Once one of many serialized detectives, Sherlock Holmes has more than withstood the test of time. He has been canonized as a urban folk hero. Many movies and television series have depicted his tales spun by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and others have reinvented him for the modern era. Countless others have drawn inspiration from him.
This tale shows Sherlock himself as an old man in the decades after he’s quit working directly with his cohort Dr. Watson. It launches from a conversation with his even more brilliant brother, Mycroft, at Mycroft’s deathbed. Mycroft both corrects one of Sherlock’s criminal case solutions and challenges Sherlock to solve the ultimate crime of Death. Sherlock takes up the challenge and it leads him to studying bees and honey-making in the English countryside for the next couple decades . . .
Meanwhile, the tale also shows an elderly Chinese apiarist that’s alone after the long ago death of his wife and infant son. His honey has not proven extraordinary, indeed his cousin’s honey from the next valley is much more sought after. However, Old Gao’s wild black mountain bees prove unique if not particularly aggressive and hard to work with.
One day, an elderly white “barbarian” [Sherlock Holmes] comes to Old Gao’s village with a request of working with his unique bees . . .
This moving tale of two old men dealing with familial loss . . . and bees . . . is moving. It’s recommended.
This tale appears in Weird Detectives: Recent Investigations edited by Paula Guran. I’ve previously read Gaiman’s:
“Black Dog”–3 stars
“The Goldfish Pond and Other Stories”–3 stars
“The Sea Change”–4 stars
[w/ Dave McKean]–Signal to Noise–5 stars
[w/ Dave McKean]–The Wolves in the Walls–3 stars
[Check out my other reviews here.]