Friday, March 4, 2016

'Watson and Holmes - A Study in Black' a review

While at our local library Monday evening I discovered this title in their Graphic Novel department.

Always on the look out for good Sherlockian artwork and stories I checked it out and thought I would give it a try.

The concept once again attempts to bring Holmes and Watson into the modern era. This time modern Harlem.
Both Holmes and Watson are African American and ghetto smart.

Watson is a young Afgan. vet. working as an intern in an inner-city hospital. He has also just left a troubled marriage and has a son.

We don't learn a whole lot about Holmes' motives for what he does. And nothing of his background other than his mother like Mycroft best.
The back story may come in follow up novels.

We have Mycroft showing up (wants to be called Mike), as does Moran (no, Moran does not want to be called Mike, but he is mentioned). Mrs. Hudson is also present.

Lestrade is represented as a white female cop named Det. Leslie Stroud (Les-Stroud).

Graphic Novels take a lot of work. The story has to fit into a comic book type format mixing images and words to tell the story. Dialoge is necessarily limited to fit that format, so a lot is expected of the few words used.

The art work is very good in this novel, done by Rick Leonardi and Larry Stroman. It is gritty and, well, graphic.

Some spelling and grammar errors make parts hard to read, and for me the two story arcs didn't connect.
Also the introduction between Holmes and Watson was abbreviated and needed to be filled out.
Once again to make a modern Holmes it seems like he has to be tech. savoy or at least have many friends who are and known Sherlockian habits could have been better represented.

Baker St. Irregulars make a couple of appreances as street smart inner city kids.

Gun violence in the novel made it something I would not introduce to young riders. That may be the way of the world now, but is unnecessary to make a good story.

For all the faults I found with it, I still think it is a workable idea and would have some appeal as an after nine p.m. TV show.

I will check to see if there are more stories and give it another chance.

Note; There appears to be three in the series so far. Kindle version are fairly in-expensive while a hard copy of number one is around $140.00. 


  1. I notice the title puts Watson up first, a nice twist unless it is just to keep out of the crowd of 'Holmes and ...' that is out there.

    1. Watson has much more of the story in this issue. I don't know if it will be the same in the rest.