Book Review – Who Killed Sherlock Holmes?

  • Title: Who Killed Sherlock Holmes?
  • Author: Paul Cornell
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 12/06/2016

Who Killed Sherlock Holmes? is the third book in Paul Cornell’s Shadow Police series. Like it’s predecessors – it’s a very intense, but also somewhat violent and depressing read. Quill and his team are back – and everyone is dealing with some pretty heavy stuff from the previous two novels. Quill even suffers a breakdown from the knowledge he gained at the end of the previous book, The Severed Streets.

Who Killed Sherlock Holmes begins with a murder and (separately) an unusual bank robbery. The novel bit by bit ties together the various crimes that the Team investigates. The murders, even from the beginning, seem to be linked to the famous Sherlock Holmes stories – then the ghost of Holmes is murdered. But as the team investigate and try to prevent further murders – the situation becomes more and more complicated. Then Quill has his breakdown and begins to see Moriarty. However, considering Holmes himself was murdered – this novel doesn’t take the easy and predictable route to a conclusion.

The novel has many twists and turns – which I’m not going to spoil. It is much better to read this book and discover them for yourself.

The characterization in this book is awesome. Several of the characters – Ross, Rebecca Lofthouse, Costain, Sefton, and Quill, all go through major life-changing events. The characters have always made this series of unique crime novels for me – and this novel in particular adds and changes the characters’ experiences (and I cannot wait to read more!). We also, finally, find out more about the previous “Continuing Projects Team” and what happened to them.

I don’t want to spoil the story – but in general terms, the murders in the book are connected by the resemblance to murders in Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories – and the fact that the victims had at one point in their lives played Sherlock Holmes. London is also experiencing “Holmes-mania” because three different Sherlock Holmes productions are filming in London at the same time. But that is the background, and the plot – what makes this novel really work is the characters and their own, individual, dramas. Highly recommended!

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