Hiding out in Japan from the threat to his life posed by the now deceased Moriarty’s surviving criminal network, Holmes adopts one of his Conan Doyle aliases, “Mr Sigerson”, and as this Norwegian explorer is secreted in the home of an English-speaking Japanese doctor, Junichi Watanabe. Together they form a formidable pair, solving mysteries and murders involving locals and westerners, deepening their understanding of each other and each other’s culture as they do so. If Holmes, or rather Sigerson-san, remains an elusive if distinctive silhouette, it is Watanabe-sensei whose character is given greater depth as the book proceeds. The cultural clashes are interesting and amusing, but with the restraint of manner and the attention to detail Japanese culture and Sherlock Holmes are not entirely unsuited.
Each of the stories in this book is well-crafted and impressively distinct from the others. Given the volume of rubbish on Japanese television it is surprising that some NHK executive has not decided to commission a short series based on these tales, which would no doubt be greatly enjoyed by a Japanese audience. If the book has a weakness it is that the drama never reaches the highest pitch; the twists in the tale being more gentle curves. Nevertheless, Mr Furutani has created readable, entertaining new stories about the great detective, and that was far from elementary.