There’s been a bit of Sherlockian buzz about the new novel Mycroft Holmes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse. I’ll review it here soon.
Even before I opened the front cover, however, it hit me how fascinating readers – and writers – find the character of Mycroft Holmes. This isn’t the first novel about him. Moreover, he’s probably one of the most popular characters in Holmes pastiches. Why is that?
You may have your own reasons. Here are mine:
· We don’t know very much about him, so there’s plenty of room to fill in imaginatively. Mycroft only appears in two Canonical short stories, and is mentioned in two others.
· He’s Sherlock Holmes’s smarter brother, who could have been an even greater detective than Sherlock. That’s endlessly intriguing.
· Mycroft belongs to the Diogenes Club, the club for the most unsociable of men. At least two other detectives belong to the Diogenes – Solar Pons and Sir Henry Merrivale.
· He is a lot like Nero Wolfe, except that he doesn’t come with a whole cast of wonderful characters (Archie Goodwin, Fritz Brenner, Saul Panzer, etc.) in orbit around him.