Review: The Seven-Per-Cent Solution by Nicholas Meyer (1974)


My Rating: 4 stars           Read: 3/1/2017


  • My Lifetime Challenge
  • Cloak & Dagger Challenge


I read this for my Lifetime Challenge: Year 1974

Gosh, there were a lot of awesome books to choose from in 1974. I very nearly got pulled into Jaws, but decided I knew the story too well already. As a big fan of BBC Sherlock, I’ve been interested in everything Sherlockian in the past few years, so I settled down to listen to the audiobook of this one.

This book is written in a simulation of Dr. Watson’s voice from the original stories, which is to say it reads like the 1800’s even though it’s from 1974. The voice-over actor was highly British and fusty, almost mincing in his delivery, which added to the antiquated vibe.

In the story, Watson is married and Sherlock has fallen deep into the hole of addiction. In an effort to cure him before he kills himself, Watson and Mycroft Holmes work together to trick Sherlock into a trip to Vienna, where a young doctor named Freud promises a cure from drug addiction. Once in Vienna, and post cure, a case arises. The last third of the book is an action-driven case that was a bit more OTT melodramatic than a typical Holmes case, but in a similar vein.

This is an easy, pot-boiler type of read that has some particularly nice touches. I liked seeing Freud and his family in this book, and the comparison between Freud’s deduction methods and Sherlock’s. The setting of Vienna and Bavaria was vividly drawn and beautiful. I liked the use of Toby, the bloodhound. And the way the author explained the REAL meaning of Moriarty was intriguing (in the afterward, he credits the idea to Holmesian scholars).

What I didn’t love so much was the big action ending aboard a locomotive. It felt like the equivalent of a 15 minute car chase in a film. Quite cheesy and not really my thing. However, that didn’t detract much from the book.

Recommended for any Holmes fan. On to 1975!

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