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Month in review

Book Reviews:
Alphabet City by Stephen T. Johnson
Are You My Mother? by P. D. Eastman
The Art of Alchemy by Ted Kosmatka
Big Jeremy by Steven Kroll
Bleach Volume 11 by Tite Kubo
Bleach Volume 12 by Tite Kubo
Bleach Volume 13 by Tite Kubo
The Butterfly Alphabet Book by Brian Cassie
Catty-Cornered by Cheryl Ware
A Church of Her Own by Sarah Sentilles
Circle by George Tucker
City of Light by Laurent Belfer
The Crew by Bali Rai
Dark Summit by Nick Heil
A Day in Space by Suzanne Lord and Jolie Epstein
A Day with Traffic Controllers by Joanne Winne
Demons Are Forever by Julie Kenner
Deserts by Seymour Simon
Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert
Expecting Adam by Martha Beck
Firooz and His Brother by Alex Jeffers
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
Ghost Cat by Beverly Butler
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Hungry, Hungry Sharks by Joanna Cole
In the Hall of the Dragon King by Stephen R. Lawhead
Junie B., First Grader: Boss of Lunch by Barbara Park
Junie B. Jones and Some Sneaky Peeky Spying by Barbara Park
Light in August by William Faulkner
The Little Baby Snoogle Fleejer by Jimmy Carter
The Lost and Found by Mark Teague
Magic School Bus: Going Batty by Joanna Cole
Magic School Bus: The Great Shark Escape by Joanna Cole
Mercury and Venus by Robin Kerrod
Miracle on 34th Street by Valentine Davies
Nettie's Trip South by Ann Turner
Peace: 50 Years of Protest by Barry Miles
Postcards: True Stories that Never Happened by Jason Rodriguez
Puss in Boots by Rochelle Larkin
The Road from La Cueva by Sheila Ortego
Seduction by Design by Sandra Brown
The Seven-per-Cent Solution by Nicholas Meyer
Space by Carole Stott
The Stone Gods by Jeannette Winterson
Thrilling Wonder Stories by Albert E. Cowdrey
Traitor by M. Rickert
Treasure by Clive Cussler
Under the Microscope: Insects by Grolier
WLT: A Radio Romance by Garrison Keillor

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Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Comments for Seven-per-Cent Solution

The Seven-per-Cent SolutionThe Seven-per-Cent Solution: 05/26/08

Sherlock Holmes is among an elite set of fictional characters who has outlived his creator and even his own written death (The Final Problem1893). Holmes continues to solve crimes as written by a number of authors including this 1974 version, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution by Nicholas Meyer. The book was made into a film in 1976, which I've enjoyed watching a number of times.

One thing that is universal across all these Sherlock Holmes tales (those by Doyle and these later ones) is that the stories are never told from Holmes's point of the view. In the Doyle style, the job of reporting Holmes's adventures falls on Dr. John Watson. Holmes throughout remains too unusual and too superhuman to understand, though Watson and other characters try.

Another commonality of the post-Doyle stories is the inclusion of famous historical figures and events. Sherlock Holmes is far better traveled and even more famous in these novels than he ever was in the Doyle's short stories. The Seven-Per-Cent Solution is a classic example of Holmes-as-celebrity because he meets and manages to solve a mystery with Dr. Sigmund Freud.

In the film, maybe because Sherlock Holmes seems to lend himself to becoming a steampunk James Bond in movies, Dr. Freud is somewhat plausible. The entire cinematic adaptation borders on the surreal as an attempt to visualize the cocaine stupor Holmes is in for the first half of the story. That surreal approach makes Freud just one more aspect of the wackiness that is the 1976 film.

In the book, Dr. Freud seems like a forced detail. The whole business of Holmes's out of control addiction and the trickery that Watson goes through to get his friend to Vienna doesn't work. It's corny and out of character for both Watson and Holmes. It is a ridiculous means to and end to get the two to where the mystery is taking place.

There is nothing about the mystery of the missing heiress that couldn't be done in London or an estate in the countryside. Her ties to the Kaiser could still have been part of the plot without the silly trip to Vienna.

So if you like Sherlock Holmes stories, keep in mind that Nicholas Meyer's novel is flawed. See, though, if you can, the 1976 film adaptation of his novel. It takes advantage of the goofier bits of the novel to make a very entertaining film.

Read the review at Rick's Café Americain.

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