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Mycroft and Sherlock by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
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Mycroft and Sherlock (edition 2018)

by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Author), Anna Waterhouse (Author)

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1839123,005 (3.97)6
The new novel by NBA All-Star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, starring brothers Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes. It is 1872, and a series of gruesome murders is the talk of London. Mycroft Holmes--now twenty-six and a force to be reckoned with at the War Office--has no interest in the killings; however, his brother Sherlock has developed a distasteful fascination for the macabre to the detriment of his studies, much to Mycroft's frustration. When a ship carrying cargo belonging to Mycroft's best friend Cyrus Douglas runs aground, Mycroft persuades Sherlock to serve as a tutor at the orphanage that Douglas runs as a charity, so that Douglas might travel to see what can be salvaged. Sherlock finds himself at home among the street urchins, and when a boy dies of a suspected drug overdose, he decides to investigate, following a trail of strange subterranean symbols to the squalid opium dens of the London docks. Meanwhile a meeting with a beautiful Chinese woman leads Mycroft to the very same mystery, one that forces him to examine the underbelly of the opium trade that is enriching his beloved Britain's coffers. As the stakes rise, the brothers find that they need one another's assistance and counsel. But a lifetime of keeping secrets from each other may have catastrophic consequences...… (more)
Member:pussreboots
Title:Mycroft and Sherlock
Authors:Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Author)
Other authors:Anna Waterhouse (Author)
Info:Titan Books (2018), 281 pages
Collections:Your library, Read in 2022
Rating:***
Tags:mystery, ebook, series

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Mycroft and Sherlock by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
This second novel in the series starring Mycroft Holmes draws his brother Sherlock into the tale, with uneven results.

The first thing you need to understand is that this is NOT the Mycroft Holmes depicted in the canon - the brilliant but misanthropic plotter, the languorous, corpulent spider at the center of a web of international affairs that he manipulates by the sheer force of his intellect, the man who Sherlock describes as possessing "a specialism in omniscience." As reimagined by Abdul-Jabbar and Waterhouse, this Mycroft is no less brilliant but still young, working his way up through the government ministry of war, worldly, popular with his peers, engaged in the world, and quite the athlete, especially when it comes to brawls. His "Watson" is Cyrus Douglas, a Trinidadian shop-owner who functions as Mycroft's best friend, voice of reason, and conscience.

Mycroft is also, in this universe, the consistently frustrated and disappointed elder brother of Sherlock, as unpleasant a sibling as you could hope to have: arrogant, disrespectful, idle, sullen, and ungrateful. Tasked with finishing up his college degree, the only thing this youthful Sherlock seems to know for sure is that he could care less about earning a college degree - he'd much rather be doing chemistry experiments, reading the agony columns in hope of some interesting problem to tax his intellect, manipulating people for the fun of it, or practicing his fighting techniques with syncophantic peers.

As in the previous novel, the plot is a ridiculously overcomplicated affair, this time featuring a gruesome serial murderer hunting the city's limited Asian population, boys (alive and dead) covered in puncture marks as if from repeated injections, mysterious Chinese characters etched into the walls of subway platforms, a beautiful Chinese woman who's father is up to something, creepy oversized porcelain dolls, Shanghaiid sailors, Australian gold coins that shouldn't exist, punt races on the Thames, opium dens, and a possible impending international economic collapse ... and if all that leaves you winded, wait until you try to keep it all sorted out as the various plots straight as they start to interwine in increasingly preposterous ways.

What I liked about the novel: (1) The writing is uncommonly good, especially the dialog and the historical detail. Cliched dialog is one of the banes of Holmes pastiches, but the authors have done a good job of making this feel original and genuine; (2) We aren't just repeatedly told that Mycroft is brilliant - we actually get to enjoy watching him make some fairly spectacular deductions; and (3) the interplay between the Holmes boys is cleverly conceived and rather fun.

What I didn't like about the novel: (1) the senselessly complex plot - assuming I actually understand what was going on, this has to be one of the most ridiculously over-complicated and inefficient crimes I've ever encountered! (2) Mycroft & Douglas are constantly getting physically attacked upon the most unlikely provocation, as if the authors - straining to add excitement - have only this one trick up their sleeve; and (3) overuse of deus ex machina - waaaay too many coincidences! Most readers are willing to suspend a measure of disbelief in return for narrative flow, but at some point even I found myself thinking: "All this you figured out because you happened to oversee a conversation/a woman coming out of a store/a carriage leaving a neighborhood?" Clues are meant to be meticulously ferreted out - they shouldn't hit the detective in the forehead the pianos falling out of so many upper-story windows.

