A Study in Treason by Leonard Goldberg - REVIEW
A Study in Treason (The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes Mysteries #2) by Leonard Goldberg Publication Date: June 12th, 2018 Publisher: Minotaur Books Genre: Mystery
Synopsis: The following case has not previously been disclosed to the public due to the sensitive information on foreign affairs. All those involved were previously bound by the Official Secrets Act. With the passage of time and the onset of the Great War, these impediments have been removed and the story can now be safely told. When an executed original of a secret treaty between England and France, known as the French Treaty, is stolen from the country estate of Lord Halifax, Scotland Yard asks Joanna, Dr. John Watson, Jr., and Dr. John Watson, Sr. to use their keen detective skills to participate in the hunt for the missing treaty. As the government becomes more restless to find the missing document and traditional investigative means fail to turn up the culprit, Joanna is forced to devise a clever plan to trap the thief and recover the missing treaty. Told from the point of view of Dr. John Watson, Jr. in a style similar to the original Sherlock Holmes stories, A Study in Treason is based partly on facts in our world and partly on the facts left to us by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Thoughts: Like many readers, I love the mysteries of Sherlock Holmes. I love the deductions, the twists and the inevitable reveal of all of the clues that come together and tells you whodunnit. Needless to say, hearing about a series that carries on Holmes’ legacy with his daughter, had me intrigued. I lived off of reading Nancy Drew as a kid and having another female sleuth to read about is right up my ally. I did receive this book as a Christmas gift and I admit that when I first opened it up, the cover immediately made me think it was a middle-grade or young adult book but it is in fact a literary mystery where are main characters are in their mid to late 20s. The cover design doesn’t really cater to the age demographic it is meant for. While I am not sold on most mystery books, the ones that I enjoy most are those that don’t give away the gambit right from the get-go and I feel like that has everything to do with the writer and how their story unfolds for the reader. In particular, with A Study in Treason, Goldberg has decided to follow the lead of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in writing this series from the viewpoint of someone other than the Master of Deduction lead. Writing in this way, does not give you insight into the inner workings of the genius that is Sherlock’s daughter aside from what she chooses to share vocally. Additionally, Goldberg kept his writing to be mainly dialog and having less focus on the details of exposition, he does not allow the narrator (or reader for that matter) to be omniscient. The reader can’t know all of the details because the narrator himself does not know and we are all at the mercy of what we are told. Now this can be a pro but also a con as it means that if you do not like heavy dialog stories, this will not be for you. I am personally not a huge fan of such heavy dialog as it does not offer much scope for the imagination. I know that may not be the intent of a mystery where the main character is supremely facts-oriented but I do like to be able to put myself into the story in one way or another. For lack of a better word, the general story is not overly imaginative. It plays out a good mystery but does not offer much depth. This could be because it is still in the early stages of the series and I admittedly did not realize this was book 2 until I had already begun reading it so there could be details I’ve missed from the first book but it seemed very… clinical. Again, it does fit the personality of Sherlock so if that was what the author aimed for, then I’d say he did it well. To further my point of needing more imagination, the names of his characters were shockingly all the same - or with just slight variations. We have: Dr. John Watson Sr., Dr. John Watson Jr., Sherlock’s daughter Joanna, her son Johnnie as well as her late husband John. I mean… I know it’s a popular name but come on. A very good aspect of this book is that I let myself just go along for the ride. I had my suspicions about whodunnit but never let my mind linger too much because I wanted to watch the clues be revealed. The idea of the French Treaty and the implications for the time period and the oncoming world war really does interest me and if this series is meant to eventually have Joanna and Dr. John Watson Jr. solve crimes in the midst of the war, I am on board. It is a series that I would continue with but I don’t necessarily feel the need to run out and get the next one immediately.