This is literary entertainment of the highest order — as engaging as early Martin Amis, as addictive as the Sherlock Holmes stories on which (in a roundabout way) it is based. The Confessions of Mycroft Holmes is a paper chase, a mystery where the clues are all documents and the detective is the kind of hero every irrepressible reader can sympathize with — an irrepressible reader.
As the story opens, Damien March, a cultural mongrel who is half British and half American, is languishing midway through his life in a dead-end job at the BBC. Estranged from his family — his brother is a successful movie director, his father a retired lawyer and diehard Anglophile — Damien is astonished to learn that he is heir to the estate of his uncle Patrick, a failed novelist who lived reclusively in an eccentrically furnished antique cottage on an island off Cape Cod. The mere fact that Damien is Patrick's sole heir, and the terms of his inheritance — the preservation of his uncle's house in the exact condition it was left in — is all so baffling that Damien can't resist accepting, if only to figure out what message Patrick is trying to send from beyond the grave. When he finds an unfinished manuscript in his uncle's filing cabinet entitled The Confessions of Mycroft Holmes, intrigue, love triangles, sibling rivalry, and deeply buried family secrets begin to emerge.
Mycroft Holmes, an archetype of literary trivia, is the scantly mentioned brother of celebrity detective Sherlock Holmes. Mycroft's "confessions" lead Damien to discover the truth about his uncle. Flitting gracefully between Mycroft's Victorian narrative and Damien's own ruminations and amateur detective work, the untangling of the mystery is a beautiful game. And though Damien's narrative rushes forth like water from a tap, it's marvelously satisfying to realize in the end what a very tangled web of deception the players of this game have woven. (Minna Proctor)
eBook The Confessions of Mycroft Holmes