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Book Review: The Return of the Pharaoh

by Caitlin Gonya 3 months ago in book review

My Honest Opinion

I was given a free e-copy of this novel by NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

I have not read anything by Nicholas Meyer before this novel. This is Mr. Meyer’s fifth Sherlock Holmes pastiche, and I believe he did the Great Detective admirable justice.

In 1910, Dr. John Watson travels to Egypt in the hopes that it will cure his wife Juliet of her tuberculosis. While she is in isolation and treatment, Watson runs into Sherlock Holmes, who is in disguise and on a case. A Duke’s wife has inquired his services to search for her missing husband, who has succumbed to the Egyptian mania, searching for an undiscovered tomb and its gold. It doesn’t take much convincing for Watson to join Sherlock on his investigation, despite his current situation. As Sherlock and Watson progress, they discover that the Duke is only one of a group of Egyptologists who have had unfortunate circumstances. Our duo ask for the assistance of Howard Carter to take up the trail before more individuals lose their lives.

Like many others before me, I have read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories. Sherlock Holmes was my first detective, and remains my favorite. I proceed to consume as many of the pastiches as I can, with the continued hope that they will follow the legacy without too much embellishment. Nicholas Meyer does a fantastic job of staying within the expectations of each character in regards to how they handle their frustrations, despairs, and thought processes. I also like how human Holmes was portrayed in this novel. There are many pastiche that make the character aloof and stand-offish as well as rude to even Dr. Watson. While it is known that Sherlock contains his emotions, I cannot help but wonder if individuals are forgetting that these two men have been friends for a long time and have gone through many trials and tribulations. Some pastiches still do not give Dr. Watson enough credit when it comes to learning from Sherlock. Meyer, on the other hand, gives Watson more intelligence by also giving him some key roles to the mystery.

I have also always liked when authors include real historical events and persons in to their stories. Historical fiction can only open so many doors. Knowing that the main characters would need assistance, Meyer uses Howard Carter in the story that makes all of the events plausible. The detail he depicts regarding the environment and the governmental clashes make one believe that they are walking beside Holmes and Watson. It is clear that Meyer did a lot of research for this novel, and there is a recommended list of non-fiction books that he graciously supplied.

The mystery was simple and straightforward. In my opinion, it fell just short of a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle mystery. However, that did not take anything away, because it was so simple. Too much convolution and confusion can make the novel difficult to enjoy, and this was not the case here. I found that because it was so straightforward that it wasn’t until the last chapter that I finally figured out what happened to the Duke. To add to the adventure, there are spies, buried treasure, a desert sandstorm, and crawling around inside a pyramid. If you are someone who is effected by claustrophobia, as I am, some passages may be harder to read than others. But reading them will still make the ending understandable to one character in particular.

Overall I rate this novel 5 out of 5 stars, and will add Nicholas Meyer to my list of authors to follow.

book review

Caitlin Gonya

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Caitlin Gonya
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