by Leonard Goldberg
A woman and her 10-year-old son are walking in a well-to-do neighborhood when a man’s body tumbles down a three-story house.
Scotland Yard takes their statements — and that of a gardener down the street — and concludes that the death of Charles Harrelston is a suicide.
His family has had financial reversals. Harrelston had heavy gambling debts and, in fact, had just lost a game of poker to his friend, physician Christopher Moran.
Two women, however, find this conclusion preposterous. The first is Mary Harrelston, the dead man’s sister, who believes her brother, a decorated soldier, would never take such a cowardly way out of his problems. She plucks up her courage and goes to 221b Baker St. to consult with the famous Dr. John H. Watson, the late Sherlock Holmes’ assistant and chronicler.
The other dubious woman, Joanna Blalock, is Sherlock Holmes’ daughter. She quickly realizes that the facts don’t support the conclusion.
This book is called “the daughter of Sherlock Holmes,” but it could also have been called the sons of Dr. Watson, Inspector Lestrade and executed criminal Sebastian Moran. Author Leonard Goldberg has created offspring of the characters made famous by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who are all chips off the old blocks. If you’re a fan of the Conan Doyle canon, you’ll enjoy this book.
Goldberg leads you through an investigation that results in mostly circumstantial evidence that would never lead to a conviction. In the end, however, through daring and creativity, Mrs. Blalock and the two Dr. Watsons lead the culprit into convicting himself. This story has a definite medical bent, not surprising given that Goldberg himself is a physician. Mrs. Blalock is a former surgical nurse; the younger Dr. Watson is a pathologist; and the elder Dr. Watson is also a physician.
While the evidence builds against Harrelston’s killer, the widowed Mrs. Blalock and the younger Dr. Watson fall sweetly and decorously in love.
Altogether, this is a satisfying, undemanding read. Goldberg is a good writer and develops interesting characters. The book follows the Sherlock Holmes template perfectly.
The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes is the first of a series of mysteries featuring Joanna Blalock, Sherlock Holmes’ daughter. (Note that Goldberg has written contemporary medical thrillers that also feature a character named Joanna Blalock.)
- Study in Treason. Joanna, her second husband John Watson, Jr., and his father Dr. John Watson Sr., are asked to find a stolen copy of a secret treaty between England and France taken from the country estate of Lord Halifax.
- The Disappearance of Alistair Ainsworth. Joanna and the Watson are asked to find a high-ranking English cryptographer, who is being held by the Germans. The Germans hope to pry information about England’s military strategies for the Great War out of the man, Alistair Ainsworth.