Following the Mystery of "Watson on the Orient Express"

§ I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this novel. §

"Watson on the Orient Express" is the 8th novel of the "Sherlock Holmes and Lucy James Mystery" and this time our heroes are searching for one of their own: Watson was kidnapped, and the criminal organisation "Sons of Helios" is trying to frame him for multiple murders. In doing so, Watson boards the Orient Express under a false identity and meets his old rival. However, this time she claims to be working for Holmes. Things become even more twisted and it is hard to find the truth. Meanwhile, in London, Lucy and Holmes are trying to follow Watson and clear his name as well as trying to unravel this mystery. 

Watson on the Orient Express by Charles Veley and Anna Elliot
First of all, I need to say that this is the first book of the series that I read. As such the characters were not always familiar, while it becomes clear who Lucy is quiet quickly, I am still unsure about her exact relationship with Holmes: is she his daughter, or one of the Baker Street Irregulars that he "adopted" because of her talent? Furthermore, who exactly are the opposite party, their arch enemies ... 

Despite these minor confusions, you are able to pick up the story with the 8th book. These missing pieces are background information and not too relevant to the plot - even though, I dare say that it would probably add to the story to know these things - the main plot does not depend on knowing all the big pieces of the prior novels. It is enough to be aware of who the bad guys are and who are the good guys. 

The main plot proves to be more Lucy and Watson heavy. The chapters alternate between their first person perspectives and you learn what they learned and know. This adds to the mystery, as you start to see that Holmes and Lucy seem to run straight ahead into a trap, or you're not sure if Watson's information is correct at all. This choice of story telling added to the overall tension. 

Furthermore, I really enjoyed that Watson had the limelight, and could "show off" his skills as doctor, tinker, spy. This also added a nice perspective on Watson, who was written very likable and Veley and Elliot managed to successfully combine Watson's mixture of doctor and military man that comes from the original character. I found it easy to believe that this would be the same Watson who had written down all of Holmes' adventures. On top of this, Lucy also seems like a likable character who knows her craft and would be titled with #GirlPower would she live in the 21st century. 

I also noticed that the writing style seems closer to the original novels, as it focuses less on describing the surrounding in words but rather on conversation, and telling what the characters are doing. This means that you don't really get sucked into the scene, you are not sure how the main square in Constantinople (nowadays: Istanbul) looks like. 

On top of this, I also wished that the conclusion of the mystery would have been more clear. While it is written in a rather fun manner, and even Holmes is left confused - or is he? - he wasn't the only one who felt slight confusion. 

In the great scheme of things, there are a few downfalls but overall "Watson on the Orient Express" provides an enjoyable read even for people who are not familiar with the series. 




 Watson on the Orient Express  by Charles Veley    and Anna Elliot 
 published2020 by  Wilton Books
 series:  Sherlock Holmes and Lucy James Mystery #8
 pages 220 
 ISBN13 9780999119181 
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