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The Italian Secretary: A Further Adventure…

The Italian Secretary: A Further Adventure of Sherlock Holmes (2005)

by Caleb Carr

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
By 3 1/2 chapters and we have not even left London yet????? If I wanted a history lesson of Mary Queen Of Scots I would have gotten a history book ( )
  LGandT | Jul 4, 2018 |
The Italian Secretary by Caleb Carr is a Sherlock Holmes pastiche. It kept me entertained while a cold kept me miserable. I did find being reminded of some of the tragic history of Mary, Queen of Scots interesting. (David Rizzo, murdered by her husband and others, is the secretary of the title.) There are touches of the supernatural. My thanks go to the games at https://schoolhistory.co.uk/ , which enabled me to correctly guess the villains' chief weapon.

Simon Prebble's narration was fine. The verbal sibling sniping between Sherlock and Mycroft was fun. I do wonder how Mycroft managed to get to one of the scenes without collapsing, though. ( )
  JalenV | May 22, 2018 |
I don’t know why I keep reading Caleb Carr books. I haven’t found any I like; there’s just some sort of annoying undercurrent in all of them.The Italian Secretary is, unfortunately, no exception. This Sherlock Holmes pastiche has a telegraphed plot and a ridiculous murder weapon. Carr introduces spurious detail in an attempt at authenticity; for example, in the Conan Doyle stories Watson, when armed, uses his “service revolver” while Carr makes it a “Webley”. Well, if Carr had actually paid attention to the canon he would have note that Watson was invalided out of the army after a jezail bullet wound at the 1880 Battle of Miawand in the Second Afghan War and the Webley wasn’t introduced until 1887; Watson would have carried either a Beaumont-Adams or an Enfield Mark I. Similarly, in a battle in Holyroodhouse, Watson, with the entire palace gunroom at his disposal, outfits himself with a .375 Holland and Holland rifle, a singularly inappropriate weapon for a close-quarters battle and not introduced until 1912. The whole book is full of stuff like this. Not recommended unless you’re an obsessive Holmes collector. ( )
  setnahkt | Dec 25, 2017 |
This was an audio edition for me, and sad to say, but the mystery was flat. It started off well; however.. (sigh). I enjoy Sherlock Holmes and his "brighter" brother, Mycroft's bantering - I just wish the mystery rose to that level. ( )
  lollyletsgo | Aug 10, 2017 |
This book was great fun and let Carr's sense of humor shine out in a way that it hadn't in the Kreizler novels. And the idea put forth in the afterword of a teaming up of Holmes and Kreizler makes me dizzy with possibility. ( )
  kalinichta | Jun 30, 2017 |
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Caleb Carrprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lee, WillCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prebble, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Hilary Hale best of friends, finest of editors, without whom I would never have seen Holyroodhouse and for Suki "s.w.m.b.o.
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The published compendium of the many adventures that I undertook in the company of Mr. Sherlock Holmes contains only a few examples of those occasions on which we entered a variety of service that no loyal subject of this realm may refuse.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312939132, Mass Market Paperback)

Although Sherlock Holmes categorically dismissed, in "The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire," supernatural explanations for corporeal crimes ("This Agency stands flat-footed upon the ground, and there it must remain. ... No ghosts need apply"), one of the most popular among Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Holmes tales is The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902), in which the fate of a Devonshire family supposedly hangs on the savage appetites of an apparitional beast. More than a century later, in The Italian Secretary, Caleb Carr again presents the hawk-faced consulting detective with a yarn woven of paranormal plot threads, the mystery this time rooted in the fatal 16th-century stabbing of David Rizzio, a music teacher and confidant to Mary, Queen of Scots.

For Holmes and his affable annalist, Dr. John Watson, this spirited escapade begins sometime in the late 19th century with their receipt, in London, of an encrypted telegram from Sherlock's eccentric elder brother, Mycroft, "a senior but anonymous government official." It summons them to Edinburgh, Scotland, where architect Sir Alistair Sinclair and his foreman, Dennis McKay, have been slain in the midst of rehabilitating the medieval west tower of the Royal Palace of Holyrood--the very wing where Queen Mary had lived, and where Rizzio had met his brutal, politically motivated end. Mycroft fears these murders portend new threats against Britain's present monarch--the elderly Queen Victoria, who infrequently lodges at the palace--by a known assassin, perhaps in nefarious league with the German Kaiser. En route north, Holmes and Watson are menaced aboard their train by a red-bearded bomb thrower (supposedly a rabid Scots nationalist), only to discover that still greater dangers await them, and others, at Holyroodhouse. The plaintive drone of a weeping woman, cruelly punctured and shattered corpses, a pool of blood "that never dries," and a disembodied Italian voice with unexpected musical tastes all imply the wrath of wraiths behind recent atrocities. But Holmes and Watson deduce that greed, rather than ghosts, may be to blame.

Carr, who earned renown with his historical mysteries, The Alienist (1994) and The Angel of Darkness (1997), apparently intended The Italian Secretary to be a short story; however, he couldn't stop writing. The result is a fleet-footed, atmospherically gothic, and often amusing Holmes tale (with an exposition scene in Watson's bed chamber that’s truly priceless), but one that makes scant attempt to enhance our understanding of Conan Doyle's characters--a less ambitious undertaking, in that respect, than Mitch Cullin's concurrently published A Slight Trick of the Mind. And while Carr displays a gift here for adopting another author's literary techniques, it is really his own style and series players that his fans are waiting to see more of in the future. --J. Kingston Pierce

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:41 -0400)

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Legendary detective Sherlock Holmes finds himself on the trail of a murderer whose connections may run all the way up the social ladder to the royal family.

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