Monday, September 15, 2014

"White Fire" - a book review

While at the library the other night with my daughter I came across Preston and Child's book called "Wild Fire".
And I was pleasantly surprised.

I had not heard of this book, nor had I heard of any Sherlockian review of this book. Which probably means I don't follow enough really important Sherlockian sites, but none the less, there I was.

The book is one in a series about a Special FBI Agent named Pendergast.
And although this book doesn't go a lot into Agent Pendergast's back story, I get the impression he is a rather unique individual with many Sherlock Holmes like characteristics.
Very anti-social, intelligent and seemingly highly respected, he seems more than willing to follow his own path in solving crimes.

The Prologue opens with that famous meeting between Doyle and Wilde at the Langham Hotel, London. Also at the meeting are Mr. Stoddart and a Mr. Gill.
This of course is the meeting where Doyle would come away writing SIGN, and Wilde would write Dorian Gray. At this meeting Wilde apparently tells Doyle a story so grotesque that Doyle leaves the meeting rather abruptly.

This related story from that evening becomes the back bone of a mystery now set in modern Colorado where Pendergast's young protege goes to study some antiquated deaths for her thesis.
While in Colorado, Corrie Swanson, the protege, becomes involved in a case of attempted murder and arson.
Preston and Child also involve some BSI members in the hunt for the missing story.
The book was very fun to read and engaging. The characters interesting and somewhat sympathetic, which is required for me to become engaged in the story.
Included in the book is the pastiche, 'The Adventure of Aspern Hall', a stand alone piece which is also part of the story.

I don't know how much of the story that takes place between Doyle and Wilde is true, and I don't see Doyle as weak kneed as he appears to be after Wilde relates his tale.
But I enjoyed the book and found the Sherlockian connections worthy.

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