The Back to Front Murder is a new Sherlock Holmes novel written by Tim Major. This is another in the range presented by Titan Books.
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson are engaged by a young female mystery writer when a man she was following, imagining how she would kill him as a means of researching her next book actually ends up dead. He apparently was poisoned after drinking from a water fountain near an art gallery that he frequented. The writer uses a male pseudonym in order to keep making her preferred living. Holmes starts to unravel a much more complicated history of the deceased that has roots in Paris.
First of all, the title is just awful. Th plot itself shows some creativity, which is a good start. I just thought the characters came off as somewhat flat. I didn’t find the client all that interesting or sympathetic. Major seems to have the germ of a good story idea, but he somehow falters in the execution. I am grateful that Major managed to avoid the tendency of other Holmes pastiche writers to have some curse or wayward spirit at the heart of this. The book got a bit more interesting as Holmes was approaching the solution. There are some flashback chapters that reveal the victim’s history that were not badly presented. I guess the idea is for these writers to emulate the style of Arthur Conan Doyle, but Major just appears to miss that mark. I will conclude on a positive note that Major does show some promise in his basic story idea and in that he is at least a competent writer. Maybe his next Sherlock Holmes contribution will show some improvement.
The next literary indulgence from the ever growing stack is Lawrence Block’s The Canceled Czech.