The Italian Secretary

The Italian Secretary

A Further Adventure of Sherlock Holmes

Book - 2005
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Caleb Carr's novel, The Alienest , was a blockbuster international bestseller and positioned its author as a modern master of the historical thriller. Now, in The Italian Secretary, Carr reaches back further, to the age of opium dens and Jack the Ripper, when fictional detective Sherlock Holmes made the science of murder as real as the gore on a killer's hands...


Mycroft Holmes's encoded message to his brother, Sherlock, is unsubtle enough even for Dr. Watson to decipher: a matter concerning the safety of Queen Victoria herself calls them to Edinburgh's Holyroodhouse to investigate the confounding and gruesome deaths of two young men--horrific incidents that took place with Her Highness in residence. The victims were crushed in a manner surpassing human power. And while recent attempts on Her Majesty's life raise a number of possibilities, these intrigues also seem strangely connected to an act of evil that took place centuries earlier...

For indeed, the slaying of David Rizzio, music master and friend to Mary, Queen of Scots, was an extraordinarily brutal and treacherous act--even for a time when brutality and treachery were the order of the day. Now, the ghosts of Holyroodhouse are being reawakened by someone with a diabolical agenda of greed, madness, and terror as Holmes and Watson set out to trap a killer who is eager to rewrite history in blood...

Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Griffin, [2005]
Copyright Date: ©2005
ISBN: 9780312352042
Branch Call Number: CAR
Characteristics: 266 pages


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Aug 10, 2017

Although I love the original Holmes stories that I read growing up, invariably I am disappointed when I try one of the Holmes stories written by others. This one has cured me of the desitre to read any more Holmes pastiches.

Being a fan of mysteries with supernatural overtones, I thought I would try this. But I gave up long before the ghost (or whatever) was introduced -- before they even arrived in Scotland, in fact. Talk, talk, talk, even when there was some action. This has convinced me to reread Doyle's books if I am in the mood for a Sherlock Holmes story, and not try any of the imitators.

KateHillier Sep 03, 2013

***Warning! Slight spoilers ahead!!***

Not a bad crack at Holmes from the author of one of my all time favourite books (The Alienist). Holmes and Watson are really a team here and I really like the way they play off each other off the cuff. I mean its something that you expect that they have between them but I love me a competent Watson and I love that Carr has a Watson who is capable of working on his own line with Holmes following suit as much as vice versa.

I love the use of Mycroft in any Holmes story but it seems here that he's absent far more than he ought to be. The story also sort of tilts from supernatural to not rather suddenly considering that we're meant to make Watson's mistake of assuming that Holmes actually believes, literally, in the power of ghosts. That's really my only point of contention. Otherwise it's good fun and a lovely ride with Holmes and Watson.

Jan 13, 2013

Listen to the audio version. Interesting but only an average story.

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