Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Holmes Entangled by Gordon McAlpine

Holmes Entangled.  Gordon McAlpine. Prometheus Books. March 2018. 191 pp.  ISBN#: 9781633882072.

Jorge Luis Borges hires a private investigator in Buenos Aires, Argentina to read an unpublished manuscript with the title of “Uncertainty,” purportedly written by Sherlock Holmes.  Since he found the manuscript, Borges has narrowly escaped being shot and he wants to know who attempted to kill him and why.  So begins a tale that contains other stories and associations by famous writers such as Edgar Allen Poe and Ernest Hemingway.

Our story begins with Sherlock Holmes living incognito as a famous physicist.  It seems Holmes has been studying and lecturing at Oxford University and other institutions of higher learning and does not want to be found.  Imagine his shock when a “middling” author, Arthur Conan Doyle, appears at Holmes’ residence, saying he knows his real identity because he was informed of his name and residence at a séance in which a living Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, appears to give Doyle the information about Sherlock Holmes. Seances are where dead people appear to the living, correct?  So what is this frightening phenomenon and what is the case that Doyle asks Sherlock to help solve?

Then begins what just might be the last known case of the famous Sherlock Holmes.  It brings the reader into the relatively new field of quantum mechanics which we learn is far older than previously known.  Rather it involves investigations and experiments with the appearance of humans in “parallel worlds.”  It would be of no great import if the mystery were just about the science of inquiry, but murders and physical attacks begin to occur with anyone associated with this subject. 

The story is fascinating but the writing is frequently difficult to follow, yet worth the effort.  An interest sideline within the story concerns Holmes’ comments about his late buddy, Watson, whom Holmes claims was “stuck” in the Victorian world and thus did not reflect the true personality of Holmes. 

Holmes Entangled is a fascinating read both as a mystery and as an introduction to the world of quantum mechanics.  The final scene closes with a shocking presence! Enjoy the romp through another complex historical mystery!

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