The Reichenbach Problem by Martin Allison Booth

9781782640165Conan Doyle is taking a two week vacation to a small, peaceful village in Switzerland where he hopes to get away from the fame of being the author of the Sherlock Holmes stories.

Kregel Publications
The Reichenbach Problem
by Martin Allison Booth
March 2013

The Reichenbach Problem by Martin Allison Booth was a good read but not quite a five star book. Conan Doyle is taking a two week vacation in a small, peaceful town in Switzerland where the Reichenbach Falls are located. Doyle hopes to come to terms with his fame and the impact that fame has on his life as the author of the Sherlock Holmes books. He has more or less come to greatly dislike Holmes and is thinking of writing one more book to kill off the detective.
In Zurich, a fellow passenger by the name of Holloway strikes up a conversation with Doyle and from that time on seems to dog every step that Doyle takes. Shortly after the men arrive at their destination, a fellow tourist turns up dead at the Falls and Holloway insists that he and Doyle must investigate and solve the murder or prove that it was an accident and not murder. Doyle’s hope for peace and quiet are completely destroyed when he is accused of being the murderer. To make matters even worse, Holloway believes that the spirit of Sherlock Holmes is now living in him.

For the first two hundred pages of the book I had trouble making myself continue to read. In my opinion there was just too much dialogue and not enough action. In addition, the author’s use of words such as escritoire for a desk was rather distracting for me. When I finally reached page two hundred and one, the story began to get very interesting and I sat up until the wee hours of the morning to finish. If the first two hundred pages had been reduced to about one hundred and added to the last one hundred, then it could have been a five star book. One thing in the book that really bothered me was that Doyle would go off on a two week vacation and leave his young child and pregnant wife at home alone. And Doyle’s reaction to two of the women in the story was upsetting since he kept saying that he deeply loved his wife. All through the story I kept wondering why the local police did not investigate the death of the tourist. My favorite character in the story was Father Vernon for he seemed to be the only character who was what he said he was, and I certainly agreed with his opinion on the séance. I do not want to appear completely negative about the book for it was well written with no grammatical errors which detract from a story, at least in my opinion. Booth appears to be very knowledgeable about Conan Doyle and it would be nice to know which scenes he fictionalized. I thoroughly enjoyed all the mystery in the book and the author skillfully brought all the subplots together at the end of the book. Near the end of the book, Doyle said of himself, “I was disgusted with myself; with my prejudices, my presumptions, my insensitivity, my cruelty and my weakness.” The author did a very good job in making me as the reader feel that same way about Doyle. But at least by the end of the story he seemed to have changed for the better.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to read mystery books written by British authors.


Deanna Love Gottreu is a 74 year old widow and the mother of two wonderful sons who share second place in her life – with God being in first place. She spends her time reading or making quilts for charity. Her book reviews can also be read on her blog at www.buzzardsroostcrafts.com/blog.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.