Review: Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Broken Window by William Todd

First of all, The Mystery of the Broken Window is a novelette (or long short story), and not a full length novel, and took perhaps an hour to read, so it’s great if you only have a short time to get your Sherlock Holmes fix (like me). However, it is broken up into short chapters, so should you wish, you can split up your reading time, and as with the original tales, it’s narrated by Doctor Watson.

Despite its length, the opening pages spent time delving into Watson’s thoughts about Holmes’ more emotional side and hinting that this case might have an effect on that not-often seen side of him, which piqued my interest straight away. It then introduced the client, one Stanley Hopkins (it’s been a while since I read the originals, so while I recognized the name, it took me a while to work out why). Before I get into Stanley’s plight, I want to mention that there was the familiar back and forth between Holmes and Watson on how Holmes knew they were about to receive a visitor before anyone even knocked on the door, which I thought was very well done, and in fact Todd’s style throughout this piece felt very authentic and well thought out.

Anyway, back to Stanley. He’s a young man at this point and apprenticing as a blue dyer at a printing shop, and is seeking help to find his younger sister who has recently gone missing, with the fear that she’s been abducted. Now, without going into spoilers, Holmes and Watson investigate in their usual way and find the clues leading to her whereabouts. What surprised me, however, is the reason why she was missing, which I think is mostly due to my naivety of those particular circumstances occurring in that time period. For me, it’s more of a modern concern, but again, it’s probably because society as a whole is more aware of it now. There’s also a slight twist at the end, and though I had no idea it was coming, it did wrap up the whole affair nicely.

The only qualms I had with this story were a few clunky sentences and typos, but overall it’s well written and engaging – definitely an enjoyable read for any Holmes fan.