In London during the summer of 1881, and still early in their now legendary partnership, Doctor Watson schedules a number of appointments for bored, brilliant detective Sherlock Holmes, who has been unable as of late to find a case worthy of his considerable talents. After the string of potential clients are turned away one by one, an unscheduled caller arrives—bringing with her an intriguing case, naturally.
Hermione Frances Sara Wynter, an elderly widow, has been unable to obtain a satisfactory answer from the Admiralty as to the whereabouts of her son, Lieutenant Norbert Wynter. Norbert was due home one month previous aboard the HMS Dido after fighting in the war against the Boers in South Africa.
However, all of Mrs. Wynter’s initial inquiries to the Admiralty went unanswered until finally, they revealed that Norbert had been classified as missing in action and a deserter. His mother, of course, refused to believe such an outlandish accusation.
Holmes accepts the case and, together with Watson, sets forth to interrogate, beleaguer, and otherwise annoy the Admiralty into providing information on Lieutenant Wynter. Soon, it becomes clear that something is amiss, especially since Wynter was listed as missing in action in February, yet continued to receive a paycheck until July.
When Holmes and Watson are attacked on the street by men sent by someone at the Admiralty, the detective is certain that a government cover-up is at play and, as Holmes is often quoted as saying, “The game is afoot!”
An investigation into the missing officer leads Holmes and Watson to a web of conspiracy that involves the death of former Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, the now defunct East India Company, and much more.
Savile and Greenberger deftly capture the characters and relationship of Holmes and Watson in a plot that was well-conceived and unfurled at a perfect pace. I was pleased to see the inclusion of Holmes’s “street Arabs,” aka The Baker Street Irregulars, as well as Scotland Yard Inspector Gregson over the more famous Lestrade, the latter making only a cameo appearance. I have absolutely nothing against Lestrade, of course, but I appreciate the nod being given to the more minor recurring Gregson.