The Confessions of Mycroft Holmes: A Paper Chase

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9780151006472: The Confessions of Mycroft Holmes: A Paper Chase

Damien March hadn't thought of his eccentric uncle for almost twenty years until he received a telegram: Patrick dead. Father. Damien, a journalist for the BBC in London, is even more shocked to learn that he has inherited his uncle's ramshackle house on Ionia, an isolated island off the coast of Cape Cod. Damien's step into a new future means moving circuitously into his family's past. He uncovers letters and writings-scattered clues that shed light on Patrick's solitary life. When he discovers a fragment of an unpublished novel, The Confessions of Mycroft Holmes, the stakes in this paper chase are suddenly higher. Mycroft Holmes, the older brother of Sherlock, is one of literature's most intriguing absences. A neglected genius who lived in obscurity, he bears a striking resemblance to Patrick himself. The parallels quickly grow more disconcerting, and a sinister tale of murder and deception takes on new meaning. Soon Damien finds himself revealing dark and unsettling truths that shatter his most fundamental assumptions.

Written with warmth and distinctive humor, The Confessions of Mycroft Holmes is at once an engaging mystery and an illuminating story about family secrets and identity.

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Review:

How many times have you wanted a new life? Would you exchange yours for someone else's? These are the questions faced by Damien March in the opening pages of Marcel Theroux's Confessions of Mycroft Holmes. After his uncle Patrick's death, Damien learns that he has inherited a ramshackle property on the isolated island of Ionia, off the coast of Cape Cod. Should he abandon his life in London--and his career as a BBC journalist--and head west? That he does. But once he reaches the house, he's confronted with decades' worth of collected junk, which Patrick's will explicitly prevents him from discarding.

Damien also meets a number of characters on the island, all of them part of his late uncle's life. One of these acquaintances unknowingly delivers to him an unfinished manuscript that Patrick was writing about Sherlock Holmes's brother, Mycroft. The story arouses Damien's suspicions about his uncle's black-sheep existence. Ultimately, though, it leads him to discover the truth about his own family--and himself. His sudden plunge into the hard facts brings to mind "that moment suspended between the rock and the ocean when you bunch your knees up and anticipate the cold shock of the water." And by the end of the novel, Damien is enlightened: his search has answered questions he did not even know to ask. --Elizabeth Potter

About the Author:

Marcel Theroux was born in Kampala, Uganda, in 1968. He studied English at Cambridge and international relations at Yale. He worked in television news in Boston and New York, and now lives in London.

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