It's less than an hour before I leave for Austin when I get news of a review of My Dear Watson in the ALA's GLBT Round Table's newsletter (opens a .pdf, page 7). Check out this sparkling recommendation:
Years after the retirement of Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous fictional detective duo, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson, Fields reconnects the two in this excellent addition to the collection of novels about Doyle’s characters. The catalyst for the meeting in this book is Dr. Watson’s fictional second wife, who wants to meet the man who became her husband’s lover decades earlier.
Doyle uses Watson to document most of the cases that the two detectives solve. Fields uses a fresh approach with Mrs. Watson’s chronicles, in chronological order, of her husband’s experiences with the “strange fellow,” as she describes Holmes. Her observations are interspersed among her recording of the one evening in 1919 when the 65-year-old Holmes comes to dinner, shows a delightful perspective of not only the mysteries but also the background of Victorian/Edwardian culture and language.
It is a grand ride with Mrs. Watson as, with great trepidation, she greets Holmes with her husband by her side, having learned from Watson’s stories that he and Holmes are still lovers. It is an evening of jealous jabs and pointed sparing between the two as they fight over Watson. Yet throughout the evening, her antagonism toward Holmes and her desire to never see him again gradually shifts to a grudging respect and understanding that Watson needs to keep a closeness with Holmes in order to be happy.
The writing resonates far more deeply than just the added development of characters that have fascinated readers for over a century. More than a romance, it shows an amazing warmth and understanding about diverse relationships as well as great fun in following the flashbacks of Holmes’ cases.
My Dear Watson is a great addition to the hundreds of spinoffs to the Sherlock canon, the best of which may have been Laurie King's Mary Russell Series, but it can also act as an introduction to the Holmes stories or stand alone as a really good read. Recommended for all public libraries.
I suddenly and inexplicably can't get "The Mighty Quinn" out of my head, and yes, I printed a copy of this review so I can obsess over it during my flight.