My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Considering that it was penned by John Lescroart, it seems strange that Son of Holmes, published in the 1980’s, has languished under the radar for all these years. The eponymous son is Auguste Lupa, child of Sherlock himself and Irene Adler. Lupa, working as a chef in a small French town, is a secret agent for the Allies during The War to End All Wars. It takes one to know one, so it stands to reason that Jules Giraud, a French secret agent, sees through Lupa’s ruse, and the two spies resolve to work together.
Son of Holmes was not intended to be written ala John Watson. Lescroart has said that his character Lupa was based upon Nero Wolfe, and those familiar with Wolfeiana will undoubtedly recognize the many similarities and references, including stylistic ones. The liesurly plot centers upon a murder that occurs in a room full of friends, with only Giraud and Lupa aware of its connections to German espionage. They band together to identify the killer, but Giraud is baffled, and reluctant to suspect any of his friends. Lupa has no such scruples, and besides, he’s brilliant (though he demonstrates this quality mainly by closing his eyes and thinking deeply and silently). He makes his conclusions known in classic detective fashion, summoning all the principals to a gathering and keeping them all in suspense till he makes the final pronouncement. Lupa and Giraud are by far the most clearly drawn characters, the others mostly interchangeable.
In 2003 (better late than never!), Lescroart published a sequel to Son, Rasputin’s Revenge. His ability to develop his characters has vastly improved, and Holmes and Watson do make an appearance there.