I always approach the sequel to a book I liked a bit apprehensively. Will it be as good as its predecessor, or something more along the lines of Mark Twain's almost forgotten Tom Sawyer Abroad and Tom Sawyer, Detective?
Happily, Amy Thomas's The Detective, The Woman, and the Winking Tree lives up to the high standard of last year's The Detective and The Woman. As with her inaugural foray into Sherlockian pastiche, Ms. Thomas presents a plausible portrait of Irene Adler and, importantly, her relationship with Sherlock Holmes.
The earlier book was set in Florida and featured a number of historical characters, including Thomas Edison. Wisely, the author brings us now to the Sussex Downs, where Irene is living in the cottage Holmes bought for his retirement. Here she helps the detective solve the mysterious disappearance of Mr. James Phillimore, an always-intriguing case which I also tackled in The Adventure of the Magic Umbrella.
The solution to the disappearance is rather simple, but the secret of the murder that follows is more complex. This is a good detective story, as well as a good pastiche. It's also very well written. In some places it approaches poetry, as in this passage:
The slight breeze through the leaves whispered my name Irene Adler on the wind, and I thought of who I was: The Woman, who had known few good men and loved even fewer. I slipped off my shoes and stepped onto the grass, enjoying the sensation on the bottoms of my feet.Like almost every Sherlock Holmes pastiche writer, Amy Thomas has created a kind of alternate universe around her own version of the story between the lines of the Canon -- what was going on that Dr. Watson never told us. I look forward to entering that universe again and again.
The Detective, The Woman and The Winking Tree is available from all good bookstores and e-bookstores worldwide including in the USA Amazon,Barnes and Noble and Classic Specialities - and in all electronic formats including Amazon Kindle , iTunes(iPad/iPhone) and Kobo.