Robert J. Harris’s lively Sherlock Holmes pastiche...transports readers to a blacked-out London during World War II ... In two previous books, the author resurrected John Buchan’s World War I-era character Richard Hannay to good effect and with strong period flavor. A Study in Crimson achieves a similar mix of action-adventure, detective savvy and Holmesian surprise—not least Sherlock’s account here of how he came, years before, to deduce the true identity of Jack the Ripper.
A Study in Crimson does right by its venerated source material while putting a new spin on Conan Doyle's characters by rejiggering their historical context ... Harris's mystery is up to snuff, and as impressions go, he does yeoman's work with Watson's narration, capturing the good doctor's starry-eyed bemusement with the fustily fastidious detective. Harris...elaborates on Holmes's background in a way that jibes with Conan Doyle's careful characterization, and Watson's personal life gets some fresh ink as well. A Study in Crimson's suspenseful subplot: Will widower Watson make romantic headway with an American journalist wrapped up in the case?
Harris successfully captures Holmes’ brilliance, talent, and arrogance, as well as Watson’s dogged devotion to Holmes and the atmosphere in London during the dark days of war. The case he has imagined for Holmes to solve is both thoroughly challenging and pleasingly multilayered. A satisfying, albeit gruesome, read.