Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Book Review: Art in the Blood by Bonnie MacBird

“Art in the blood is liable to take the strangest forms.” - Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter.
 
 
“Art in the Blood” is akin to decadent chocolate dessert for the Sherlockian soul. You start devouring it and you just can’t stop until the last spoonful is gone. Enthralling narrative, with the Great Detective and the Good Doctor captured oh-so-beautifully, seductive hints of darkness and poignant insights into the heart of Sherlock himself. I have not been so moved by a pastiche so much since I read The Seven-Per-Cent-Solution by Nicholas Meyer at age 13.

Of course, Bonnie MacBird, after all, is an award-winning scriptwriter and a dedicated Sherlockian – it is only fair to expect a spectacular book from her. But Art in the Blood is beyond spectacular. It is ethereal, displaying an uncanny, hypnotising mix of the “great heart” and the “great mind” we know and love. Bonnie has captured Sherlock Holmes and John Watson so adeptly, I had to read through the book twice just to ensure that I was reading it right and not projecting my own idea of Holmes and Watson onto the book. (And this resulted in an almost-missed flight to one of my favourite cities in the world, followed by a near-fall into the Liffey.) And then there is Mycroft – magnificent, imperious Mycroft Holmes! Murder, mystery and mayhem? Check.

Bonnie has given the book everything a Sherlockian needs and much, much more. She lures you in with a gorgeous cover, and once you start reading, you realise that she has captured the heart, mind and soul of the two men so perfectly that you just can’t put it down. Her repertoire of masterful storytelling, witty dialogues, heart-wrenching drama, meticulous research and well-woven mystery is certainly impressive. Her writing is sublime; you can feel Holmes and Watson around you – so tangible that you can almost touch them. And I kid you not, Sherlockian, there are nail-biting moments and times when you need to give them both a hug – more for your sake than theirs.

I do have a couple of complaints – first is that we have to wait for the next one (subtle hint to author: more, more, more and soon, soon, soon!) and second is the lack of Bonnie’s watercolours (Bonnie’s art is stunning) – but there’s good news; Otto Penzler of The Mysterious Bookshop is producing a limited edition of the book with her artwork, and it’s up for pre-order, so book your copy before it runs out.

I will try and get an interview with Bonnie when she has some time and after I have stopped mooning over the book (and speaking in lurid adjectives). Until then, I can only say – get hold of the book at the earliest; every Rupee and every second you spend on it is well worth it. It releases tomorrow!
 


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