A Book Review by Linda James Hein:
Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure of the Grinning Cat
by Joseph W. Svec, III
When entering the world of Sherlock Homes, one must surely feel
that she has gone down a rabbit-hole and might never return. At least that has been my experience. Since beginning the study of the great body of work by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – 56 short stories and four
novels – and entertaining myself with countless films, plays, and pastiches (stories based on Doyle's characters but penned by others), I have crossed a threshold into a Victorian wonderland not dissimilar to that of
Recently, I have had the pleasure of reading Joseph W. Svec's Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure of the Grinning Cat
. He presents his readers with a strange mystery that will bewilder every child, child-at-heart, and devoted sleuth: Who or what has caused the disappearance of Alice from Wonderland?
The obvious solution to this "two-pipe" problem is to engage the greatest consulting detective of all time: Sherlock Homes. The year is 1898, and
it is a cold and foggy morning when Cheshire Cat materializes at 221B Baker Street. Introductions are made, tea is offered, knocks on the door issue forth both Mr. White Rabbit Esquire and the Mad Hatter, and an
impromptu tea party all provide a backdrop for an astonishing new fact: the March Hare is missing as well. Is she with the March Hare? And where is Lewis Carroll? He cannot be found in
residence. Thus begins The Adventure of the Grinning Cat.
Mr. Svec takes you, the reader, along with Sherlock Holmes and John
Watson, on a tumultuous ride beginning with a carriage and its driver being carried away by a medieval-like winged dragon named 'Jabberwocky' and ending in an ultimate logistical puzzle that, if not answered correctly,
could lose all: Wonderland and its inhabitants, Lewis Carroll, and the greatest detective that ever lived, Sherlock Holmes.
we cannot sit by and let this happen! We must engage our little gray cells and participate as intently as possible to help solve the mind-bending puzzles. We have a lot at stake after all, for one wrong
answer, and,well, it's possible that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's most famous stories could disappear one by one.
Joseph Svec, III is brilliant
in entwining two endearing and enduring classics of literature, blending the factual with the fantastical; the playful with the pensive; and the mischievous with the mysterious. We shall, all of us young and old,
benefit with a cup of tea, a tranquil afternoon, and a copy of Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure of the Grinning Cat.
Postscript: The finale of The Grinning Cat
leaves us hanging by way of an urgent plea to Mr. Sherlock Holmes: Yet another renowned leviathan of literature is missing. How can we help, Mr. Svec? And how long must we wait?