body-snatch the world's most famous detective; Sherlock Holmes stories were penned by others even when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself was alive. The Italian Secretary was commissioned by the Doyle estate, yes, and is worthy of what is called "the Canon"but it stands as little more than a crossword puzzle for trainspotting Sherlockians.
Rich with local flavor yet ultimately superficial, Secretary is, like most of the originals, told by Dr. Watson. In this case, the famous duo investigates a double murder in Scotland that may or may not have a supernatural culprit. As always, Carr is without peer when it comes to historical detail, but fans of his plot-thick potboilers may be disappointed.
Let's hope that Carr returns to the Dr. Laszlo Kreizler mythology set forth in The Alienist and The Angel of Darkness. His original work is far more compelling than this highbrow fan fiction.