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Thomas Watson left London two years ago and crossed the Atlantic to become a newspaper reporter in Philadelphia, 1920s Philadelphia, a city that rivals Al Capone's Chicago for its crime and corruption. Why would he go so far from family and friends? Admittedly, he was trying to get away - away from the shadow of his famous father, Dr. John Watson, and his father's even more famous friend, Sherlock Holmes.
Shortly after Thomas leaves London, Sherlock dies, and Dr. Watson takes on the responsibility of caring for Sherlock's older brother, Mycroft. After two short years in which Thomas finds little success in journalism, Dr. Watson dies suddenly; though Thomas stands to inherit his father's estate, he is also saddled with the responsibility of Mycroft, who has mysteriously shown up in Philadelphia, ready to move in. Puzzled by this strange turn of events, Thomas takes a walk and suddenly finds himself caught up in the biggest story of his career a suspicious explosion at a speakeasy, which kills the owner and his card-playing buddies.
The principal suspect of the police is Basil Meridan, a former British butler whom Thomas befriends and Mycroft hires as a servant. Needled into making a bet with a rival reporter that he can solve the mystery, Thomas is immediately hampered in his investigation by his editor, who fires him for spending too much time on a dead-end story. As he attempts to recover from this setback, he is escorted against his will to a meeting with bootlegger Boo Boo Hoff and his goons. They also want to know who the killer is, and provide their own unique encouragement for Thomas to find the solution to the mystery. All this makes it necessary to for him to solve the mystery, or lose his money, his job, maybe even his life. From the scanty clues that Thomas compiles, Mycroft is able to solve the mystery, but he is tight-lipped about the solution after all, Thomas should be able to figure it out himself! But can Thomas discover the murderer before he becomes his next victim?
This book was received free of charge in exchange for an honest review. Not sure if I will do this again because there was a worry that one possible outcome was hating the book and the narration and having to tell about this. Easier to just use up a credit.
Fortunately I liked the book and narration. The Sherlock Holmes connection is handled admirably as we are introduced to Mr. Watson’s son who has moved to the U.S. to become a journalist. The other link to Sherlock is the arrival of his brother Mycroft looking for a place to stay. Thomas Watson who has been relegated to writing obituaries stumbles into a probable gang hit of a speakeasy using an explosive that results in four deaths. He immediately tries to parlay this first hand encounter into getting an item published in his newspaper. Unfortunately the editor is not very confident in this new reporter and he hands over the project to an experienced reporter who sees this as a mob murder.
The best elements for a good mystery are to leave a few crumbs for the amateur sleuth along the way and to sometimes zig when the reader wants to zag. Fessenden accomplishes this and doesn’t trample on the original Sherlock Holmes myth too much by inventing a new character - the son of Mr. Watson and fleshing out a minor character - Mycroft. Thomas Watson is not a super sleuth as he tries to figure out who the killer is. Fortunately he is helped by Mycroft who is brilliantat at detection, yet different than Sherlock. I wasn’t happy with Mr. Watson being recast in his later years as “finding religion” although my wife a huge Sherlock Holmes fan would like that wrinkle that was mentioned briefly. This sets up a meeting with a pious father and daughter midway through the book. She becomes a romantic interest for the bumbling Thomas.
If there is a sequel to this book and they use Paul Woodsen who has now become a distinctive voice for an inspired series, I will definitely purchase it.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
What did you love best about The Case of the Exploding Speakeasy - A Holmes-Watson Detective Team in Jazz-Age Philly!?
The Case of the Exploding Speakeasy is an intriguing tale of Dr. Watson's son. Through a series of events this struggling reporter is forced to solve the mystery of an explosion at a speakeasy in order to keep his job. Working to complete the story he finds himself in danger as he searches for the answer. Sherlock Holme's brother Mycroft Holme's lends a hand, mentoring Dr. Watson's son in this exciting adventure. <br/><br/>This book is a great read! I thoroughly enjoyed the story and premise. It is a fresh take on the original Sherlock Holmes mysteries. I can't recommend this book enough, 5 Stars! I can't wait to see what Mr. Fessenden comes up with next.
What was one of the most memorable moments of The Case of the Exploding Speakeasy - A Holmes-Watson Detective Team in Jazz-Age Philly!?
The exciting conclusion to the mystery, as well as Mycroft Holmes' help throughout the book.
Have you listened to any of Paul Woodson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
I have not, but I thought that he did great with this one.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
I really enjoyed the whole story and thought it was very well written and performed.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?
Holmesian neophytes who are members of the religious right.
What do you think your next listen will be?
Anything not divinely inspired
What didn’t you like about Paul Woodson’s performance?
It wasn't the worst, but after a while several of the characters started sounding the same.
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Case of the Exploding Speakeasy - A Holmes-Watson Detective Team in Jazz-Age Philly!?
Most of the dialog... It is so redundant in many places that you wish the author had been in the explosion himself. It seems that this was a very short story based on content, then stretched into novel length. Guess the author was paid by the word.
Any additional comments?
Try a different divinity for inspiration
0 of 4 people found this review helpful