Elementary: The Ghost Line by Adam Christopher (book review).

May 3, 2015 | By | Reply More

‘Elementary’ has been a transatlantic hit and a 24 episode replacement for the rarely seen BBC’s ‘Sherlock’. Jonny Lee Miller’s twitchy ex-heroin addict has a certain charm and invites our attention. Although the series can be variable in content, the characters of Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson have been interesting as the series developed over three series.


‘The Ghost Line’ is a novel using these characters and offers a light alternative to watching TV. Tie-ins are problematic but harmless. They cannot develop the characters but they can fill in detail that is omitted by the TV version and provide entertainment during the increasingly popular ‘series break’

A killing of a subway driver may seem straightforward. Perhaps he got involved with the wrong sort of group. Certainly, he had lost his job recently but was renting an apartment he could barely afford. He’s left behind a fortune in the bread bin but no clues other than a potential drugs connection so this is obviously the case for the New York Police Department’s consultants Holmes and Watson. Before long, Joan is putting her best frock on and Holmes is putting on his waders. Just another day for the dynamic pair.

This is an agreeable novel which uses some interesting facts about the underbelly of New York to construct a good story that kept me reading. Knowledge of the main characters means we can leap straight into it with the pictures of them in our brains to provide the scenario we are off to a running start.

The author obviously enjoyed using these characters and we get plenty of Captain Thomas Gregson and Detective Bell. The dialogue feels natural and the relationships between the four maintained and enhanced within the plot. There are elements that reflect the origins within the Holmes stories and the mystery has a satisfying feel to it. I think it has a nod to the 1940s Holmes films with some of the characters and certainly has an element of the femme fatale in there.

I wasn’t expecting much from a TV tie-in because they are not liked by everyone, but I liked it. It felt like Adam Christopher had put the hours in and come up with something that would have made a budget-breaking episode. I also learnt a bit about New York, New York that wonderful town.

Sue Davies

May 2015

(pub: Titan Books. 316 page small enlarged paperback. Price: £ 7.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-78116-984-1)

check our website: www.titanbooks.com

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Category: Books, TV

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