Book Review – Arrowood

I found this book because of a blind date. More specifically, it’s a program our local library put together for the month of February in 2019 – “Blind Date With a Book”. A variety of titles were put in solid colored gift bags with each color signifying the genre of the book it held. The bag was taped shut and a synopsis of the title – with all clues as to title or character names removed – was attached to the outside of the bag. They even went so far as to put the bar code number on the outside of the bag so the librarian didn’t even have to peek inside the bag. 

In short – I loved this book! When I went to post my status on Goodreads I was thrilled to discover that this is only the first in a series. I am a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes so I was definitely intrigued by author Mick Finlay’s premise: where would London’s poor and destitute, unable to afford the likes of Sherlock Holmes, turn for help? Finlay’s answer is William Arrowood and his friend Norman Barnett. Not only does Arrowood take on cases for those who could never afford Holmes, he never even attempts to hide the fact that he despises the renowned detective.

Told entirely from Barnett’s perspective, this one kept me guessing right up until the action-packed ending. Arrowood and Barnett are flawed, frustrating, lovable . . . there was a never a moment that I wasn’t rooting for them and never a moment that I doubted how passionate they were about doing the right thing. Surrounding these two partners are a rich cast of characters – Arrowood’s sister Ettie, the young boy Neddy who works for the twosome, Police Inspector Petleigh and more – who bring depth to the story as well as helping the reader to understand more of the Arrowood’s character. 

I picked this book blindly, drawn to it because of my love for the Holmes stories. I wasn’t sure what to think of a book whose protagonist despises this well-known character. Turns out I love Arrowood’s work just as much!

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