"Sherlock Holmes and The Adventure of The Jacobite Rose" by Scottish author Fiona-Jane Brown is one of a series of books published by MX Publishing and written by a number of different authors that seek to extend the all too limited legacy of Sherlock Holmes stories left by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
The Jacobite Rose of the title is a fabulous brooch, originally commissioned by an Irish Jacobite and intended to form part of the coronation regalia of Bonnie Prince Charlie, or Charles Edward Stuart, had the 1745 Jacobite Uprising achieved its aims and returned the Stuarts to the thrones of England, Ireland and Scotland. But this was not to be, and instead the brooch became a family treasure of a noble Irish family living, at the time of the story, in London. Sherlock Holmes is engaged by the unpleasant and widely disliked Rebecca Lazenby, the stepdaughter of the family, who hopes to inherit the brooch on reaching the age of 21. Meanwhile, Sherlock is also approached by his older brother Mycroft, who wants him to help track down one of his agents, who has apparently disappeared without trace.
What makes this book stand out from any of the Holmes stories originally written by Conan Doyle is that it comes in the form of a play script. For those of us more used to reading novels, it is an interesting experience to follow the developing story through the words of the characters and the stage directions, which gives a very different feel. It is also entertaining to imagine the way the script would be interpreted by a director and actors actually on the stage.
Key to immersing yourself in the world of Sherlock Holmes is the extent to which the period feel is delivered. Here we found ourselves tripping over a reference by Holmes to "The Ministry of Defence", which is a post World War II organisation, and we also wondered whether Holmes would really have asked Mycroft for "data, I require more data" and his "input". Meanwhile, we questioned how a convincing replica of the brooch could be made without, apparently, direct access to the object being copied, and why replacing the real brooch with the fake was such an issue given the cabinet it was kept in had a readily available key at other points in the story. But this is nit-picking, and for anyone with an interest in seeing the ways in which the world of Sherlock Holmes can be developed, this is a fascinating addition to the genre.