I just might be stuck in an ‘Average Book’ rut.
A Study in Charlotte looked really good! I love the Sherlock TV series, how they’ve taken a really interesting character and put him in modern times. And let’s be honest, Benedict Cumberbatch is the best Sherlock Holmes they could’ve picked! Anyway, I read The Speckled Band in school at some point; but I’d seen the TV movie so I knew what was going to happen and lost interest straight away. So this updated series, taking the legendary characters and giving them decedents seemed really clever. It had some good points, but on the whole I’m disappointed.
The author is clearly American, as they’ve taken an iconically British duo and managed to have their families conveniently move over to America for ease of writing. Although both main characters were born and brought up in England, it seems neither of them have any typically English language habits, if anything they have far more Americanisms (eg. ‘refrigerator’). It may seem a small thing, but this detail bugged me the whole way through, probably made more prominent by the fact I did this on Audio and the narrator is American, switching between American and English accents (and Watson’s weird mix of the two).
I will be honest, I’m currently writing this while simultaneously listening to the end of the book. That’s a pretty clear sign that I’m not exactly overtaken with this one. While a Sherlock Holmes story should definitely have layers and be incredibly clever, I think A Story of Charlotte was a bit too complex, a bit too try hard. Holmes was actually written pretty well; she was clever in the right way, and the typical ‘people reading’ that she does was pretty spot on. But the actual story line was all over the place. It was difficult to keep track of who was who and what was going on, it felt like too much backstory was thrown in too quickly. I would’ve rather a much more simple ‘mystery’ going on that let us learn more about the characters. They’re very one dimensional and we only see the surface of them, which means I didn’t really care enough about them.
The book is now finished (is this live blogging?). And I still don’t really know what happened. A big mistake a lot of crime or mystery novels makes is to wrap it all up in the last few pages, throwing all the answers at you in one fell swoop. That’s exactly what this one has done…and not in a ‘Holmes worked it all out and here’s what happened’ kind of way, but in the annoying ‘I’m the bad guy, here’s how and why I did it all’ kind of way.
I’m basically not a fan of A Study in Charlotte; there’s nothing really wrong with it, it just fell short. Unfortunately, I won’t be reading any more in the series. 5/10