Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Book Review: The Seven Per Cent Solution by Nicholas Meyer

The Seven Per Cent Solution
Author: Nicholas Meyer
Series: The Journals of John H. Watson, M.D.
Publication: W. W. Norton & Company (September 17, 1993)

Description: This "rediscovered" Sherlock Holmes adventure recounts the unique collaboration of Holmes and Sigmund Freud in the solution of a mystery on which the lives of millions may depend.

First discovered and then painstakingly edited and annotated by Nicholas Meyer, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution related the astounding and previously unknown collaboration of Sigmund Freud with Sherlock Holmes, as recorded by Holmes's friend and chronicler, Dr. John H. Watson. In addition to its breathtaking account of their collaboration on a case of diabolic conspiracy in which the lives of millions hang in the balance, it reveals such matters as the real identity of the heinous professor Moriarty, the dark secret shared by Sherlock and his brother Mycroft Holmes, and the detective's true whereabouts during the Great Hiatus, when the world believed him to be dead.

My Thoughts: This book makes a good addition to the wealth of stories featuring Sherlock Holmes, the world's greatest detective. This is supposed to be based on a manuscript discovered in a cluttered attic. It was transcribed by a secretary-typist the Dr. Watson encountered while he was in a nursing home. He is telling this tale at the age of eighty-seven and only then because the principals had passed away.

The story begins with a cocaine-addicted Holmes who is certain that mild-mannered Mathematics tutor Professor Moriarty is in fact a kingpin of crime. He has been following Moriarty in an attempt to prove his assertion. Moriarty comes to Watson to see if there is a way to get Sherlock out of his life. Watson has been concerned with his friend's dependence on cocaine and is determined to find a way to help him.

An article in a medical journal points the way to a doctor in Vienna named Sigmund Freud but getting Holmes to Vienna becomes only the first of many problems. After plotting with his wife, Watson decides that they need to bring in someone who has a chance to outwit Holmes. Watson recruits Mycroft Holmes who has also been concerned for his brother.

Their plotting works and Holmes comes under Freud's care where a combination of hypnosis and what sounds like a cold turkey withdrawal manages to clear the drugs from Holmes' body. The cure has also seemed to remove Holmes' curiosity which was not what Watson wanted.

It wasn't until Freud is called in to evaluate a new patient and takes Watson and Holmes along that the true Holmes reappears. As Holmes tries to solve the problem of the young woman found after an attempted suicide and who is both starved and mute, his investigative powers are resurrected.

The poor young woman is the focus of a plot that could bring war if Holmes, Watson, and Freud can't find a way to stop it. An exciting train chase, including a duel on the top of a moving railroad car, adds a lot of excitement to the story.

This was an engaging and entertaining addition to the Sherlock Holmes legend.

Favorite Quote: 
"You saw," interrupted Holmes, "but you did not observe. The distinction is an important one and sometimes makes a critical difference."
I bought this one Jan. 29, 2018. You can buy your copy here.

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