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.
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.
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.