This is the first story in which we meet the eccentric, but brilliant, Mycroft and this singular character does much to advance the argument that Holmes might have been autistic. The fact that his brother possesses the same traits of observation, incredible memory and antisocial nature does suggest a genetic link behind these characteristics.
Let’s look at the facts, Mycroft is so antisocial that he becomes a founder member of a gentleman’s club where members are forbidden from talking to each other, he carves out a unique professional position for himself just as his brother has done, and is also without a wife or children. He has an incredible capacity for numbers and accountancy suggesting even savantism, rather than simply autism.
Watson reminds us in the first paragraph about Holmes’ unemotional character, his disinclination to form friendships, his aversion to women. By reminding us of this, he is prompting us to see the similarities between the brothers and the genetic predisposition they share. The story itself is quite absorbing but somehow eclipsed by the revelation of an elder brother and what this tells us about Holmes himself.
Mycroft features heavily in my novel and is another example of how much the Granada series shaped my image of certain characters. Whenever I think of Mycroft I always picture Charles Grey and that is basically how I have described him in the book. In the same way that Mrs Hudson will always be Rosalie Williams in my mind’s eye. I did make a mistake though, which I’m kicking myself for now. I have called the place at the Diogenes where speaking is allowed the ‘Speaking Room’ whereas it is actually the ‘Stranger’s Room’. Hopefully people will forgive me that small but understandable error.
So in this story we are treated to experiencing both Holmes and Mycroft setting their minds to a problem and watching them both compete in a little exercise of observation. The tale of a Greek interpreter who is taken hostage and forced to help extract compliance from a Greek man who’s sister is being forced into a marriage is quite dark and doesn’t really reach a full conclusion. It feels more like a vehicle to introduce Mycroft than anything else but is gripping all the same.
This one has to score highly but more for Mycroft than anything else – 8 out of 10.
Agree with me? Post your own review below by clicking on the Leave a Comment link at the bottom of the post. I look forward to hearing from you.
My novel Barefoot on Baker Street has now been published. Here are some of the ways you can purchase it.