Mycroft and Sherlock

By Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
& Anna Waterhouse
Titan Books
ISBN 978-1785659256
Publication Date: October, 2018

Mycroft and Sherlock

Review by G. Robert Frazier

Mycroft Holmes may have gotten short shrift from his creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is well on his way to changing that with Mycroft & Sherlock, his second novel featuring Sherlock’s older brother. This time, as the title suggests, he’s brought the slightly more renowned Holmes, albeit a teenage version of him, along for the journey.

The book opens with news of the grisly death of a Chinese man in the heart of London, 1872, in what the papers have dubbed the Savage Garden Murders. The seventh such victim of the killer, he has been savagely mutilated, though with uncanny surgical precision. All of the victims, including six of Chinese descent, had been proprietors or frequent clientele of opium dens.

The case isn’t exactly high on the list of priorities for the War Department, where the 26-year-old Mycroft serves as special counsel to the Secretary of State for War.  Mycroft is more preoccupied with his friend, Cyrus Douglas, whose trade ship has mysteriously run aground on its way to Australia.

Nor do the murders immediately grab the attention of Mycroft’s younger brother, who proclaims them “a colossal bore” with their “pedestrian” motive to teach a moral lesson. Sherlock, rather, is more fascinated by a young orphan with evidence of needle marks on his body. The destitute youth would hardly be able to afford drugs administered in such a fashion, convincing Sherlock that something more is afoot. When the youth is later found dead, Sherlock takes up the case with even more vigor.

Needless to say, the brothers ultimately wind up matching wits and, in some instances, trying to outdo the other, in their effort to solve their cases. 

Abdul-Jabbar, who is ably assisted once again by screenwriter Anna Waterhouse,  has crafted an entertaining look at the early life of the Holmes brothers. The interactions between the Holmes men, as well as the brief glimpses of characteristics and skills Sherlock will become renowned for, provide ample fodder for Holmes fans. 


Robert Frazier writes about other writers and their works on his blog and other sites such as BookPage. He has served as a script reader for both the Austin Film Festival and Nashville Film Festival screenwriting competitions and is a member of the Tennessee Screenwriting Association.