Based on the creativity and originality of the writing I may read the third book in this series, but it makes me sad to think about out just a little editing could make these so much better. ( )
  Dorritt | May 14, 2022 |
in 1872 London, a number of gruesome murders have taken place. These killings have caught the attention of Mycroft Holmes brother Sherlock. Being in the War Office, these murders are of no interest to Mycroft until he has a meeting with a beautiful Chinese woman. Can the Holmes brothers stop any further killings? ( )
  lewilliams | May 19, 2021 |
Great job of portraying a young Sherlock and explaining why Mycroft didn't go on to more adventures like he had in the first Mycroft book. ( )
  Jerry.Yoakum | Jan 2, 2020 |
I had no idea Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was a author of fiction. I guess he has written a few of these. This is my first. Well paced and interesting. I’ve enjoyed the book. A good addition to the Sherlock Holmes tradition. ( )
  tkgbjenn1 | Sep 15, 2019 |
This book was a huge (and terrific) surprise to me.

I knew that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was both a former NBA player and a writer; I’ve read and enjoyed some of his columns and was familiar with the titles of his non-fiction work. But I had no idea that he wrote fiction, too. Imagine my surprise when I discovered Mycroft and Sherlock in the new mysteries section of the library.

That Kareem Abdul-Jabbar? I thought. The basketball player? The columnist? Writing about Sherlock Holmes and his brother? This is awesome! I shoved it into my sturdy “library bag.”

It was more than awesome.

Mycroft’s best friend Cyrus Douglas has just lost a cargo ship and must travel to see what can be salvaged from the shipwreck. This leaves his charity school in need of assistance. Mycroft persuades his younger brother Sherlock, currently obsessed with a series of murders in London, to substitute teach at the charity school. (Opinion: Yikes!) When one of the orphans dies of a drug overdose, Sherlock begins to investigate. Meanwhile, Mycroft has uncovered a mystery of his own involving the opium trade. The two brothers’ simultaneous investigations prove to be connected, but can they learn to trust each other enough to solve the cases together?

I’m not a huge Sherlock Holmes fan and the few other Sherlock-inspired novels I’ve read have been fine, but nothing exciting for me. This book excited me.

There’s all the usual things you’d expect of a book with the infamous detective as a character. Clever plotting. Interesting characters who deduce important things from details that most of us would overlook. Well-researched historical details, including the rampant opium trade and use during that time period.

But what I truly loved was the relationships between the characters.

Mycroft’s relationship with the supersmart African Cyrus Douglas, and how they rely on and trust one another. Cyrus has to keep his intelligence hidden from the world, though. This leads to situations where he must “play dumb” with his employees, even when he’s their boss and the richest man in the room. For example, he funds a charity school for young boys. But he can’t openly tell the boys or the teachers that he is the director of the school. So he pretends to be the trusted employee of a fictional man who is benevolent, sickly, and never seen by the pupils. Only a few people realize the truth. Mycroft is one of them.

The relationship between Mycroft and Sherlock is intriguing, too. Sherlock is still in school but as you’d expect, he’s a difficult student to handle. Easily bored. Manipulative. Arrogant. Older brother Mycroft is both exasperated and concerned for his young brother. He feels an obligation and love toward him that young Sherlock seems incapable of seeing or returning. There’s a heart-wrenching backstory about the brothers, which the authors use well.

This is a well-written novel. It’s a sequel to Abdul-Jabbar and Waterhouse’s Mycroft, but you don’t have to have read the first novel to enjoy this one. I hope the duo write more about the Holmes brothers.

This review appeared on http://meredithrankin.home.blog/2019/01/18/book-review-mycroft-and-sherlock-by-k... ( )
  MeredithRankin | Jun 7, 2019 |
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The new novel by NBA All-Star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, starring brothers Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes. It is 1872, and a series of gruesome murders is the talk of London. Mycroft Holmes--now twenty-six and a force to be reckoned with at the War Office--has no interest in the killings; however, his brother Sherlock has developed a distasteful fascination for the macabre to the detriment of his studies, much to Mycroft's frustration. When a ship carrying cargo belonging to Mycroft's best friend Cyrus Douglas runs aground, Mycroft persuades Sherlock to serve as a tutor at the orphanage that Douglas runs as a charity, so that Douglas might travel to see what can be salvaged. Sherlock finds himself at home among the street urchins, and when a boy dies of a suspected drug overdose, he decides to investigate, following a trail of strange subterranean symbols to the squalid opium dens of the London docks. Meanwhile a meeting with a beautiful Chinese woman leads Mycroft to the very same mystery, one that forces him to examine the underbelly of the opium trade that is enriching his beloved Britain's coffers. As the stakes rise, the brothers find that they need one another's assistance and counsel. But a lifetime of keeping secrets from each other may have catastrophic consequences...

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