The empty birdcage A novel

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 1947-

Book - 2019

"It is 1873, and Mycroft Holmes is in service to the Crown once again. A distant relative of Queen Victoria has been slain by the Fire Four Eleven killer, a serial murderer who leaves no mark upon his victims. Mycroft allows Sherlock to take the case, as he has been asked to find a missing person--the fiancé of the woman he loves. As Sherlock travels the country on the hunt for a murderer, both he and Mycroft will discover that the greed of others is at the root of the evil they are trying... to unearth."--Provided by publisher.

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MYSTERY/Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem
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Review by Booklist Reviews

The Fire 411! is the cryptic note left behind at a series of seemingly unconnected murders across 1873 England. The victims are solitary individuals with no close family. Nineteen-year-old Sherlock Holmes is fascinated by the case and is working up a theory from newspaper accounts. But he wants to get on the trail of the killer in person. He's within a month of finishing his studies at Cambridge, and he'll need to secure the funds for the trip from his older brother, Mycroft, who has his own mystery to solve. The fiancé of the woman for whom he's carried a torch for years has disappeared. Though she's promised to another, he feels obligated to relieve her pain by finding her loved one. The brothers set out on their separate quests, eventually coming to the same sad conclusion: much of the evil in the world is grounded in greed. This third collaboration from NBA Hall-of-Famer Abdul-Jabbar, winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and author of 15 books, and screenwriter Waterhouse is another thoroughly entertaining mystery, with great appeal for Holmesians, in particular, and fans of Victorian mysteries, in general. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Abdul-Jabbar and Waterhouse's third pastiche (after 2018's Mycroft and Sherlock), their best yet, provides intriguing challenges for both Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes while continuing to present plausible backstories for the brothers. In 1873, Mycroft and his longtime friend and partner, Cyrus Douglas, agree to help Chinese businessman Deshi Hai Lin locate Bingwen Shi, the fiancé of Lin's daughter, Ai, who happens to be an old flame of Mycroft's. Shi, a land investor, disappeared in London en route to a meeting with a client. Meanwhile, 19-year-old Sherlock, who's not yet an encyclopedia of knowledge relevant to detecting crime, gets himself tossed out of college so he can tackle a sensational serial murder case. Someone has killed eight people across Great Britain, leaving near each corpse a note bearing the message "The Fire 411!" That the victims appear to have nothing in common adds to the puzzle. The authors do a stellar job of illuminating the siblings' developing relationship while concocting a clever and twisty plot. Sherlockians will be enthralled. Agent: Deborah Morales, Iconomy. (Sept.) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

The new novel by NBA All-Star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, starring brothers Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes. It is 1873, and Mycroft Holmes is in service to the Crown once again. A distant relative of Queen Victoria has been slain by the Fire Four Eleven killer, a serial murderer who leaves no mark upon his victims. Mycroft allows Sherlock to take the case.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

The new novel by NBA All-Star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, starring brothers Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes.It is 1873, and as the economies of Europe threaten to crumble, Mycroft Holmes finds himself in service to the Crown once again. A distant relative of Queen Victoria has been slain by the Fire Four Eleven killer, a serial murderer who leaves no mark upon his victims, only a mysterious calling card. Meanwhile, Sherlock has already taken it upon himself to solve the case, as his interest in the criminal mind grows into an obsession.Mycroft begrudgingly allows Sherlock to investigate, as Ai Lin--the woman he is still in love with--needs his aid. Her fiancé has been kidnapped, and the only man who might know his fate is a ruthless arms dealer with a reputation for killing those who cross him. Mycroft persuades his friend Cyrus Douglas to help find the young man, but Douglas himself is put in harm's way.As Sherlock travels the country on the hunt for the Fire Four Eleven murderer, both he and Mycroft will discover that the greed of others is at the root of the evil they are trying to unearth...