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on 9 October 2011
I was pleasantly surprised by The Case of the Russian Chessboard which lives up to the essence of the original Sherlock Holmes stories in a way that so many modern attempts fail to do. The plot is conceivable and full of well researched historical detail whilst the prose felt true to the originals and successfully conjured up 221B Baker Street and the atmosphere of Victorian London. This story kept me interested through to the end where others have felt jarring and inconsistent in their efforts to emulate Conan Doyle's style. A highly recommended read for light-hearted mystery buffs and hardened Holmes fans alike!
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on 14 December 2011
"The Case of the Russian Chessboard" by Charlie Roxburgh packs quite a lot into its 110 pages. Not for the first time, Holmes and Watson are caught up in international politics - the `chessboard' is a metaphor for the deadly tussle between Russian revolutionaries and the Tsarist secret police, and the historical background is accurate. (The anarchist community that Holmes visits was only ten miles from my house.) Mr Roxburgh's writing is occasionally clumsy, and he hasn't, I think, quite mastered Watson's style, but he tells a good story, and his subject - terrorism and the control of people's minds - remains sadly topical.
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on 9 October 2011
I was pleasantly surprised by The Case of the Russian Chessboard which lives up to the essence of the original Sherlock Holmes stories in a way that so many modern attempts fail to do. The plot is conceivable and full of well researched historical detail whilst the prose felt true to the originals and successfully conjured up 221B Baker Street and the atmosphere of Victorian London. This story kept me interested through to the end where others have felt jarring and inconsistent in their efforts to emulate Conan Doyle's style. A highly recommended read for light-hearted mystery buffs and hardened Holmes fans alike!
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on 23 March 2012
This is a great story that should really appeal to Sherlock Holmes enthusiasts. Charlie Roxburgh certainly knows his stuff: he has mastered the Holmes idiom brilliantly, with the indignant Watson and the supersleuth moving from Baker Street and the Foreign Office to London's Hyde Park, where a bicycling murderess appears through the gloomy mist of a 'London particular' with a water carbide lamp on her handlebars and a revolver in her pocket. The author also knows a great deal - more even than Conan Doyle - about the devious machinations of Russian anarchists and the Czarist secret police at the turn of the century. All this - so it seems - is based on careful historical research. If you like Conan Doyle, you'll like this too; but if your normal diet is modern political thrillers, this still might be worth a look. There are clear echoes here of the conspiracies at work in Robert Harris's Ghost - only Roxburgh detects their nefarious origins over a century ago. Plus ca change ....
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on 23 March 2012
This is a great story that should really appeal to Sherlock Holmes enthusiasts. Charlie Roxburgh certainly knows his stuff: he has mastered the Holmes idiom brilliantly, with the indignant Watson and the supersleuth moving from Baker Street and the Foreign Office to London's Hyde Park, where a bicycling murderess appears through the gloomy mist of a 'London particular' with a water carbide lamp on her handlebars and a revolver in her pocket. The author also knows a great deal - more even than Conan Doyle - about the devious machinations of Russian anarchists and the Czarist secret police at the turn of the century. All this - so it seems - is based on careful historical research. If you like Conan Doyle, you'll like this too; but if your normal diet is modern political thrillers, this still might be worth a look. There are clear echoes here of the conspiracies at work in Robert Harris's Ghost - only Roxburgh detects their nefarious origins over a century ago. Plus ca change ....
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on 10 March 2013
I was surprised that I became completely absorbed in this book. It is a gripping read and accurate in historical detail. shirley nicholson
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on 8 November 2011
This is a short novel set in the late 19th Century in London. Holmes and Watson are drawn into an investigation of Russian revolutionaries plotting and recruiting among London's Liberals. It brings them into the world of plot and counterplot, agent and counteragent that set the standards for 20th Century Social Commentary. The Emigrés and the Okhrana define the moves and relations followed by all the various Patriots vs. Secret Police From the October Revolution through the careers of Pol Pot and Idi Amin. This dance began during the Reign of Peter the Great and, in 200 years, the participants learned their roles well. Their examples through the Russian Revolution trained another hundred years of artists of abominations.

This is Sherlock Holmes working on a World stage, with despair and misery playing the tune and ambition calling the moves. It is a dark and unpleasant tale, with few triumphs and little to cheer about. Holmes makes no brilliant deductions and no knighthood is awaiting him in The Service of the Crown. The lessons are all bloody and terrible and the victims are pitiful and miserable. How sadly and typically Russian! The truly sad thing about this story is that could well have been true.

Holmes accepts a plea from a gentlewoman to help her sister who has become enmeshed in a nihilist organization's plot. As part of the investigation, Holmes visits an old acquaintance living on a pacifist commune in rural Essex. He and Watson are also offered work in St. Petersburg by the London head of the Okhrana and witness the murder of a revolutionary hero in Regent's Park. Untangling the ins and outs of the matter is a commentary on the methods used by both sides and the struggles to be faced in the dawning Century.

The editing is quite good with only one or two errors apparent. The writing is dark and the mystery is, unfortunately, fairly easy to penetrate. The most depressing thing about the book is how true it is to life and the times.

Reviewed by: Philip K. Jones, September 2011
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on 26 May 2013
Been a Sherlock Holmes fan a long time but could not quite get into this story for some reason.It seemed to go on quite a bit and loose the plot
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on 9 October 2013
An interesting plot and very much based on events surrounding Russia at the time. It's also well done to state Watson's horror at the methods suggested and his misunderstanding of Holmes actions. However it feels a little stilted, it is well researched, but there appears to be little for Holmes to deduce in the traditional fashion. This is a short story and I read it in about 45 minutes.
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on 1 June 2016
perfect
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