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Review: Mrs. Hudson and the Christmas Canary

Martin Davies writes a holiday mystery.


by Martin Davies

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Martin Davies

"But of course a gentleman will always find it much easier to achieve fame than a lady of similar accomplishments."

I like to think of myself as a connoisseur of Christmas. I love all things yuletide-related, whether it be a trope-laden holiday romance or, in this case, a simple Sherlockian-style mystery with slushy London as the background. Mrs. Hudson and the Christmas Canary by Martin Davies surprisingly has very little to do with Mrs. Hudson, Sherlock Holmes, or John Watson. Instead, the story follows Flotsam, better known as Flottie, in her work for the famous detective, which sometimes includes solving mysteries.

This is the sixth installment in the series, which finds Flottie investigating the disappearance of a famous violinist. It is coupled with the fact that someone has been sending chickens to men of society with seemingly no connection to one another. Not to mention the cold case of a bejeweled canary that was stolen many years prior. (And surely the Christmas season can't pass without a bit of romance, as well). So what's a former orphan turned assistant to one of the most famous detectives to do? Why solve the mystery, of course!

It's been at least a decade since I last read Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, but to my recollection, the style feels similar. There are no spoilers for the original novels, so you'll not be ruining a plot twist if you decide to try this book. The central mystery is a bit convoluted, and the physical description of where one of the main capers takes place makes no sense. Try as I might, even rereading the passage serval times, I could not picture what Davies was trying to convey. It would have also been nice if more prequel information had been peppered throughout the narrative. Although, not knowing precisely what happened in the previous novels doesn't detract from the current story. Watson, although his appearance brief, was my favorite character. Rather than the oafish portrayal that sometimes accompanies his character, he gives the reader stodgy comedic interludes.

My biggest qualm with this novel will likely be why some love it: it's simply not that gripping. I found myself with just a general curiosity about what was to come, lackadaisically guessing at whodunit and internally shrugging at the big reveal. This mystery has little thrill, making it a good choice for those who enjoy a lighter read. The low-stakes nature of the book makes it perfect for those who like the idea of mysteries but without the tension. The characters are also incredibly likable and fun to read.

Overall, this was a solid mystery and good for someone looking for a touch of romance where Christmas themes are imbued throughout but hardly a main character.

What's your favorite Sherlock Holmes novel, original or reimagined? Comment Below!