FeaturedHistorical Mysteries

Sherlock Holmes and The Strange Death of Brigadier-General Delves


Loved it! 😍

This tightly crafted tale about Watson shows that war is a tool for the rich and powerful; less about glory than self-interest.

I have reviewed several Sherlock Holmes-related books by the publisher MX. As a fan of the world’s first “consulting detective,” I marvel at how easily the handful of its 500-title Holmesian catalog I sampled capture me. The stories pull me into 19th Century London’s sights, sounds and sensibilities in ways other books on the subject fail. Those who craft under that banner have a talent for authenticity, which elevates the narrative and appeals to even mystery lovers that are not into Holmes.

Tim Symonds’ Sherlock Holmes and the Strange Death of Brigadier-General Delves does more of the same. The novelette in the first part of the book unfurls a mystery that can engage any devotee of the genre. The last third of the book is a trove of background related to Victorian and Early 20th Century England and many topics that arise in the Watson stories. I cannot say it was more interesting that the mystery, but it is guaranteed to show fans Holmes and Watson in a different light.

The tightly crafted narrative is about Watson. Holmes is almost a background figure. Unlike other stories the wheels that turn in the brain are the one-time sidekick’s as he ferrets out the truth of a crime that pulls its backstory from the equally fictional Alfred Lord Tennyson poem, “The Charge of the Light Brigade”.

Holmes’ actions are mostly referenced as Watson compares and contrasts circumstances in The Death of Brigadier-General Delves to previous puzzles.

The voice of Holmes’ partner Dr. John Watson, an ex-army surgeon, is spot-on Victorian. Symonds’ narrative style as Watson gives readers what might have appeared in stories the doctor first released to the public through The Strand, Beeton’s Christmas Annual or Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine. The greatest pleasure is that when the tale ended I asked, Did Watson really not write this?

Symonds uses authentic word orders and terms, as well as the sentence cadences. The book offers great escape from the present horrors of war and violence. Meanwhile Symonds reminds readers that war has often been a tool for the rich and powerful. Readers are sure to come away from the allegory convinced that such mass-scale death is less glory and more self-interest.  

Reviewed by

I am a retired Creative Writing professor who teaches and writes in Central Florida. My fiction, nonfiction and poetry reviews go back more than 30 years in a wide range of publications. In addition to the cited genre areas, I enjoy history, politics, culture, and memoir.

How It Started

About the author

MX Publishing has over 500 Sherlock Holmes books, from short stories to award winning novels and biographies. Over 200 of books have made it into audio and there are more coming. We also have regular campaigns on Kickstarter to promote new projects. view profile

Published on May 08, 2022

Published by MX Publishing

30000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Historical Mysteries

Reviewed by