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The Canary Trainer: 06/22/13

cover art

My first experience with Nicholas Meyer's take on Sherlock Holmes when I saw The Seven-per-Cent Solution on cable at my grandmother's. Later I came into possession of the book and its sequel, The West End Horror. But I didn't have the final one, The Canary Trainer so I put it on my wishlist.

When it was time to pick up The Canary Trainer at the library, I had some time while I waited for my kids to finish what they were doing. So I sat on one of the comfy couches in the children's wing and I started to read. By the second page I was struck with how similar the book was to the opening of The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King.

Sherlock Holmes is in the public domain now. After re-reading The Beekeeper's Apprentice I realized that they had to be pulling from an Arthur Conan Doyle book I hadn't read. So I did some poking around and realized I'd missed two: The Return of Sherlock Holmes and His Last Bow. They are often published together and I have them now on my to be read pile.

So that takes me back to The Canary Trainer. It begins with Sherlock keeping bees. But he is pulled back into his profession, this time not by a fourteen year bookworm but by his old friend Watson.

The game a foot relates to Holmes's time when was away (namely between the time that Doyle killed him off and was forced by angry fans to resurrect him). The tale he tells shares points of similarity again with King's vision of things as related in The Language of Bees. This time, though, Meyer takes the story and weaves it into another contemporaneous story, The Phantom of the Opera.

Being a fan of The Phantom of the Opera (the book and the original film, not the stage play nor more recent film), I had fun imagining Holmes in the middle of it all. He was trying to get away from being a detective, being there instead to play violin. Mysteries though always have a way of finding a detective, especially those who don't want to be found!

Four stars

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