Quinn Fawcett’s Mycroft Holmes books

ImageLooking over my bookshelves, I came across the four books about Mycroft Holmes written by Quinn Fawcett (pen name for Chelsea Quinn Yarbro and Bill Fawcett). Below is my review for the first book, Against the Brotherhood, which is at Amazon.

Against the Brotherhood is an enjoyable read. However, it does not fare so well as a story about Sherlock Holmes’ older brother, Mycroft.

 Mycroft appears in two of the original stories by Sir Arhtur Conan Doyle, and is mentioned in a few others. He is a genius, works for the British government and rarely varies his daily, sedentary routine.

 Therein lies the rub. These books read like an espionage/spy series set in Victorian England. Mycroft is a far more active person than Doyle gave us. He crawls long distances, carries a body up a hill and travels across the continent. In the beginning of the second novel in the series, Mycroft literally turns into The Flash when a bomb is discovered. It feels like Quinn Fawcett (pen name for two authors) wanted to write a James Bond-type of series set in Victorian England and plugged Mycroft Holmes in.

 Holmes isn’t even the main character. Patterson Guthrie is Holmes’ secretary and he narrates. Except for at the end of each chapter, when a ‘journal’ entry is made by Mycroft’s manservant. This change interrupts the flow and is merely a cheap device to easily impart information.

 If you are looking for more of Mycroft as Doyle created him, you won’t find it here. And since each cover prominently notes that the series is authorized by Sir Arthur’s daughter, you might reasonably expect that.

 Thus, I found it to be a nice book, but misleading. Expect a good spy tale, not a Mycroft Holmes case, and you will be pleased.

I read all four of these in a row, several years ago, and I’ve not gone back to them. My two star review is a minority opinion, as three Imagebooks garnered four stars and the other has three. And there is quite a bit of praise in the reviews.

But looking them over again, I just can’t accept a Mycroft front and center who doesn’t resemble the Mycroft that Doyle wrote. It seems pointless. They’re not bad books, but they aren’t Holmesian.

These may just have been a warm up, as the next three books by Fawcett were adventure romps about fictionalized accounts of Ian Fleming’s adventures. Fleming, of course, invented James Bond.



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